Our dedicated staff is here to serve you.
Learn more about their areas of expertise below.
Michelle Zaremba, MPA, Director
In 1999, Michelle became a member of the Dayton Mediation Center team as a Mediation Specialist. Following 10 years of developing her professional conflict intervention skills, Michelle became the organization’s Director in 2009. She is an experienced conflict intervention with expertise as a practitioner, trainer, and consultant. Michelle is a Certified Transformative Mediator ™ and Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, Inc.
Michelle earned a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the Department of Urban Affairs and Geography at Wright State University, Fairborn, OH, and a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Conflict Management from Kent State University, Kent, OH.
Aaron Primm, BA
Aaron began his career with the Center in 2013 as a Volunteer Mediator and joined the staff as Mediation Specialist I in 2014. He is a Certified Transformative Mediator™ with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation. He serves in multiple capacities within the Mediation Center and has expertise in eviction/landlord-tenant mediation, small claims mediation, and group facilitation. Aaron is one of the Center trainers for new volunteer mediators and facilitates ongoing Responding Effectively to Conflict classes for incarcerated people at the Montgomery County Jail. Aaron brings 12 years of professional teaching expertise at the elementary, high school, and college levels.
Aaron attended Fisk University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology.
Cherise D. Hairston, MA/ABD
Cherise began her career with the Center in 1996 as an intern and in 1999 joined the staff as a Mediation Specialist. With over two decades of professional and academic expertise, Cherise provides a range of conflict intervention services specializing in workplace and team building intervention, conflict coaching for individuals, and training. Cherise is the Center’s Volunteer Coordinator and also provides mediation and dialogue process facilitation.
Cherise is a Certified Transformative Mediator™ and Fellow with Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, Inc. She also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association for Community Mediation and the Dayton International Peace Museum. She completed doctoral level studies at Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, in the Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, earning honors as an Advanced Practitioner in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. She also earned a Master of Arts in Conflict Resolution from the Department of Conflict Resolution at Antioch University McGregor, Yellow Springs, OH, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a Minor in Women’s Studies from Miami University, Oxford, OH.
Monica joined the Dayton Mediation Center as a Mediation Specialist in 2021. Serving as a nontraditional mid-career professional Peace Corps Volunteer Colombia 2019-2020 in the Community Economic Development sector, she was evacuated back to her home of record in Ohio due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. She brings 14 years of experience in cross cultural communication, continuous improvement, and procedural conflict resolution from her private sector experience working in international trade, regulatory compliance, and internal audit for transnational and global manufacturers. Monica holds a Master of Arts degree in Dispute Resolution and Conflict Management from Southern Methodist University with a focus in organizational and international conflict. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Spanish from Miami University. Her passion for community mediation comes from a pursuit of building peace at the local level in systems, organizations, and communities. She is trained by the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and has begun working on the Juvenile Program for Diversion and Community Impact.
Cheryl began her career with the Center as a Volunteer Mediator in 2011 and joined the staff as a Mediation Specialist Contractor in 2014. Cheryl is a conflict intervention practitioner whose professional conflict intervention experience includes conflict intervention case management, mediation, facilitation, and serving as as coach/trainer for volunteers. Cheryl’s more than 20 years of experience in the property management industry positions her as a specialist with landlord – tenant conflicts.
Janet Mueller, MS
Janet’s career at the Dayton Mediation Center was launched in 1995 when she joined the Center as an intern. She was hired in 1997 to manage the Police Mediation Project, which she continues to do today. As one of the lead trainers for the Center, she has played a key role in developing innovative training programs, including our Responding Effectively to Conflict Training. In addition to this, Janet works as the Administrative Coordinator for the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation Inc, an international think tank organization that supports the growth and development of the transformative approach around the world.
Janet is a Certified Transformative Mediator™ and Fellow with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, Inc., She earned a Masters degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from Nova Southeastern University, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Conflict Management from Kent State University, Kent, OH.
