Our Staff

Laura Wall, Executive Director

Laura joined CASA in 2019. She brings three decades’ experience leading nonprofit organizations, including heading The Coalition Against Hunger, and Inter-Faith Housing Alliance in our region, and Aurora Rehabilitation Services in Harrisburg. Laura was the founding director of The Kids’ Center, serving at-risk children in Illinois. Her community involvement has included serving as a member of The Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission’s Task Force on Civil Tension, The North Penn Community Health Foundation board, Montgomery County Homelessness Prevention Committee, and as Chair of the North Penn CEO Roundtable.  She studied Philosophy at MacMurray College and holds a master’s certificate in Non Profit Executive Leadership from the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work. She developed and taught a course on community engagement at Drexel University, and is a past recipient of the Yaffe Smith Civil Rights Award for her work promoting interfaith understanding, and the Martin Luther King Service Award. An avid animal lover, Laura has also volunteered with PAWS animal rescue. She and her partner Jim live in Pennsylvania.

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.

Dana Schyman, Development Manager

Dana joins CASA with 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, project management, business development, and fundraising. Most recently, she was with the Swedish School for Children DC/MD/VA, a nonprofit organization. Prior to that, she worked as a business development and liaison manager for International Professional Congress Organizers (PCO) specializing in conferences and exhibitions. Dana has a BA in Psychology and Management and completed the Fundraising and Development program at the University of California, Davis.

 

Program Staff

Gina Balsamo, Advocate Supervisor (Burlington); Youth Service Program Manager

Gina has been an Advocate with CASA for nearly four years and in 2018 joined the staff after being motivated during her time as a Peer Coach to share her passion for CASA’s mission with even more volunteers.  Gina is also the manager of CASA’s new Youth Services program, expanding support to local young people aging out of the foster care system.

For the past decade she has volunteered in multiple capacities to help children in her community. Most recently, she spent several years working within her school district to recruit, train, and schedule hundreds of volunteers to participate in programming for students in preschool through eighth grade.

Previously, Gina was a Pretrial Services Officer for the Washington D.C. Pretrial Services Agency. She received both her MS in Justice, Law, and Society and her BA in Law and Society from American University.   

William Bastedo, M.A., MAS, Advocate Supervisor (Mercer)

Bill joined CASA as a volunteer advocate in August 2018 and continues to advocate for the child to whom he was assigned. Before joining CASA, Bill worked as a Family Service Specialist Trainee for the Division of Child Protection and Permanency for seven months. Prior to this, Bill worked for 27.5 years as a Law Enforcement Officer for the West Windsor Township Police Department and the Princeton University Department of Public Safety. Bill reached the rank of Lieutenant at West Windsor before retiring at the end of 2012.

During his law enforcement career, Bill specialized in community programs, police training, and law enforcement accreditation. In 2007, Bill began his part-time career with Penn Medicine Princeton Health as a Community Wellness instructor. Bill continues to work for Penn Medicine Princeton Health, teaching Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), First Aid, and Women’s Self-Defense.

Bill earned a Master of Arts degree in Human Services Administration from Rider University in 1996, and a Masters in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016. He is an active New Jersey Licensed Resource Parent and board member of the New Jersey Public Safety Accreditation Coalition.

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 serve on the NJ Council on Juvenile Justice Systems Improvement, and is a volunteer mediator in the Family Division in Burlington County. Harry holds a BA from Villanova University in Sociology and an MA in Sociology from Pennsylvania State University.

Marisa Gilmore, Advocate Recruiter (Mercer)

Marisa joined CASA in 2023, bringing with her 20 years of experience working with volunteers and non-profits, including seven as a CASA advocate herself. In 2013, Marisa was a recipient of the Young Altruistic Professional award from the United Way of Ocean County in recognition of her work in Toms River and Seaside Heights following the devastation of Super Storm Sandy. She holds a BA in psychology from Thomas Edison State University. Born and raised in Trenton, Marisa is proud to be serving the children of Mercer County in her role as Advocate Recruiter.

 

Dashira John, Advocate Supervisor (Burlington and Mercer)

Dashira is a 2020 graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a major in Criminal Justice and a minor in Social Work. She joined CASA in 2024. While she initially aspired to become a family lawyer, she discovered her passion for empowering others while serving as a Senior Case Manager for an Employability Program in Burlington County. With a proven track record of assisting individuals in overcoming barriers to employment and reclaiming their independence, Dashira’s focus is on making a difference in the lives of children facing adversity. She is dedicated to championing their rights and fostering positive change within the community.

 

Lisa Oros, Senior 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 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.

Ines Ramirez, JD, Senior 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.

Tara Rizzolo, Data Manager (Mercer)

Prior to joining CASA in 2021, Tara Rizzolo was the Director of Support Services at Embrella, formerly Foster and Adoptive Family Services, where she worked closely with staff and resource parent volunteers to provide support and advocacy services to foster, adoptive and kinship families throughout New Jersey. She also worked as the Director of Scholarship Programs for 3 years overseeing the New Jersey Foster Care Scholars Program which provides post-secondary educational assistance to youth who experienced foster care. Tara previously served on New Jersey Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect – Protection Committee and the Resource Parent Retention Task Force with the Department of Children and Families Office of Resource Families. She earned her M.S. Ed in Counseling and Personnel Services from Fordham University and her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Brooklyn College.

    Tiffany Rozelle, Advocate Supervisor (Burlington)

Tiffany Rozelle came to CASA in 2022 after several years with Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton. Her most recent role was Director of Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Burlington County, and previously spent time as Advocacy Services Supervisor (Ocean and Burlington Counties), Domestic Violence Liaison to the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (Burlington County) and Domestic Violence Response Team Specialist (Burlington County). Tiffany values partnership building with the Family Division of Burlington County Superior Court and the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.  In her time at both Providence House and in Syracuse, NY with Visions for Change, Tiffany gained experience preparing volunteers for service to their communities and supporting them in their work. Tiffany holds a BA in Human Development from Washington State University.

   Teresa Vasquez Fredes  Advocate Supervisor (Mercer)

Teresa joined CASA in April 2024. She grew up in Chile where she developed a deep-rooted passion for social justice and community service. This led her to pursue a law degree from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Teresa has held several leadership positions in Techo Chile, a non-profit that strives to tackle poverty in its multidimensional aspects. Fluent in English and Spanish, Teresa is dedicated to bridging cultural divides and ensuring equitable access to justice for all. Teresa is honored to contribute to CASA’s mission.