SCAO administrator named NJC president

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State Court Administrator Chad C. Schmucker has been chosen to serve as the eighth president of the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.

The NJC’s Board of Trustees announced the appointment Tuesday.

Schmucker will join the NJC  and start as the NJC president on Jan. 1, 2014.

“We are excited to bring in Judge Schmucker as NJC’s new president to head the organization at such an important time in the college’s history,” said Mark Tratos, NJC board chairman. “As we commemorate 50 years of quality judicial education and collaborative efforts to advance access to justice for all, we are looking toward a bright future of providing innovative judicial education, justice improvement initiatives and programs to improve the competency and professional ability of the judiciary.”

Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young, Jr., said Schmucker helped drive important reforms for Michigan’s justice system.

Young sayd Schmucker’s “vision, ability, and courage began a transformation of Michigan’s judiciary.”

“With his leadership,” Young added, “we eliminated unnecessary judgeships and consolidated trial court leadership for greater efficiency and accountability.”

Young said Schmucker “led the effort to have our courts use performance metrics to analyze and improve public service. Michigan courts expanded their use of technology, with a wide range of benefits to the public.

“Thanks in large part to Judge Schmucker, our state courts are working smarter for a better Michigan. The National Judicial College has certainly chosen one of Michigan’s best and brightest to lead it.”

Schmucker said he was honored by the NJC’s decision.

“I look forward to continuing the NJC’s great work of educating judges throughout the country,” he said.

However, Schmucker said he had mixed emotions about leaving Michigan “which has been my home all my life, and about leaving the State Court Administrative Office.”

Schmucker is the second Michigan State Court Administrator to be tapped for the NJC’s top post.

Judge V. Robert Payant served as a district, circuit, and probate judge in the Upper Peninsula before serving as State Court Administrator from 1985-1988. Payant also served as NJC president from 1990-1998.

Schmucker became the Michigan State Court Administrator in 2011, after 20 years as a Jackson County circuit court judge.

As a judge, he helped start four problem-solving courts in Jackson including felony drugs/alcohol, domestic violence, family dependency, and mental health.

As state court administrator, he oversaw management of the state’s 246 trial courts, implemented a Michigan version of trial court performance measures, and developed a plan for court governance to promote cooperation and efficiency among courts.

The NJC was founded in 1963. The college is affiliated with the American Bar Association.

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