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Supreme Court Recognition Program

Outstanding Probation Employee (Jean Miller Memorial Award for Probation Support Staff)

Becky Smith, who is a Senior Secretary in Probation District 1 in Wilber, began her employment as a part-time secretary in the Nebraska Probation System in September 1985 in the Friend Probation office.  She served as the secretary in Friend until it was merged into the Wilber office the end of December 2000.  She also provides clerical support for the Probation office in Geneva which opened in 2011.  Ms. Smith is a diligent employee who can be counted on to get things done.  She manages many tasks above and beyond what is expected and is a silent leader in the district.  Becky has played a great role in the training and guidance of new probation officers in the rural offices which is both demanding and can be very difficult at times with the amount of work that needs to be accomplished.  Despite these things, Becky remains positive and keeps moving officers and her office forward.  The dedication and knowledge Becky possesses is unmatched by few and is respected by all.

Outstanding Probation Officer (LaDonna Snell Probation Officer Award)

Kathy Long, who is a Community-Based Intervention (CBI) probation officer in Probation District 2 in Papillion, has been with the Nebraska Probation System since January 1988 starting as a probation officer.  She currently is tasked with supervising the sex offender population in the Papillion Probation office.  She has sought training and has become the “state expert” on the subject of sex offender supervision.  In addition to her supervision of offenders, she also trains new officers in the area of investigations and supervision of this unique, and oftentimes unpopular, caseload. She is very professional yet manages to engage everyone she meets and does so in a way that others feel she cares about what happens to them.  She is trusted by the courts and her co-workers.  Kathy is a good person, a good employee, and a superb representative of the Nebraska Probation System.

Outstanding Court Supervisor / Administrative Employee

Darrie Streeter has served the Phelps County Court as Clerk Magistrate for the past 12 years. In addition to her court duties, she has served on the Through the Eyes of a Child Team,coordinated a community coalition to provide services to children and families, and assists with the Family Drug Court in Phelps County.  Darrie played a major role in organizing a seminar, “Bridges Out of Poverty,” focusing again on improving services and outcomes for families and children in the community and the court system.  Darrie continues to lead her county court in the use of technology and innovative ways to enhance the performance of the court.

Outstanding Trial or Appellate Court Employee

Sandi Peters began her employment with the Nebraska Supreme Court as an employee in the Reporter of Decision Office in 1990.  Since 1994, in addition to serving as Justice John Wright’s Administrative Assistant, Sandi has assisted with multiple administrative projects including answering questions for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education and Judicial Branch Education issues, assisting in fielding calls regarding court interpreters, and assisting with payroll and payable transactions.  Sandi is always willing to go above and beyond her official duties in a professional and competent manner.  She recently agreed to serve as Administrative Assistant for both Justice Wright and Justice Cassel.

Outstanding Probation Supervisor (Bob Keller Memorial Award for Probation Supervisor)

Patty Lyon is the Problem-Solving Court Coordinator in Probation District 6 in Fremont and has made an outstanding contribution to the Nebraska Probation System since she began her employment in September 2000.   Patty began her Probation career as a probation officer in the Blair office where she was the only officer (employee).  She quickly earned the respect of the courts, county attorney, law enforcement, and the schools and developed relationships with her clients and stakeholders.  Ms. Lyon was appointed to the position of Problem-Solving Court Coordinator in July 2008.  Again, when she took over, she was the only employee for the drug court and in addition to all of her coordinator responsibilities she supervised 30 drug court participants.   She is responsible for the drug court’s drug testing program and has been asked to revamp the drug testing program for the whole district.  Patty has helped to change the culture of the entire district to better understand that effective drug testing is essential in identifying substance abuse issues and providing more opportunities for effective interventions.  Patty has consistently demonstrated her leadership abilities for the entire district and went above and beyond when she agreed to take on the drug testing program for the district.

Outstanding Customer Service Award

Jodi Kielian is a Records Clerk in the Platte County Court.  Jodi ‘s patience with customers at the counter or on the phone is extraordinary.  She makes sure the customers understand that the court is willing to work with them to avoid duplicated court appearances.  She has a firm but polite manner in efforts to collect fines and court costs.  She serves as a great example that a public servant can treat people with respect and dignity.

Innovation Award

Linda Smith and Deborah League, Clerk Magistrates in the 11th Judicial District, have gone above and beyond to help improve the court system.  Linda and Deborah donated their time in efforts to facilitate a pilot project for the collection of fines and costs.  They have worked with the National Center for State Courts staff, judges, and JUSTICE staff learning new texting and email features and monitoring payments of fines, costs, and fee for all the courts in the 11th district.  Linda also serves on the Through the Eyes of the Child team and Debora helps in many other courts in the district.

Outstanding Team

The Behavioral-Based Case and Caseload Management Training Team with members Deb Minardi, Deputy Probation Administrator; Julie Scott, Justice Treatment Systems Specialist; Kari Rumbaugh, Deputy Compact Administrator/Compliance Officer; Amy Latshaw, Juvenile Justice Programs Specialist; andToni Jensen, Domestic Violence Programs Service Specialist, all from the Office of Probation Administration, worked together in the past year to create, write, and implement a week-long training curriculum as a response to training needs expressed. This curriculum includes innovative ideas and training strategies and is being implemented statewide in the Nebraska Probation System.  The training includes components specific for managers to improve their leadership and coaching ability, and gives real opportunities to practice this within the training setting.  It also provides tools and approaches to case and caseload management for probation officers who supervise high-risk caseloads. These approaches, already implemented in some areas, have proven to not only improve work processes, but also have improved morale in the Probation system as well.

Employee of the Year

Ellen Faltys is the Clerk Magistrate in the Colfax County Court. The contributions Ellen Faltys has made to the Nebraska Judicial Branch are multiple.  Ellen has helped in the Douglas County Juvenile Court with the implementation of DOCKET as well as helping with the JUSTICE conversion in the district and juvenile courts in Douglas County. She has piloted JUSTICE enhancement and applications in her court, including DOCKET; Remote Case Processing, and Criminal E-Filing. Ellen was an integral part of the effort to develop the use of remote interpreters in the Spanish language. She is serving as the MOVI/JABBER resource person. She has volunteered to participate in the effort to convert the Justice Monthly Reports to PDF documents to eliminate the need for printing. She installed a scanned document distribution system from JUSTICE to the Colfax County Court.  Each lawyer has a password protected folder accessible via the internet and all journals and orders are automatically distributed to counsel of record resulting in an annual savings of approximately $5,000 in postage expense to the county.  Ellen quickly adapted the text messaging used in the 11th district for Colfax County reminding persons with time payments when a payment is due. Since 2000, Ellen has participated with other hard working Clerk Magistrates on the comprehensive procedures manual for county court.  This is a never ending effort. In addition, Ellen continues to perform her Clerk Magistrate duties with a high degree of efficiency and professionalism.