Maryland Courts

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Meet the ADR Staff

Maureen A. Denihan

Maureen A. Denihan is the Executive Director of ADR Programs with the District Court of Maryland ADR Office.  In that capacity, she works with judges, court staff, interns, volunteers and community partners to build, maintain and strengthen existing ADR programs in the District Court.  In managing ADR programs, Maureen is responsible for drafting internal and external policy and procedure manuals, developing training and orientation programs, and oversight of the ADR internship program.  She works collaboratively both within the ADR Office and with external partners to develop, implement, evaluate and improve programs and to assist neutrals that provide services.

Maureen has been with the ADR since January 2004, and formerly served in the capacity of Coordinator of ADR Volunteers, and then ADR Manager, and then Deputy Director/Programs Development and Community Outreach Director, before being promoted to her current position.  Maureen is a mediator, is licensed to practice law in Maryland and is a member of the Maryland Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR).

Maureen has presented at national and local ADR conferences including the ACR’s Annual Conference, the Maryland Mediator’s convention, the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence (MPME) Member’s Only Synergy Session, the Center for Alternative’s Dispute Resolution Annual Conference, the Maryland ADR Roster Manager’s Conference on topics including: Ethics; Agreement Writing; Getting Plugged In: Going Beyond the 40-Hours of Mediation Training; Dealing with Sticky Situations (as a Roster Manager); Making the Most of Your MPME Membership; and, others.

Shannon M. Baker

Shannon M. Baker is the Regional ADR Programs Director for the District Court of Maryland ADR Office in Baltimore City and Harford County.  In this position, Shannon directs and provides support for Day of Trial mediation and settlement conference programs, pretrial mediation programs, and develops and maintains partnerships with law schools and community mediation centers.  She monitors the quality of ADR programs, services, and practitioners, and analyzes quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate ADR programs within her districts.  A mediator since 2007, Shannon practices in the transformative and inclusive (community mediation) frameworks. 

Shannon holds a B.A. in French and a B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Global Management from Susquehanna University.  During her time at Susquehanna, she also interned and studied abroad in Paris, France.  Shannon holds a J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law and was admitted to the Maryland Bar in 2014.  While attending the University of Baltimore, Shannon served as a Teaching Assistant, Teaching Scholar, President of Parents in Law School, and participated in the Mediation Clinic for Families.  She graduated first in the evening program, receiving the Nancy Cogliano Strause Award, and was named by the Honors Committee as the 2014 Law Faculty Award evening recipient. 

Shannon lives in York, PA with her husband Chris, stepson Chance, and daughters Kyrie Wren and Sawyer Rose.  In her “free” time, Shannon enjoys acting, singing, running, and volunteering at her local theatre. 

Leona Elliott

Leona S. Elliott, Director of Roster Management, has been with the District Court of Maryland ADR Office since April 2008. In this position, she is responsible for scheduling over 300 ADR Volunteers across the State for the Day of Trial Mediation and Settlement Conferencing programs on a quarterly basis.  She is also responsible for reviewing ADR Practitioner Activity Reports and other forms. She also reviews incoming ADR volunteer applications of potential volunteers to determine if there is a need to add new volunteers in specific districts and if they are ready to go through the orientation program for mediation and settlement conference neutral programs.  She also works with the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and the Regional ADR Program Directors to conduct orientation training and volunteer appreciation events.

Leona has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Virginia Union University. Leona was first introduced to mediation as a participant in 2004. Several months later, she completed the training to become a volunteer mediator and has been a volunteer with Community Mediation in Baltimore City since 2004 and is a former Board Member. Her training in mediation includes the Basic Mediation (inclusive model), Parenting Plan Mediation and Re-entry Mediation at Community Mediation. She also has received training in the Transformative model with Louise Phipps-Senft and facilitative training with Cecilia Paizs, Esq. She has also conducted workshops highlighting the experience of both the Participant and the Mediator at the mediation table which she refers to as a “gift at the table.”

Cindy Faucette

Cindy holds a BA degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech and a BS degree in Paralegal Studies from the University of Maryland. Prior to joining the District Court of Maryland ADR Office, she was a paralegal with an insurance defense firm.  Cindy joined the District Court of Maryland ADR Office in April 2004 as Regional ADR Coordinator and completed the 50 hour Basic Mediation Training, offered by MACMC (now Community Mediation Maryland) in October 2004 and 20-Child Access Mediation, offered by Mediation Matters, Inc., in July 2005. Cindy currently holds the position of Regional ADR Program Director with the District Court of Maryland ADR Office managing programs in Baltimore, Carroll, Howard, Frederick and Washington counties.

Andrew Fontanella

Andrew comes to the District Court ADR Office after working almost 30 years as a litigation attorney in the private sector. He graduated from Temple University School of Law and started working in a small firm in Paterson, New Jersey. There he was exposed to a wide range of litigation issues in both the criminal and civil arenas.

After working in the New Jersey Courts for 7 years, he transitioned to a Catholic (Franciscan) ministry formation program. This program took him to different cities throughout the east coast, and Lima, Peru, for 10 weeks to experience a cultural and linguistic immersion. Although he remained in the program for only 3-1/2 years, he took away some unique insights and language skills that launched him on a journey with the Latino and Deaf populations. Those were the communities he served when he returned to the practice of law in Rockville, Maryland. In 2000, Andrew launched his own practice that served the Latino and Deaf communities in Maryland.

In the last 10 years, Andrew began actively pursuing training in alternative dispute resolution processes. He trained in collaborative, law, mediation from the transformative and facilitative frameworks, and conflict coaching. He also added to his skill base facilitation and community conferencing. Before joining the office, Andrew was a volunteer on the District Court roster in Baltimore City and currently mediates with the family division of the Baltimore City Circuit Court. He also remains a member of the team of core mediators and trainers for Baltimore Mediation.

Gretchen Kainz

Gretchen A. Kainz is the Regional ADR Programs Director in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.  Her background includes working as a Family Mediator, serving as a Voc Rehab Counselor in Europe for Disabled American Veterans, and helping abused and neglected children in Florida.  She spent eight years in the US Air Force as a Morse Code Operator (-.-- .- -.--) and was blessed with the opportunity to serve her country while traveling extensively and earning a Bachelor and a Master’s degree.  One current adventure she’s excited about is her ongoing training in Shadow Work, a somatic healing modality, to become a certified facilitator.  Yay!  Gretchen is passionate about traveling, eating delicious food, self-growth opportunities, exercising, and living a full life with great people around her.  She lives in Riverdale, Maryland with her partner, Tony; and occasionally, her two amazing stepsons, Chris and Nick, come up to hang-out, too.  High-five!

Sarah Kauffman

Sarah is currently the Data Management and Public Information Director for the District Court of Maryland ADR Office.  In this position, Sarah is responsible for collecting and analyzing the incoming data for all ADR volunteers, the editor-in-chief of the ADR Office e-Newsletter, and maintaining the office website.  She also supervises the ADR Office internship program.  In 2013, she became a member of the ADR Program Managers.  Before holding this position, she was both the Administrative Assistant and a full-time intern for the ADR Office.  Sarah holds a B.A. in Communication and Conflict Resolution from Juniata College and a M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Management from the University of Baltimore.  She received her 40-hour Basic Mediation Training from Mediation Matters in 2010 and two 20-hour mediation trainings from Baltimore Mediation.  Sarah lives in Mt. Airy, Maryland with her husband Justin, son Jaxson, and cat Geno.