KMC Board of Directors

Anne Sawyer

President

anne@kidsmanagingconflict.org

Is an experienced Mediator, Facilitator and Conflict Resolution Consultant with over 10 years in the dispute resolution field.  Anne has served as the Executive Director of the Southern California Mediation Association for the past 6 years.  In that capacity, Anne has passionately promoted the practice of mediation and alternative dispute resolution with a dedicated commitment to expand the field and draw awareness to the process.  In addition, Anne is committed to supporting the practice, teaching and promotion of dispute resolution professionals.  Prior to becoming a Mediator, Anne was a law firm administrator with over 30 years in the legal field.   Anne has raised 5 children and lives in Huntington Beach, California.

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Bob Boden
tvbobme@aol.com

EMMY Nominee Bob Boden's career in all forms of non-fiction and unscripted/alternative TV programming  has included senior management and production functions for a variety of television studios, networks, and
production companies. He is frequently acknowledged as an industry leader in the game and reality genres. He was named to the top 50 Reality TV Power List by the Hollywood Reporter. In 2021, Bob was honored as co-Founder of the newly-created National Archives of Game Show History at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York. He recently delivered a TedX talk on the subject “What Game Shows Teach You About Life,” the first ever such talk on the genre. In the academic world, for the past three years Bob has been an adjunct professor for the legendary Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University’s L.A. Semester Program. He has also been an instructor for UCLA Extension’s Entertainment Division, as well as a guest lecturer for the Banff Master Class, and at USC and Cal State Fullerton. He has participated on numerous prestigious industry panels, including NATPE and Realscreen. He is a native of New York City and currently live with his family in Los Angeles.

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Hon. Charles H. Ervin (Sierra Superior Court) is the presiding judge in the second smallest county by population in the state. After being elected, he assumed office of Judge in January 2011. Judge Ervin received a bachelor’s degree in Economics, with honors, from Cornell University in 1974. He studied law at Syracuse University College of Law; McGeorge School of Law; Lincoln Law School of Sacramento; and City University of Los Angeles. As a law student, he was a legal intern for the White House under President Gerald Ford’s Presidential Clemency Board. He is the President of the California Association of Youth Courts. He also serves as: Liaison judge from the Collaborative Justice Court Advisory Committee (CJCAC) to the Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee (TCPJAC); member of the CJCAC Juvenile Subcommittee; member of the Judical Outreach Committee of the California Judges Association; and member of the board of the Kids Managing Conflict organization. Judge Ervin served as a Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and as a Major in the U.S. Army Reserve. He practiced law as a sole practitioner for 26 years before taking the bench.

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Wendy Kramer has been a full-time commercial mediator since 2005.  She is passionate about mentoring newly trained mediators and fostering peer mediation.  In addition to serving as the 2013 President of the Southern California Mediation Association, she was the co-creator of the SCMA’s Mentorship Program.  Ms. Kramer previously served as the ADR Chair for the Santa Monica Bar Association, as a mediator and arbitrator for the Los Angeles and Ventura Superior Courts’ ADR Programs, and on the Board of Governors for the International Academy of Mediation (IAM). Wendy currently chairs the IAM’s Mentorship Program.

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Apul Bhalani is a Master of Dispute Resolution Candidate at The University of Southern California.  Originally from Washington State with a B.A. in Management Information Systems and Management from Washington State University.  He has been in the technology industry since graduating from college.  After learning more about conflict resolution and the benefits for kids growing up in a new era of being able to solve their own disputes he wanted to get involved and be a part of that revolution.  Kids Managing Conflict is a storied program that Apul feels will help him grow his knowledge and help spread training to more schools in the future through new online training programs that can reach more kids.

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Daisy Nava is a current senior at California State University, Long Beach, and is completing a B.A. in Communication Studies and a B.A. in Physics. After taking a Communication in Conflict Resolution course, Daisy discovered she is more interested in analyzing transgressions, instead of shock waves. Throughout her 6 years of working with children with developmental and/or learning disabilities, she noticed a lack of empathic communication from educators. When trying to resolve student-teacher conflict, Daisy applied her conflict resolution skills and wanted to help others resolve their own issues. Currently, she is a DRPA trained mediator and volunteers her mediation skills with Orange County Human Relations(OCHR). 

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Ashley Rosenthal, is a mediator, IEP facilitator, and alternative dispute resolution consultant. With
over 12 years in special education as a classroom teacher, coordinator, and program director, she
has extensive experience working with students, families, teachers, and administrators across
various educational settings; private, public, charter, and non-public schools (NPS). She holds a
California single-subject teaching credential as well as an education specialist instruction
credential. Ashley earned her Master’s in Dispute Resolution from the University of Southern
California (USC), Gould School of Law, after completing her Doctorate in Education from USC
and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

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Wendy Betancourt works in the Office of the Ombudsman for the Los Angeles County Probation Department. Her extensive work experience has equipped her to work in the Ombudsman office and be an impartial and neutral resource for probation clients, their families, victims, and the community with their concerns. Wendy began her career with the County of Los Angeles in 1997. Her probation experience includes operational assignments at the detention and residential treatment facilities, juvenile field investigations, adult and juvenile field supervision, and intensive gang field supervision.  Wendy has achieved a Master of Public Administration Degree from the California State University, Northridge and a Bachelor’s in Science Degree, Criminal Justice from the California State University, Los Angeles. She has earned a certificate as a Mediator, Conciliator and Facilitator from California State University, Dominguez Hills and is currently in their graduate program for Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. Wendy has experience designing and facilitating community dialogues and has co-mediated community concerns with the public. 

