Katherine Carmichael, M.S.Ed., MSW, LMSW, Executive Director
Katherine joined CASA as executive director in May 2016. Prior to this, Katherine was senior director of operations at the YWCA Bergen County and a member of the senior leadership team. At the YWCA, she oversaw the Aquatics, Health, Wellness and Youth programs, including child care, at over 30 program sites. Katherine has served as senior director of Program Services and Outreach for the Princeton-Blairstown Center, where she developed and oversaw programs serving more than 4,000 participants a year at school-based programs in Trenton, New York City and a retreat campus in Blairstown, N.J. Previously, Katherine was program director for Good Shepherd Services in New York City for nine years. She served as the start-up Director for two large school-based mental health counseling programs for more than 300 at-risk youth with behavioral and emotional challenges.
“The board is delighted to have found an outstanding individual with strong leadership and operational experience in running programs serving youth and families in Mercer and Bergen counties and New York City,” said Andrea Stine, immediate past president of the board of trustees. “With her commitment to helping children at risk and her in-depth professional experience, Katherine is the right person to further CASA’s mission to train volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children.”
Katherine holds a master’s degree from Columbia University School of Social Work in Advanced Clinical Social Work Practice/School-based and School-linked Services and a master’s degree from Bank Street Graduate School of Education in Middle School Special and General Education Dual Certification. She also has a Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional Certificate from the FMA Institute and the Advanced Certificate Program in Executive Leadership in the Not-For-Profit Sector from New York University Silver School of Social Work.
Laura Fitzgerald, Ph.D., Director of Training and Evaluation
Laura joined CASA in 2011 as a Case Supervisor. She was promoted to Director of Training and Evaluation in 2017. Laura has more than 22 years of diverse training, evaluation and child welfare experience. Most recently she was with The Family Learning Center as a family/child counselor. Prior to The Family Learning Center, Laura was a Family Preservation Specialist with Center for Family Services with the Hammond Group as a Behavior Assistant and In-community Clinician for four years. Laura has a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University, an MS in Psychology from Walden University and a PhD in Psychology from Walden University.
Renée Paci, Director of Programs
Renée Paci joined CASA in 2015 as a Senior Advocate Supervisor. Renée was promoted to Director of Programs in 2017. Renee has more than 16 years of experience working with agencies that provide services to child abuse/neglect victims. Most recently, Renée spent five years as a Victim/Mental Health Advocate for Children’s Advocacy Center in Florida, where she provided services through an interdisciplinary approach to children who were victims of sexual and physical abuse. Prior to her work at Children’s Advocacy Center, she investigated allegations of child abuse/neglect for DCF and was part of a unit that specialized in working cases that involved sexual abuse, physical abuse and child death cases. She was awarded as Investigator of the Year in 2008. Renée also has experience working with New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) as an intake worker. She holds a BA in Criminal Justice from Stockton University. She holds certifications as a mediator, certified child protective investigator, and victim services practitioner.
Mary Penney, Communications and Special Events Director
Mary Penney joined CASA in 2017. Prior to this, Mary worked as a program and conference coordinator at New Jersey Future. Mary has held development and management roles at several nonprofit organizations across the region (as employee or volunteer), including Bucks County Audubon Society, Montgomery Friends of Open Space and D&R Greenway Land Trust. She has received state and national recognition for her efforts on environmental protection and social justice issues. She is a board member of Washington Crossing Audubon Society and advisor of Montgomery Friends of Open Space. She holds a BS in Communication and a Certificate of International Studies with a concentration in Latin America from Ohio University.
Maureen Tyler, Director of Volunteer Recruitment
Maureen Tyler, nicknamed Mauri, joined CASA in 2018. Mauri has worked with volunteers her entire career. She spent the first part of her career as a Certified Therapeutic Recreational Specialist (CTRS) providing and managing recreation services in health care settings. She pioneered bringing recreation services into hospice care. The next part of her career was devoted to community work as Program Director for the Princeton Senior Resource Center. Mauri holds a BS in Education from Utah State University, as well as graduate work in Therapeutic Recreation from San Francisco State University and Montclair State University. She has music training in drum circle facilitation and is endorsed by Remo Drum Company as a HealthRhythms Facilitator. She leads drumming for Princeton Adult School and Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and plays guitar.
Brittany Bayo, Administrative Assistant
Brittany Bayo joined CASA in 2017 after spending nearly 10 years providing overall business support to owners, managers and CEOs in roles of increased responsibility. Brittany holds an AS in Business Administration and International Business from Mercer County Community College. She is currently pursuing a BA in Business. She is also a Court Appointed Special Advocate in her second year of speaking up for the children we serve. In addition to her volunteer work with CASA Brittany has also been involved with the English School at Westminster Presbyterian Church as a tutor and teacher’s assistant in Trenton for the past two years.
Jillian Bonacci, Advocate Supervisor (Mercer)
Jillian Bonacci joined CASA in 2009. Before coming to CASA, Jillian was a casework supervisor at Clarion County Children and Youth Services in Pennsylvania for three years. Since 2012, Jillian has guided young adults through the Aging Out Program to prepare them for their futures after foster care by providing resources, information and inspiration. Since 2013, she has trained CASA volunteers in Fostering Futures which provides a framework to guide older youth through intensive goal setting and planning for emancipation. Since 2012, Jillian has also trained CASA volunteers in Aging Out, a plan for a child 16 years of age to help him/her prepare for independence.She holds a BS in Rehabilitative Science with a concentration in Substance Abuse from Clarion University.
