Stephanie Hines, JC/AOC Judicial Services Division Director
Condensed and edited for clarity
Michelle Barclay: Congratulations, Stephanie, on your new job! Please tell our readers why you applied for the position of Judicial Services Division Director at the Judicial Council/AOC. People may not know that the Judicial Services Division includes: the Office of Research and Data Analysis, the Office of Court Professionals (interpreters, court reporters, etc), and the Georgia Court Registrar staff.
Stephanie Hines: I sought this job because my passion is court administration, and I have studied that discipline. I am a National Center for State Courts/Institute for Court Management Fellow as well as a long-time member, officer, and immediate past president of the Georgia Council of Court Administrators.
Having had the opportunity to work in the courts before coming to the JC/AOC, I recognize that the work of the courts is so important and my goal is to support that work. I also have a deep appreciation for the important work and products that the JC/AOC provides. Our work at the JC/AOC has a statewide impact. I began my stint at the JC/AOC as a program manager in Judicial Services—formerly called Court Services—roughly 16 years ago. I really loved interfacing with the judges and the court staff on a daily basis and I have missed that interaction.
I remember talking to Marla Moore, who was at that time the Court Services Division Director, and we were talking about what I wanted to do long term. I candidly told her, “I want your job. I would love to see myself eventually in the role of Court Services Division Director.” Over the years, I have tried to position myself to acquire the knowledge and experience that would put me in a position of opportunity should the job become available.
From 2006-2010, I served as Assistant Director of Regulatory, which included all the current groups that are within the current Judicial Services Division (with the exception of the process servers), and the County and Municipal Probation Advisory Council. In my role as Assistant Director for Regulatory, I was responsible for the supervision of the Commission of Interpreters and the Board of Court Reporting staff and implementation of policy and rules changes. Research, at that time, was in a separate division. Now Research is part of the Judicial Services Division. While I did not major in statistics, I took statistics courses in college and I did well in them so data conversations are not new to me. I also collected and analyzed data for my ICM certification. In addition, I’ve completed the state government budget administration certification. So I’m familiar with the government budgeting process. Recently, I became a Certified Public Manager (CPM) through the Carl Vinson Institute of Georgia. The CPM program is an advanced leadership and management course with a focus on equipping managers to improve processes. Thus, I applied for this position because I felt that I was ready to do this job and I am grateful for this opportunity to serve. I am also excited about learning more.
Michelle Barclay: What will your first 30 days look like in your new position?
Stephanie Hines: Christopher Hansard leaves behind a great body of work. For the next 30 days, I plan to meet with all the staff and the Commission/Committee Chairs and members to make sure that we are operating in alignment with each other. I want to ensure that we, the staff, are operating within the vision of the committees. Also, sometimes people have a vision that remains unspoken and unwritten, and I want to learn about those ideas as well. There are always opportunities to make improvements. I also plan to do a lot of reading. I want to review the materials, the policies, the rules, and to make sure I’m well informed so that I can ask the right questions to ensure that we are providing the right support.
Michelle Barclay: Where do you hope your division will be a year from now?
Stephanie Hines: One thing I want to focus on is being more customer-focused oriented. I would love to explore how our division can be more supportive so that the judicial workload assessment is not viewed as burdensome or as an audit. Another goal for our Research and Data Analysis Team is to improve our data collection rate. The JC/AOC ORDA staff won the 2014 Award for reaching a 95% data collection rate of 2013 caseload data. I want to see what I can do to help our team get back to that spot and possibly better. The current team in place is very sharp and good at what they do, but maybe we can be even better. We have a new Chair for the Commission on Interpreters, Justice McMillian, so there will be some opportunities to explore rule revisions and the composition of the committee. Do we have all the right people at the table? I am excited about being a part of that work. There is also work to be done with the Courts Registrar group, too. I’d like to strengthen our relationship with the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution (GODR) and the Council of Accountability Judges. The foundation is definitely solid, but I’d love to spend some energy and time to make enhancements to that foundation.
Michelle Barclay: For folks just getting to know you, what do you like to do for fun?
Stephanie Hines: I love to travel, both domestically and abroad. I’d love to visit all 50 states. So far, I’ve been to about 25 states. I’ve also traveled to 13 countries. I love learning new cultures and just seeing/experiencing the rest of the world. When I am not traveling, I also like to engage in DIY projects and baking—I’m a country girl at heart. Last but not least, and what I hold so dear to my heart, is just spending time with my family. My husband and I have a young family, with a five and a nine year old. I recognize that this time is fleeting, so I love seeing and exploring the world through their eyes.