K. Ann Barker (“Ann”) is originally from Madisonville, Tennessee. a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and has practiced law or directed law-related programs in Vermont, the District of Columbia, and Tennessee. Over the years, her legal practice has centered around family law issues, including domestic violence, education rights of children, using mediation to resolve family issues, and litigation as family law tool. In Tennessee, she was the first Director of the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission (ADRC), and served as the Interim Director of the University of Tennessee College of Law Mediation Clinic. She now enjoys practicing law part-time, primarily as a guardian ad litem in Juvenile Court cases, and among other pleasures, being a grandmother.
Caitlin Elledge was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. She graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2008 and then moved to Washington D.C. to attend law school at Georgetown University. Caitlin specialized in International Trade Law, working for the Department of International Trade and Development for the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and later for the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Upon graduating from Georgetown Law, Caitlin went to work for the International Trade Group within the Animal Protection Litigation Department of HSUS, where she was able to combine her love for animals with her interest in international trade law and policy. Caitlin worked on cases before NAFTA and the World Trade Organization involving disputes between the United States government and other countries regarding environmental and animal protection laws. She also drafted legislation in the areas of animal protection and environmental law to be introduced in Congress and various state legislatures.
Caitlin returned to Tennessee in 2013, a move that afforded her the opportunity to switch directions professionally and have humans as clients for a change. Since that time, Caitlin has pursued her passion for helping families through work as a family law attorney with the law firm Sobieski, Messer & Elledge, PLLC, which has been representing clients in family law cases for over 26 years. Caitlin is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31-Listed Family Law Mediator and is also trained in Collaborative Divorce and on the Board of the East Tennessee Collaborative Alliance.
Dawn Forshay Dawn is originally from the New England area and relocated to the Knoxville area 7 years ago after meeting her husband on a project in Connecticut. She attended Western New England University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. She received her MBA in Entrepreneurial Thinking & Innovative Practices from Bay Path University. Her career has exposed her to many areas of business including sales, customer service, accounting, Business to IT liaison, driving process improvement, business analysis and contract negotiation. She has recently started training as a Conflict Coach. In 2017 she became a TSC Rule 31 Listed Civil and Family mediator and shortly thereafter started volunteering at Community Mediation Center, both as a mediator and Treasurer of CMC’s Board. Her passion is helping others and traveling all over the world, but her favorite thing to do is spend time with her husband and their three adorable grandchildren.
Bari B. Gerbig is an active Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 listed Family Mediator who has received advanced mediation training in Domestic Violence issues and in Elder Law Mediation. She currently serves on the Community Mediation Center Board as a representative of the CMC Elder Mediation Task Force. After graduating with a Masters Degree in Public Administration, Bari worked for twenty years as a health care administrator in a home health agency, and in a skilled nursing facility. She has also served as a program specialist for the Knox County Office on Aging. Since 2010, she has completed more than 400 hours as a CMC Volunteer Mediator. When not mediating, Bari serves as a volunteer Ombudsperson to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Denise Ford Jackson, PhD, PE is originally from Vicksburg, MS. She was educated in the Vicksburg Public School System, followed by a Bachelor of Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, and then MS and PhD degrees from University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her professional experience includes four years as a Systems Engineer for Union Carbide Nuclear Division (later Martin Marietta Energy Systems), and twenty-six years as faculty in Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee (both Knoxville and Space Institute). Since retiring from UT, she has consulted for Battelle for Kids as a data coach and also with several nonprofits as a Process Improvement Specialist. Her professional activities include the following: Examiner and Commissioner for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); Review Panelist for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and for the Department of Labor (DOL; Member, Order of the Engineer; Board Member of both the Tennessee Valley Mediation Association (TVMA) and the Community Mediation Center. Denise has been a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 listed Family and General Civil Mediator since 2016. She and her husband, Andrew, are the parents of two adult sons.
Becky L. Jacobs is the Waller Lansden Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law. She directs the Civil and Family Mediation Clinics at the law school as well as teaching doctrinal classes in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Environmental Law, and other courses. As part of the Mediation Clinical programs, Becky works closely with the CMC’s director and staff on training, on identifying mediation opportunities for both UT law students and CMC volunteers, and on promoting mediation in the community.
Becky joined the UT College of Law faculty with more than a decade of international practice experience. Representative positions include her work as the Assistant General Counsel for Duke Energy International’s Geração Paranapanema S.A. business unit in São Paulo, Brazil and as an in-house lawyer for CNG Transmission and Conoco. Early in her career, she clerked for the Honorable Pasco M. Bowman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. She then practiced with the law firms of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher and Shook, Hardy & Bacon, spending time in the London offices of both firms. Becky was the top graduate in her law class at the University of Georgia School of Law and was named to the Order of the Coif there.
Stephanie Prager is originally from northern West Virginia. She earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology, as well as a master’s of public administration from West Virginia University. In 2010, she moved to Knoxville to pursue her law degree at the University of Tennessee. After graduation, Stephanie entered private practice with an emphasis on general civil litigation and appeals, employment law, and domestic relations cases. In 2018, she began working as a contracts consultant for the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Stephanie is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 civil & family mediator and the current board chair for the Community Mediation Center. She is also a member of the Knoxville Bar Association’s Professionalism Committee and was recently selected as a Super Lawyer’s Mid-South Rising Star. Stephanie lives in west Knoxville with her husband, Dan, and their beagle, Frankie. She loves watching almost every sport, but mostly Pittsburgh Pirates baseball (even though the team hasn’t been very good the last 20 years).
Marcus Rudolph is originally from Knoxville, TN. He graduated from Knoxville Catholic High School 1997, and then from Xavier University with a Bachelor in Social Sciences in 2001. He received a Masters of Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 2003. Marcus has worked at Knox County Juvenile Court since January 2009. He completed his training with the Community Mediation Center in December 2014. Marcus is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 listed Family mediator, specially trained in domestic violence issues. He mediates cases involving issues such as non-marital visitation and custody, divorce, post-divorce and cases involving a history of domestic violence. Marcus is avid sports fan, loves to play soccer, hikes everywhere, and loves his beloved dog, Bongo.
Heidi Plein Wegryn graduated from The University of Minnesota Law School and primarily practices in the area of Family Law where she deals with family matters and domestic relations. Heidi has completed both basic and advanced collaborative law training through the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and she is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Family Mediator with special training in domestic violence. In addition to taking collaborative divorce cases, a large part of her practice is devoted to child advocacy, adoption and agreed divorce. She is active in the local and state Bars, and is a founding member and President of the East Tennessee Collaborative Alliance. She is a member of Tennessee Association of Professional Mediators and has served on the Community Mediation Center Board since 2016.
Former Board Members