An attorney who has spent the past several years managing services for abused and neglected children in the legal system has been appointed to oversee operations for Northeastern Minnesota courts.

Sara Taylor has assumed the role of district administrator for the 6th Judicial District, which includes all of St. Louis, Carlton, Cook and Lake counties. She replaces Marieta Johnson, who has retired after seven years in the role.

“Sara Taylor is a highly qualified and experienced leader," Chief Judge Sally Tarnowski said in a statement. "The 6th Judicial District is known as a pioneering and change-oriented district. I look forward to working closely with Sara to continue to innovate and improve the administration of justice."

Taylor will direct the management of district operations, overseeing a multi-million-dollar budget and working with 16 judges, one referee and two child support magistrates at six courthouses in the four counties. More than 45,000 cases were filed in the district last year.

Taylor's appointment was recommended by the district's judiciary and approved by the Minnesota Judicial Council on Nov. 14, effective the following day.

Taylor holds a bachelor's degree in business management from the College of St. Scholastica and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan. She spent the past five years with the Minnesota Guardian ad Litem Program, which appoints advocates to represent children in court proceedings. As manager, she oversaw the merger of operations between the 6th and 9th judicial districts, bringing 21 counties of northern Minnesota under one umbrella.

"Taylor developed the vision and implemented hiring practices that ensured diversity and inclusivity in the workforce in her service areas," the Minnesota Judicial Branch reported in a news release. "During her tenure with the program she was involved in a variety of committees that handled labor management, union negotiations and tribal-state partnerships."

Johnson announced her retirement after 26 years with the court system. As district administrator since 2012, she led a number of initiatives aimed at centralization of operations and collaboration with other districts to create greater consistency statewide.

“Marieta Johnson is a true trailblazer and visionary leader,” said State Court Administrator Jeff Shorba. “For Marieta, leadership has never been doing what is easiest, fastest or simplest. It’s always been about doing what is right — doing what is best for the people the Minnesota Judicial Branch serves and the people who depend on the courts.”

Tarnowski added: “The district’s reputation for innovation is due in no small part to the leadership of our outgoing district administrator, Marieta Johnson."