CoParenting Solutions is fortunate to be able to draw on the experience of experts in conflict resolution, family law, family science, mental health, and education in developing and operating our programs. The following list includes members of our advisory team. Some are also members of our board of directors and staff. Mention of an external organization in the following biographies is for informational purposes, and does not indicate a formal relationship or sponsorship.
Staff and Board Members
Executive Director James Karney, MS
is a Tennessee Rule 31 Family Mediator with Special Training in Domestic Violence, and qualified in Family Mediation before the Kentucky Court of Justice. He is an active family mediator, a trained family life and parenting educator, and serves as a member of the Tennessee Veterans Task Force. An experienced college educator, he holds dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Sociology and Political Science, and a Masters in Learning Systems. He has served as a trainer and consultant to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the US Department of Defense, Microsoft Corporation, and the Palo Alto Research Center. His six years service in law enforcement gives him an interesting window into the world of families in conflict and the courts. Mr. Karney is Past-President of the Tennessee Valley Mediation Association and a member of the Association of Family and Conciliatory Courts.
Program Coordinator Linda Connelly is a trained paralegal and expert at making sure that our programs run on schedule and that our clients, professionals and volunteers have the resources they need.
The Reverend Joseph Pinner
recently retired as the Rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, where he had served since 1999. In addition to serving on our Board and Executive Committee he is presently Chair of Roane County Cooperative Ministries, a member of the United Way Interagency Council, and active in the local Ministerial Associations. He holds a Bachelors of Arts from Rhodes College in Memphis and Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. He served three years as Dean of the Acadiana Convocation and three years as a member of the Diocesan Executive Committee.
Melissa Howard, MS,
is a Tennessee Supreme Court listed Rule 31 Family Mediator. She has a Masters in Special Education, from East Tennessee State University and a Bachelor degree in Recreational Therapy from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Her combined career experience includes over twenty-three years working with children with disabilities, with a concentration in emotional disturbance and behavioral disorders. She is the Child Volunteer Protection Advocate for American Youth Soccer Organization for Region 128 and an active member of the Board of Directors, and former Secretary for the Camp Koinonia Foundation.
Linda McRea is professional engineer with an extensive background in project management, human resources, and has served on the boards and as a manger of several non-profits. In addition to her management skills, Ms. McRea brings to the board her background of organizing a shelter/transitional housing program for clients recovering from substance abuse, serving as an area coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, and as a CASA volunteer with at-risk families and children. She hold a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technical University.
Kathy Sealy bio coming soon.
Advisory Committee Members
(Affiliations for Informational purposes only)
John R. Selser, Esq
. is an experienced mediator and attorney with over 320 hours of mediation training and 500 cases mediated. He has served as a mediator, attorney and guardian ad litem over 35 years in Maine and in Tennessee. Mr. Selser’s mediation experience includes all types of cases, including Victim-Offender (VORP), Human Rights Commission cases, people with disabilities, cases within the mental health system, family situations, parenting, and domestic violence. Selser has served as paid and volunteer mediator in Maine as well as in the greater Knoxville area.
Jacqueline Kittrell, Esq
. is the Executive Director of the Community Mediation Center in Knoxville, TN. She is a licensed Tennessee attorney practicing since 1989, having graduated from the George P. Taylor College of Law at University of Tennessee. An experienced mediator and trainer, she brings a wealth of non-profit experience to our board. She is an active voice promoting alternative dispute resolution methods in East Tennessee, is a board member of the Tennessee Valley Mediation Association, has been a guardian ad litem representing children's' rights, and serves on the Knox County Foster Care Review Board.
Jean Munroe, Esq.
is a Tennessee Rule 31 mediation practitioner, trainer, and attorney licensed in Tennessee. She has been actively mediating both family and civil cases since 1992; conducts training seminars for Rule 31 civil and family mediation, as well as specialty courses on advanced topics. A recognized expert on domestic violence, she established the Knox County Task Force against Domestic Violence; drafted domestic violence polices for area law enforcement agencies, and conducted professional domestic violence training for police officers, attorneys, judges and court clerks. In addition, she established the Pro Bono Unit on Domestic Violence cases for the Knoxville Legal Aid Society. Ms. Munroe is President of the Tennessee Valley Mediation Association.
Joy George, MSW,
is the Executive Director of the Prairieland Conflict Mediation Center, and an experienced family mediator and trainer, working with cases involving parenting plans, custody disputes, domestic violence, and parent-teen mediation; and an experienced mediator trainer. She has a Bachelors degree in Human Development, Family Ecology, and Social Work, and a Masters in Social Work, plus over 150 hours of mediation training. She is a member of our Executive Committee, and also serves on the Development Committee of the National Center for Community Mediation.
Mary Ellen Bowen
is the founding Executive Director the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program of Nashville (VORP) and Mid South Mediation Services. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Sociology and a Masters Degree in Sustainable Social Communication. Mary Ellen is an experienced mediation trainer and a Listed Rule 31 Civil and Family Mediator with special training in domestic violence. Ms. Bowen also serves as president of the Tennessee Council for the Advancement of Mediation Programs.
is a professional family mediator with extensive training and experience in private practice since 1986. He holds a Masters degree in Counseling-Psychology, plus over 800 hours of post-graduate training in conflict resolution, communications, and program design. Greg is listed as an Advanced Practitioner and Approved Consultant with the Association for Conflict Resolution and a founding member of the International Academy of Mediators. He has served as a trainer and mentor for the Knoxville Bar Association Mediation Service, the Knoxville and Blount County Community Mediation Centers, and the University of Tennessee's College of Law Mediation Clinic.
Denise Brandon, PhD, CFLE
, Professor of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee develops program materials and provides training to Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agents across the state for the Parenting Apart: Effective Co-Parenting program, the state's court-approved curriculum for divorcing parents of minor children. She has a special interested in high-risk families such as those with limited resources, divorced and never-married families, immigrant families, families in which there is violence, and foster families.
Anita Vestal, PhD, MBA
is a mediator and educator. She was the founding executive director of Child Care Consultants. Her education includes a BS in Child and Family Development from Virginia Tech, MBA in Management from Texas Tech University and Ph.D. in Conflict Resolution from Nova Southeastern University. Her research focuses on conflict resolution with young children, and mediation. She has published several articles on mediation in child custody, teaching preschoolers to solve their own conflicts, and transformative teacher training.
Joyce Smith, MA, LMFT, LMHC
is a Military & Family Life Consultant with specialization in child and youth for Joint Family Assistance Program; serving all branches of the military and their families through the Joint Force Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition she supervises advanced training of new counselors for master's level therapists in Central Indiana. She was the director for Mental Health Rehabilitation programs for survivors of Tsunami in Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia in 2005, and has represented Methodist Hospital of Indiana working with disenfranchised youth and their teachers, community leaders, and parents in reconciliation program in Liberia, West Africa. She also serves as a consultant for the Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis.
is a Virginia Supreme Court Referred Mediator. Her extensive training includes a wide spectrum of conflict resolution methodologies; from Crisis Negotiation, to Tribal and Religious specialties in ADR. She completed specialized training in Advanced Cross Border Mediation at the University of Miami, School of Law. Ms Dabbagh specializes in post-abduction, non-Hague, disputes. Ms. Dabbagh is an associate member of the American Bar Association and is a Section Committee member in Dispute Resolution; Expanded Conflict Management Processes. She is an active member of Mediators Beyond Borders, and is the founder of P.A.R.E.N.T. International, the world's first global parent advocacy organization for international child abduction. She also serves as an expert witness in courts in the USA and Europe on issues of international child abduction.