DATE: April 30, 2008                                     CONTACT: Laura Kiernan
                                                                                              Judicial Branch
                                                                                              Communications Director
                                                                                              603-271-2646 ext 2359

                                                                                               Julia Olivares
                                                                                               NH Charitable Foundation
PHOTO of today's ceremony                                               603-225-6641, ext. 1244
 (caption information below)

 

                                                                                               

COURT ADMINISTRATOR AWARDED KENNEDY SCHOOL FELLOWSHIP

Gina Apicelli has played key role in Family Division statewide expansion

CONCORD—Judicial Branch administrator Gina B. Apicelli, who has played a key role in statewide expansion of the court system’s Family Division, has been awarded the Caroline L. Gross Fellowship, established in memory of the late House Majority leader to honor dedication to public service.

The fellowship award was presented to Apicelli today in a ceremony at the New Hampshire Supreme Court. 

The fellowship, which is administered by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, will fund three weeks of study at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in a program designed for senior executives in state and local government.

Caroline Gross, who served for 10 years in the New Hampshire House before her death in 1993, was an honors graduate of Radcliffe College and held a masters degree in education from Harvard. She was admired throughout state government for her reasoned and fair approach to issues. Apicelli is the first Judicial Branch employee to be selected to receive the Gross fellowship.

"As an employee of the court system, I am thrilled to receive this award because it acknowledges the impact our efforts have on the citizens of New Hampshire," Apicelli said prior to the ceremony. "I am grateful for the opportunity to spend time with others in the public sector to think about how we can better meet the needs of the people we serve," she said.

Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr., speaking earlier this week,  commended Apicelli for her "outstanding leadership and invaluable contributions to the mission of the Judicial Branch." Broderick, members of the Supreme Court, Lew Feldstein, president of the Charitable Foundation, Attorney Martin L. Gross, who was Caroline Gross' husband, and Family Division Administrative Judge Edwin W. Kelly attended Wednesday’s ceremony, along with Apicelli’s colleagues and family.

"Gina has devoted her professional life to assisting families in need obtain access to our system of justice," Judge Kelly said in a statement prior to the event.  "Her enthusiasm for and dedication to these most important issues are something that I feel quite certain Caroline Gross would be extremely proud of, as are we," Judge Kelly said.

A 1996 graduate of Pierce Law Center in Concord, Apicelli practiced family law in Grafton County until 2001 when she became executive director of the "Greenbook Project" a federal initiative designed to help the court system and social service agencies work together to address the range of issues that are involved in family violence. She became a family court administrator in 2004, just prior to legislative approval of statewide expansion of the Family division pilot project. She has worked with judges, court staff, lawmakers, social service agencies and the public to coordinate implementation of a statewide system designed to provide a non-adversarial, efficient process for parents and children trying to resolve family issues. The new Family division is the most significant change in the New Hampshire Court system since the early 1980s when the state courts were unified into one cohesive system.

Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Linda S. Dalianis, who chaired the Family Division Implementation Committee, described the family division project as "a huge logistical challenge."

"Gina’s exceptional skill as an administrator, and her devotion to the project, were essential to its success," Justice Dalianis said.

Once the project is completed, new Family Division sites will be in operation at 29 locations around the state and family cases will have been shifted out of the Superior, District and Probate Courts into the new Family Division.

Apicelli, who like Caroline Gross is a New Hampshire native, has also served in the New Hampshire Army National Guard in the office of Judge Advocate General, providing guidance to soldiers on a variety of legal issues, including family matters. She received an honorable discharge in 2007 at the rank of Captain. Currently, Apicelli is designing a family law course for Plymouth State University and is also active in her local literacy task force. 

Previous Caroline L. Gross Fellowship recipients include: George Bald, Philip Bryce, Joan Callahan, Lou D’Allesandro, Sylvio Dupuis, David Hess, Jason Hoch, Beverly Hollingworth, Tricia Lucas, Merelise O’Connor, Catherine Provencher, Alan Robichaud, Todd Selig and Kathleen Sgambati.

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, founded in 1962, manages a collection of charitable funds, totaling nearly $490 million, created by individuals, families and corporations. The Foundation awarded more than $32 million in grants, scholarships and initiatives last year; more than $125 million in just the past five years. For more information, visit www.nhcf.org, or call 603-225-6641.

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PHOTO CAPTION

   Photo: Family division administrator Gina Apicelli receiving the Caroline L. Gross fellowship during a ceremony at the NH Supreme Court on April 30 (photo credit: Wendy M. Cahill).

   Front (l-r) Senior Associate Supreme Court Justice Linda S. Dalianis, Gina Apicelli; back (l-r) Administrative Judge Edwin W. Kelly; Associate Supreme Court Justice Richard Gallway; Chief Justice John T. Broderick Jr.;Associate Supreme Court Justice Gary E. Hicks; Martin L. Gross; Lew Feldstein, president of the NH Charitable Foundation.