Jessica Best, BS
Jessica began as an intern at the Center in 2012, and started her career as a Mediation Specialist Contractor later that year. Currently she is a conflict intervention practitioner, lead trainer and program manager for Center’s pilot project: the Prison Peer Mediation Program with the Dayton Correctional Institute. In addition, Jessica assists in training for the Reentry Career Alliance Academy (RCAA), and sits on two sub committees - Women in Reentry & Supportive Services - for the Montgomery County Office of Reentry. Jessica also co-manages the Center’s Volunteer program in which she schedules and tracks day-to-day volunteer activity, manages the Volunteer Mediation Training, assists in skills building and continuing education trainings, and helps in coordinating the Center's annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner. Jessica, also, assists the Center in various projects including the Center's Annual Fundraiser, the Center's Jail Program, and overseeing the Center's interns.
Jessica earned a Bachelor of Science in Urban Affairs with a specialization in Criminal Justice from Wright State University, Fairborn, OH in 2012.
Jody Bonansinga, BA
Jody joined the Mediation Center as an intern in 2019, and started her career as a Mediation Specialist Contractor later that year. Jody is currently working on multiple projects for the Center. She is particularly excited about her work on the new Police Complaint Program that started in 2021.
Jody earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Management from the University of Dayton. She is glad she can give back to the Dayton community through her work at the Center.
Laurel began her work with the DMC as a volunteer in late 2017 and continues in this capacity. She was hired as a Mediation Specialist Contractor in June 2021 specifically for the Homelessness Prevention Program funded by an ESG-CV CARES Act. Laurel worked for the Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter for nearly 17 years, first as a Family Assistance Coordinator and later as Program Director. Previously, she was the founding director of an adult day program in Atlanta, Georgia and worked in the field of adult day service for 8 years.
Laurel earned a Master of Science degree in Community Counseling from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA, and earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Speech Communications.
Lydia Vanderkaay, MA
Lydia VanderKaay began as a volunteer mediator at the Center in 2017, and started contracting with the center later that year. She currently works as a project contractor. As a lifelong Dayton resident, she is happy to serve the community through her work at the Center.
Lydia also works as the Assistant Coordinator at the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, whose offices are located within the Center.
Lydia earned her undergraduate degree from Antioch University McGregor in Humanities, and an Individualized Master of Arts, also from Antioch University in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
Trisha Werts, BA
In 2001, Trisha became a member of the Center as a Volunteer Mediator. Her professional career started in 2003 when she began developing expertise as a conflict intervention practitioner. Trisha has been training volunteer mediators since 2007, including the initial trainings as well as skills building and continuing education sessions. She also serves on the volunteer team, where she helps figure out and apply best practices to engage and retain our volunteer mediators.
Trisha also manages the parenting time program, helping unmarried parents figure out how to parent while no longer together. In addition to the Mediation Center's program, she also heads up the parenting time project with Montgomery County's Child Support Enforcement Agency, which enables parents to have access to mediations on the spot while they are visiting CSEA for their child support hearings. In addition to training and programming, Trisha also helps with team-building projects by helping organizations learn how to communicate better.
Trisha is a Certified Transformative Mediator™ with the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation, Inc. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Indiana University East, Richmond, IN.
Dick Todd, M. Div
Dick became a volunteer at the Center early in 2017. He has participated in over 100 mediations in the year since completing his training. His willingness to help the Center through creating role-play scenarios, upgrading the Center’s recording equipment, and arranging to give volunteers the opportunity to record role play experiences have combined to earn the title of “Special Projects Volunteer.” Dick has also earned the title of “Master Mediator” through the Dayton Mediation Center's certification process.
Before retirement, Dick worked primarily as a Presbyterian Pastor, including a stint as a Presbytery Executive, at which time Dick was introduced to mediation as a way to help resolve conflict in churches. Dick received his Bachelor of Arts at The University of Cincinnati and his M.Div degree at McCormick Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Chicago.
"The National Association for Community Mediation (NAFCM) has benefited by the leadership provided by the Dayton Mediation Center both through their individual service on the NAFCM Board and committees, as well as their presence in the greater Dayton community since the creation of NAFCM in 1994."
D.G. Mawn, M.A., J.D.
National Association For Community Mediation