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Judicial Branch Employee Recognition Awards 2020

This year’s Annual Judicial Branch Employee Recognition Awards, the highest honors given by the Nebraska Supreme Court in recognition of exemplary performance by staff in the Judicial System, were presented virtually on December 15, 2020.

Acknowledging the unique challenges of COVID-19 this past year, the Judicial Branch awarded two recipients for certain categories. One award is to recognize the work of employees in the court and probation offices, and the other is to recognize employees at the Administrative Office of the Courts and Probation (AOCP).

In Chief Justice Mike Heavican’s welcoming remarks, he noted “This is one of my favorite days of the year and I hope it is a favorite day for everyone watching. Every year this ceremony is an inspiration.”  

Gene Cotter, Deputy Administrator for Operations, provided an overview of the program and State Court Administrator Corey Steel and State Probation Administrator Deborah Minardi alternated introducing the following award winners:

Employees of the Year  

  • Stephanie Skinner, District 12 Probation, Gering 
  • Jacey Rader, AOCP, Lincoln

Outstanding Administrative Employee 

  • Gene Cotter, Deputy Administrator, AOCP, Lincoln

Outstanding County Court Clerk Magistrate 

  • Ron Murtaugh, Douglas County, Omaha

Outstanding County Court Staff 

  • Karen Borgheiinck, Hall County, Grand Island

Outstanding Clerk of District Court  

  • Valorie Bendixen, Hall County, Grand Island

Outstanding Probation Supervisor

  • Samantha Besemer, District 5 Probation, Seward

Outstanding Probation Officer

  • Meghan Moland, District 9 Probation, Kearney

 Outstanding Probation Support Staff  

  • Jeremy Meiners, District 2 Probation, Papillion

Outstanding Teams 

Sarpy County Court Judicial Assistants, Papillion

  • Katie Boyd
  • Stephanie Rosenthal
  • Monica Malchow

AOCP IT Team, Lincoln  

  • Chris Hepburn
  • Shane Smith
  • Anh Nguyen
  • Grant Abel
  • Gayla Burns
  • Ryan Habe
  • Jennifer Jennings

Outstanding Customer Service  

Lancaster County Court Probate Division, Lincoln

  • Keri Pritschau
  • Vicki Kyles
  • Meg McCrina
  • Jamie Bohlen
  • Emily Lucas
  • Marci Heier
  • Kris Nelson

JBE Staff, AOCP, Lincoln  

  • Melissa Ireland
  • Jerid Wedige
  • Greg Sunderman
  • Niki Svik
  • Sherri Gelvin
  • Jezharela Arteaga
  • Heather Kowalski

Innovation Awards

Women of Cheyenne County Court and District Court, Sidney

  • Lori Bartling
  • Tracey Bartling
  • Korey Wells
  • Debra Hume

Communication Team, AOCP, Lincoln

  • Janet Bancroft
  • Jared Callahan
  • Heather Benson

Diversity Leadership Awards 

District 3A Probation Drug Testing Unit, Lincoln

  • Jimmy Terrell
  • Jennifer Bacon
  • Patti Molzen
  • Donal Washington
  • Bradley Atkins
  • Yaa Baeta

LGBTQ Training Team, AOCP, Lincoln  

  • Michelle Nunemaker
  • Niki Svik