BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Jay Wilgus - President
Jay Wilgus is a lawyer, mediator, educator, consultant, and facilitator who serves as Principal of Klancy Street, LLC – a specialized law, consulting, and dispute resolution practice focused on helping parties find common ground. Prior to forming Klancy Street, he served as Director of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution at the University of Michigan and Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Utah. His written work has addressed, among other things, the utility of facilitated dialogue in addressing campus conflict, the application of restorative justice practices to student sexual misconduct cases, and the use of specialized risk assessment and treatment interventions for college students found responsible for sexual misconduct. He is now regularly called upon to assist postsecondary institutions, federal agencies, academics, and others seeking to improve institutional responses to student conduct, student conflict, and sexual misconduct. He holds an Honors B.S. from the University of Utah, a Master’s in Dispute Resolution from Pepperdine University, and a J.D. from the University of Utah where he served as a member of the Utah Law Review. He is licensed to practice law in the State of Utah.
Terri DeCoster - Vice President
Terri is a mediator and parent educator and co-parenting consultant with a private practice in Falmouth, ME. Terri has a Master of Counseling Psychology from Alaska Pacific University and BA from Syracuse University. She has been involved with the Kids First Center in Portland, ME for over 20 years; as a founding member, past Board President, and current program facilitator. She is an experienced facilitator of psycho-educational groups for children, adults going through separation and divorce, and parents with new partners and stepparents. In May of 2018, Terri was honored with the Kids First Center Outstanding Service Award. She was also active in The Opportunity Alliance Mediation Services Program. Currently, Terri serves on the court roster for family matters in Portland and Biddeford, ME. She specializes in supporting families and individuals in transition through education, effective communication, parenting, and compassion giving special consideration to the experience of the child.
Nelson Larkins - Secretary
Nelson is a partner at Preti Flaherty in Portland, Maine. He has over thirty years of experience as a litigator with an emphasis on workers’ compensation, longshore, general litigation, and family law. He was the Editor in Chief of the Ohio State College of Law Dispute Resolution Journal and has been involved in mediation since 1984. He is the immediate Past President of the Maine Association of Mediators.
John is a Portland native and a graduate of Cheverus High School, College of the Holy Cross and Boston College Law School. He has been practicing law in Maine since 1980. After starting out as a community organizer and attorney for Pine Tree Legal Assistance, he spent 11 years, primarily as Chief Legal Counsel, with the Maine State Employees Association in Augusta. To be more available to raise his sons, he managed his own law office based in Readfield for several years. After practicing with respected firms in Gardiner and Westbrook, Attorney Lemieux decided to open his office in the Woodfords Corner area of Portland in 2011. During his years in private practice, John was engaged in civil litigation of a variety of disputes including employment, business, probate, real estate and family law cases. Since acquiring his Mediation Certificate from USM in 2012, John has focused upon expanding his mediation practice. He currently serves on the CADRES Family Law panel and the Department of Education panel.
Karen is Libra Professor of Mediation at University of Maine Augusta Justice Studies and has over 20 years of mediation, consulting, and teaching experience. As former director of the Opportunity Alliance Family Mediation program and co-establishing the Family and Community Mediation (FCM), she has worked extensively with mediators, adults and youth, communities, and organizations specializing in complex family matters, multi-party disputes and workplace conflict in more than 3800 mediations. An experienced Transformative Mediation trainer and communication coach, Karen combines research from neuroscience and trauma-informed care in her relational practice. In 2018, she expanded work in collaboration with University of Maine Cooperative Extension for farmer and farm worker well-being. This work includes Farm Coaching (receiving the 2021 ERME Outstanding Project Award), agricultural mediation (MAMP), and offering peer support and training to service providers in Northeast ag and rural communities. She loves collaborative learning and has developed a practicum with internships as a pathway for UMA students to apply mediation, dispute resolution, and communication skills with mentored professional experience in a variety of organizational settings.
Sarah came to alternative dispute resolution work with hopes of empowering community members, organizations and institutions to address conflict through holistic dialogue. Sarah currently focuses on training and organizational culture change at RJP Maine. She came to Maine having provided mediation and restorative justice training and direct services to New York City based institutions and communities, such as the New York State Unified Court System, Community Dispute Resolution Centers, and the Department of Education. She continues to work towards partnering with any institution, organization, or school interested in building up their restorative culture and conflict resolution skills. Sarah began conflict resolution work at Smith College, and went onto Fordham Law School to advocate for international children's rights. Her passion for helping communities to establish a culture of belonging and safety for all of its young people drives her work. When Sarah is not thinking about mediation or restorative practices, she is either cooking while dancing or swimming.
Rebekah Smith - Ombudsperson
Rebekah has provided exclusively neutral legal services since 2005, serving as a mediator, arbitrator, independent investigator, and administrative hearing officer. She has mediated hundreds of disputes to successful resolution in a variety of settings from family inheritance disagreements to human rights violations through various rosters and private appointments. She also serves as an arbitrator in labor matters throughout New England. Rebekah serves as a neutral for several state agencies, including the Maine Department of Education, the Maine Labor Relations Board and its Fact Finding Panel, the Maine Human Rights Commission, the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, and the Maine Department of Public Safety.
Connie L. Rakowsky is a mediator, AAA arbitrator, and, formerly, a general business and insolvency lawyer for 26 years in NH. After lawyering, she was an Executive Director of a federally funded legal aid organization for about 7 years. While managing and practicing law, Connie was mediating part time since 2000. Since 2016, she has exclusively provided neutral services. Connie has mediated hundreds of disputes to successful conclusion, privately and via various panels, in the areas of contract, real estate, business, debt, bankruptcy, trusts and estates, agricultural matters, nonprofit, tax and regulatory, among others.
Renée is an attorney, mediator, and facilitator. She has worked in every branch of the federal government and for the Maine State Legislature. For over 21 years before segueing into mediation, Renée served as an Assistant United States Attorney in San Diego, California and Portland, Maine. She conducted over 30 criminal trials, presented numerous oral arguments before appellate courts, and engaged in hundreds of plea negotiations. Renée served as the Appellate Chief in the District of Maine working on a variety of matters, including the intersection between Maine and federal laws regarding domestic violence. She has a private mediation practice, serves on court rosters for family matters and foreclosure cases, and works as a substitute volunteer facilitator at the Center for Grieving Children. Renée holds a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University, where she proudly competed as a NCAA Division I gymnast for four years. She obtained her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law and is licensed to practice law in Maine, Massachusetts, and California.
Lucy Wess, Esq. is a mediator, facilitator, and educator and the owner of Mindful Mediation, LLC in Wilton, Maine. She was introduced to the world of dispute resolution while studying Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana and soon after became a member of the Pennsylvania Bar. Over the last decade, she has been involved in academics, athletics, and support services in domestic and international higher education settings. Since January 2019, Lucy has applied her varied skills and experiences as a CADRES Family Matters mediator, private mediator and facilitator in a variety of settings, and an Adjunct Instructor in the Undergraduate and Graduate Peace & Reconciliation Programs at the University of Maine. She also is interested in promoting peace, reconciliation, and restorative justice through cross-cultural mediation and facilitation. She serves as a volunteer facilitator with the Restorative Justice Institute of Maine (RJIM) and is pursuing a Master of Art of Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) in Peace and Reconciliation at UMaine. Lucy enjoys yoga, swimming, gardening, building, and going on outdoor adventures with her family.
Stefan Jackson - Treasurer