Jane Cottrell, Executive Director
Jane is both a lawyer and a mediator. She has mediated with individuals and corporate parties in the US and the UK, focusing initially on entertainment, employment and commercial matters and more recently on divorce. After commencing her legal career at a Wall Street law firm, Jane switched to a corporate setting, first at Cablevision, then as Vice President and General Counsel of CBS Cable. While at CBS she started on the path to mediation, studying negotiation with the late Roger Fisher. After leaving CBS, Jane moved her practice to England, where she completed basic and advanced mediation training at Regent’s College, London. Upon returning to the US, she trained at the Mediation Center under Jody Miller. She has served on the board of directors of the Mediation Center, where she also mediates divorce.
Leanne Lawson, Family & Divorce Program Coordinator
Leanne has 10 years of experience working with families in Dutchess County. She was the former Coordinator for the Dutchess County TASA program where she implemented a comprehensive case management program for pregnant and parenting teenagers. Leanne trained and supervised case managers to assist young families in navigating through available supports while increasing their self-sufficiency skills. Leanne has also worked at the Crime Victims Assistance Program where she was trained to provide advocacy and support for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence.
Honey Minkowitz, Anti-Bullying Initiative Coordinator
Honey is our Bullying Prevention Coordinator and works on the Anti-Bullying Initiative, which includes implementing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program and the Annual Anti-Bullying Youth Summit. She is a certified Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Trainer and has worked on youth, family, community development and education programs in many communities.
Claudia Abbott-Barish, Restorative Justice Specialist
Claudia trained at the Mediation Center in spring of 2014 and has been a volunteer community and family mediator since that time. In 2016, she became a mentor for apprentice mediators and in 2017 began coordinating the Restorative Justice Initiative at the Center. Claudia is certified in Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice through the International Institute for Restorative Practices (IIRP) and has done additional training with Kay Pranis and Carol Boyes-Watson through the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University. She has over 12 years of experience as a community organizer and dialogue facilitator and holds a Master’s degree in Anthropology of Sustainability, Culture and Development from Durham University in the UK. She is also a small-scale farmer, herbalist and instructor in whole wellness, with over 10 years of experience working with land, people and fostering a connection between the two. Claudia can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x212 or via email: cabbott-barish@
Laura Schwarz, Elder Abuse Awareness Coordinator
Mary Mulligan, Community Program Coordinator
Lucille Trachte, Administrative Assistant