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Wesley Acker

Program Director

wesley@kidsmanagingconflict.org

Wesley Acker holds a B.S. in International Relations and an M.A. in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding. He was trained and certified  in Facilitative Mediation by the State of Virginia in 2011. His full-time mediation experience includes Family and Divorce, and Small Claims and Civil Harassment. He has written a 40-hour Mediation Training curriculum and trained hundreds of new mediators. He was trained in Restorative Justice and Practices by the Int’l Institute for Restorative Justice, and spent a year embedded with a local middle school in that work. He has trained with Kay Pranis in Circle Process for Tier II Harm Intervention,  and has completed a 3-day Workshop through the Straus Institute at Pepperdine in Organizational Conflict Consulting  (Ken Cloke/Joan Goldsmith). He brings 19 years teaching experience at university level, and is also a certified Life Coach.

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KMC Community Executive Board

Sarai Benitez

Co-President

Sarai first became involved with Peer Mediation her junior year of High School, after she had gone through traumatic bullying. In her first year, she mediated over 50 students with her fellow mediators, earning her new problem-solving skills, and deepening her compassion. Wanting to help more, Sarai began to take on more referrals, including from people who felt they had a conflict with themselves. She found that students felt much more safe and comfortable speaking to a peer about their emotions instead of a staff member. By the time she graduated high school, Sarai felt that Peer Mediation completely changed her life. Sarai is now a college junior pursuing a career in Music Therapy at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and continues to use the skills she learned through peer mediation in her verbal therapeutic intervention training. Sarai plans to continue her education towards a Masters in Arts Management focused on serving the diverse population in LA and develop her Korean language skill and cultural understanding through her local community center and at Los Angeles City College (LACC).  With this major, Sarai plans to fight towards breaking the mental health stigma in both the Latinx and Korean communities in Los Angeles beginning in the Pico-Union and Koreatown area, which she grew up.

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Sein Yun 

Co-President

Sein Yun is a current junior at the Orange County School of the Arts, where she has founded the Peer Mediation Program with the guidance of one of her school’s deans, Dr. Gregory Endelman. She was first inspired to begin a peer mediation organization at her school after observing the lack of education and discussion between conflicting groups of students. Although students were disciplined by the school administration, Sein has noticed that there were no conversations that allowed students to understand what they could have done differently to avoid such conflicts and learn how to tackle disputes in the future. She has introduced peer mediation to her school in order to foster such understanding and discussions among students and to create a more welcoming environment. As an alternative to the unusual circumstances the pandemic has brought, Sein developed an app for students at her school to explore mental health-related resources and to privately text peer mediators for help and advice, while continuing to hold Zoom peer mediation sessions. Sein is also working with her school’s Coalition for Antiracism and Inclusion to foster conversations between groups of students regarding race and diversity. In addition to peer mediation, Sein is an avid violin player and was selected as a violinist for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America sponsored by Carnegie Hall and will soon feature as a soloist on NPR Radio’s show “From the Top.” 

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Lizbeth Crispin

Secretary

Lizbeth Crispin started her peer mediator journey as a sophomore at University High School. Always wanting to help her community and peers in any way she could, she soon realized that the mediation skills she learned through her training could not only help others in an educational setting but in life in general. Lizbeth earned her two B. A. Degrees in Biology and Public Health and Health Equity from Mills College. Always being passionate about peer mediation and helping her community, Lizbeth decided to help pioneer a peer mediation program as a subset to another program in her college’s biology department. Lizbeth plans on continuing to assist others in learning about peer mediation with the help of the KMC community.

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KMC Advisory Board

​Sally Patchen

Former KMC President

Mediator in private practice specializing in small business disputes, educator and trainer, and recipient of the William C. Hobbs Award for the Outstanding Adult Volunteer Los Angeles County Bar Association Civic Mediation Program for 2016. 

Jason Harper

Mediator in private practice specializing in conflict resolution training for students and faculty at the middle school and high school levels; ADR consultant, professor, and trainer; ADR Consultant for the Los Angeles County Office of Education; 2017 President of the Southern California Mediation Association (SCMA).

Dr. Pamela Kreiser

For over 30 years, Dr. Pamela Kreiser has trained individuals to become better interpersonal communicators. She teaches conflict resolution and mediation full-time in the Department of Communication Studies at CSU Long Beach and as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding (NCRP) M.A. Program at CSUDH. Professor Kreiser earned a Ph.D. in Interpersonal Communication with a specialization in Quantitative Methods from the University of Texas at Austin. She serves as a Senior Lead Mediator regularly in the California Superior Court system and previously served as a consultant in School Based Mediation.

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Marvin Whistler

Mediator in private practice specializing in mediation services for divorcing couples; mediator, conciliator, facilitator, and trainer for the Los Angeles City Attorney's Dispute Resolution Program and other organizations.

Ariella Morrison

Volunteer mediator with Centinela Youth Services; Senior Staff Attorney with OneJustice focusing on mobilization of pro bono attorneys for detained and non-detained immigrants in Los Angeles County; volunteer attorney with Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. 

Ken Cloke

Kenneth Cloke is Director of the Center of Dispute Resolution, and a mediator, arbitrator, consultant, and trainer, specializing in resolving multiparty conflicts and designing dispute resolution system for organizations for almost 40 years. 

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Michael R. Powell

Michael Powell heads up the AAA® Los Angeles Regional Office, focusing on the AAA’s Construction Division. In this role, he interacts with the AAA’s clients who file construction, real estate and environmental cases and the panelists how serve as arbitrators and mediators in those cases. His district includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington, with oversight of 300+ arbitrators and mediators.

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Joan Goldsmith

Joan Goldsmith, M.A., Doctor of Humane Letters, has been an educator, facilitator, coach, mediator and organizational consultant with public and private sector organizations for over forty years, specializing in leadership, board development, organizational change, team building, strategic planning, collaborative negotiation and conflict resolution.

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