Harry T. Cassidy, Advocate Recruiter (Burlington)
Harry Cassidy joined CASA in March 2015. Prior to this, Harry worked in the New Jersey Judiciary as Assistant Director at the Administrative Office of the Courts, Family Practice Division. Harry served for 38 years in the judiciary as a probation officer, program director and as the manager of the Burlington County Family Division of the Superior Court before moving to the Administrative Office as a manager and Assistant Director. In his capacity as assistant director, among other responsibilities, he supported the expansion of CASA throughout the state. He continues to serves on the NJ Council on Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement, and is a volunteer mediator in the Family Division in Burlington County. Harry holds a AB from Villanova University in Sociology and an MA in Sociology from Pennsylvania State University.
Jill Duffy, Advocate Recruiter (Mercer)
Jill Duffy joined CASA as an advocate recruiter in 2015. Prior to joining CASA, Jill was a family law attorney for 20 years as an associate for Carol Oswald, Esq., law clerk to the Honorable F. Lee Forester and the Honorable Anthony J. Parrillo with Mercer County Family Court. Jill has handled pro bono parental rights cases, as well as divorces, custody, and domestic violence cases involving the well-being of children. Her many years of experience working in the child’s best interests reinforces the critical role of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) in the family court system. Jill holds a BA in Philosophy from Dickinson College and a JD from California Western School of Law.
Krystal Gold, MSW, LSW, Advocate Supervisor (Mercer)
Krystal Gold joined CASA in 2016. Prior to this, Krystal gained experience through working for the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) NJ Chapter, as a social work graduate student intern. As an undergraduate at Rutgers University School of Social Work, Krystal was a research assistant for the Institute for Families, New Jersey Child Welfare Training Partnership. At the partnership, she assisted in the research and development of child welfare training for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P). She also has several years of experience in domestic violence advocacy and intervention as a caseworker for a domestic violence shelter. Krystal holds a BA in Social Work from Rutgers University and an MA in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a NJ State Licensed Social Worker with certificates in Domestic Violence, National Institute of Health (NIH) – International Review Board (IRB) Human Subjects and Social Work Leadership Development. She holds leadership positions through National Association of Social Workers (NASW) -NJ Chapter as the Somerset/Hunterdon County Unit Leader and as an active member on their Legislative Advocacy and Social Action (LASA) Committee.
Simone A. Jarvis, Advocate Supervisor (Burlington)
Simone Jarvis joined CASA in 2017. Prior to joining CASA, Simone taught life skills to children through media and television production. Simone also worked for Target Corporation in developing projects to raise money and visibility for national non-profit organizations. She holds a BA in Marketing from The Art Institute of Philadelphia and is currently pursuing her MS in Social Work at Rutgers University.
Lisa Oros, Advocate Supervisor (Mercer)
Lisa Oros joined CASA in 2005. Before joining CASA she worked as a trainer for Foster and Adoptive Family Services conducting information sessions for prospective foster parents and developing in-service trainings for active foster parents. Lisa has been a member of the LGBTQI Youth Committee since 2013, as well as a member of the Mercer County Gang Prevention and Intervention Task Force. Lisa was one of the original trainers of Fostering Futures, a training designed to give advocates working with teens the tools to help them plan for for their future and navigate the transition to adulthood. She has developed and adapted many training programs to state-specific guidelines. She holds a BA in History from Douglass College, Rutgers University and a Certificate in Case Management from the School of Social Work, at Rutgers.
Jade Pollock, Advocate Supervisor (Burlington)
Jade Pollock joined CASA in October 2017. Before joining CASA, Jade worked as an Adoptive Coordinator navigating birth parents and adoptive parents through the adoption process. Jade was a case manager for a nonprofit program that provided in home services to at-risk pregnant women and children providing substance abuse and mental health counseling as well as high risk pregnancy counseling. Jade has worked with youth providing life skills for grades 3 through 6 and has also served as a trainer to license kinship homes for New Jersey. She also provided cultural competency training for organizations, worked in collaboration with early intervention programs in Southern New Jersey to increase the participation of qualified children, and worked closely with food banks, clinics, and domestic violence shelters to improve services to women and children. In addition, she also created guidelines for case management to ensure safety when in the field. Jade holds a BA in Public Relations from Temple University and an MPA in Nonprofit Management from American Public University.
Ines Ramirez, JD, Advocate Supervisor (Burlington)
Advocate Supervisor (Burlington) Ines Ramirez joined CASA in 2015. Prior to this, Ines worked for three years as a case supervisor for CASA of Camden County. Prior to relocating to New Jersey, Ines worked for a government program in her hometown of Ponce, Puerto Rico that encouraged underprivileged teenagers to participate in positive extra-curricular activities. She holds a JD from the Catholic University of Puerto Rico and a BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico. She has been involved with organizations dedicated to child well-being and social welfare for many years.