Courtside Conversation
Jeffrey Tsunekawa

Interview Conducted and Edited by Dawn Palermo

Jeffrey Tsunekawa


  • Title, Court:  Director of Research and Court Services, Texas Office of Court Administration
  • NACM Title: Vice President, Chair of Education Committee
  • Number of judges at court: 3,216 (in the state)
  • NACM member since 2007

You are NACM’s vice president.  Can you describe what your board service and holding an office has been like?  What do you find interesting?
Early in my NACM career I became interested in how current board members contributed to the association while juggling busy, full-time day jobs. I became more curious over the years and found balance in my own job so I could take on additional responsibilities. I applied for a board position and was elected. Every year as a board member, and now as an officer, has been both challenging and rewarding. I’ve worked on a variety of projects and initiatives, which are designed to benefit members and the court management community in general. To bring a project from infancy to completeness has increased my appreciation of the colleagues who assisted.

One thing I find interesting is how all courts, no matter the size or location, tend to face very similar challenges. So, when you think your court is the only entity dealing with a challenge, I recommend reaching out to another NACM member because you will be surprised to find that no challenge is a new one.

Given COVID-19, NACM has had to rethink their in-person conferences.  How has NACM adapted?  Have the new formats been successful? 
NACM has committed to delivering all the same content it had planned to deliver in-person, virtually. We knew attendees could not and would not sit in front of a computer for eight hours a day; so, we decided to spread the content over ten weeks. We also are grateful that the State Justice Institute, which provides a great amount of grant funding to help host the conferences, agreed to make all sessions free of charge. We were able to expand our invitation to include virtually anyone that had an interest. A large number of people registered, viewed, and participated in the sessions. We continue to receive feedback and comments, which we will use should we hold another conference virtually in the future.

How can members access NACM’s educational programming?
All information on accessing the virtual education can be find on the NACM website: Recorded sessions are available, and they qualify for continuing education credits.

You are the NACM Education Committee chair.  What is the purpose of the Education Committee?  What projects does the committee work on? 
The Education Committee reflects NACM’s commitment to educating court professionals. Its work is divided into the educational services and programs NACM offers. This includes Conference Development, which coordinates and hosts two national conferences each year; the Core, which oversees NACM’s educational competencies for court professionals; and Resources, which provides guidance on additional NACM products and services including guides, webinars, and other content. The overall Education Committee coordinates the efforts of NACM to ensure premier educational content is provided to the court professional community.

Some committee projects include a speaker repository, a NACM resource repository, and coordination of the work of the Core Subcommittee and of the Conference Development Committee.

What would you say to some contemplating getting involved in NACM?
Do it! I’ve heard many members share how much they’ve benefited from being a member. You get access to a lot of resources targeted at helping those working in the court system. You also can engage and network with others. Meeting people working in the judiciary from around the country has benefited me and my current career.

Should someone want to get involved in your committee or another NACM committee, what do you recommend?  How should they get involved? 
Hop on a call and be a fly on the wall! Sometimes deciding to participate on committee calls can seem intimidating. No one likes being the new person in the room. But when you join and listen to the work of the committee, you’ll quickly understand how busy NACM is and how much work the committees do. We’re always looking for volunteers to help with projects which promote the work of the association. And everyone has their own individual skills and strengths.


Dawn Palermo is the judicial administrator at Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court, Louisiana.