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Staff

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 at 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.

Jane earned her law degree at Columbia University. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Utah and completed summer studies at Harvard University and Oxford University. She is a member of several dispute resolution bodies, including the New York State Dispute Resolution Association and the Dispute Resolution Sections of both the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association. Jane can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x208 or via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

Leanne received her Bachelor of Arts in English from SUNY New Paltz. She is certified in the Northeastern University Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) training along with the Cornell University Family Development Credential (FDC). Leanne can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x209 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

While working in college student affairs, she coordinated residential living learning programs and also served as the Director of Residential Life. An Americorps Volunteer In Service To America (VISTA) alumnae, she was an appointed Commissioner on the Mayor’s Commission for Race and Diversity in Lansing, Michigan and was also appointed by Ingham County, Michigan as a Commissioner on the Mid-South Substance Abuse Commission. She holds Masters degrees in Higher Adult and Lifelong Education from Michigan State University and in Public Administration from the Rockefeller College at the University at Albany. Honey can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x211 or via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Claudia Abbott-Barish, Restorative Justice Coordinator

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 x203 or via email: cabbott-barish@dutchessmediation.org

Mary Mulligan, Civil Court Coordinator/Elder Awareness Coordinator

Mary is an advanced mediation practitioner, family mediator, mediation mentor, and peer mediation trainer. She is also a restorative practices specialist and multidisciplinary team and collaborative project builder. Mary is committed to supporting opportunities for resilience and transformation in individuals, groups and organizations.

Mary took her basic and family mediation trainings at the Center and has been involved with the meditation safety project since its inception in 2002, when she began as a volunteer at the Center. She joined the staff in 2007 and was recruited to manage the Center’s restorative justice program at the Dutchess County Office of Probation, working with court involved youth and families, which she did until 2011. Her expertise in integrating conflict resolution and restorative practices, plus her love of guiding and teaching, have given her many roles at the Center, including mentorship of apprentice mediators, facilitation of community dialogues and coaching of peer mediators in the schools. Mary can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x207 or via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lucille Trachte, Administrator

Lucille handles office administration, fund development support including database, events, marketing, website and social media. A native of the Hudson Valley, Lucille graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Journalism minor. Lucille went on to graduate from Marist College’s Paralegal Certification Program and worked professionally as a paralegal in both private and corporate sectors for 10 years. Today when she is not working at the Mediation Center, Lucille is pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at Marist College and is a New York State Licensed Real Estate Agent. Lucille also serves on Newburgh Girl Power’s advisory board and is a Notary Public. Lucille can be reached by phone at (845) 471-7213 x201 or via email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.