Meet the CASA Staff

Emily Heglund is the executive director of CASA of Trinity Valley and believes in the power of advocacy to change children’s lives. She is a former CASA board member, volunteer advocate and foster parent. After spending nearly 10 years working in the newspaper industry, Emily decided to devote herself full time to CASA, and she moved her family from coastal Georgia to her hometown of Athens, Texas, to work in resource development for CASA of Trinity Valley. She was asked to serve as executive director in 2016 and is excited to carry on her program’s legacy of fierce advocacy for children. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree in News-Editorial Journalism from Texas Christian University. She can be reached at casaemily@casaoftv.org.

 

Vickie Sussen has been with CASA since 1995, when she went through the first volunteer training class.  She was then hired as a part-time Casework Supervisor in 1996.  She was promoted to Program Director due to her skills in working with volunteers, helping them sharpen their skills in advocating for children, facilitating them through the foster care system. To contact Vickie, email her at casavickie@casaoftv.org

 

 

Keith Loper is a full-time Casework Supervisor in Henderson County and a former rodeo announcer. Keith has advocated for children throughout his career. He came to CASA in June 2012 and has since dedicated himself to serving the children of Henderson County and the volunteers that directly serve them. Keith can be contacted at casakeith@casaoftv.org.

 

 

Penny LaPlant is a full-time Casework Supervisor in Henderson County. Penny has a background in estimating, sales order coordinating and internal auditing. She has completed training in Trauma Through the Lens of Development, Trauma Informed Care and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as well as PRIDE parenting classes.  After a 6 ½ year respite to care for her three granddaughters, Penny decided to restart her career and joined the CASA team aspiring to give back to the community in which she lives. She can be contacted at casapenny@casaoftv.org.

 

Jan Jones is a part-time Casework Supervisor in Henderson County. Jan joined CASA as a volunteer in 2007. She previously volunteered in several child mentoring programs in the Athens area and felt led to join CASA to support a more long-term positive impact for children in need. Jan previously worked for a local telecommunications provider. Jan and her husband, Larry, live in Henderson County and have two children and seven grandchildren. She can be contacted at casajan@casaoftv.org.

 

Kim Johnson - Kim Johnson is a full-time Casework Supervisor in Henderson County, where she married and raised her family.   Kim has been with CASA for 22 years, alternating between volunteer status and staff.  Her commitment to supporting our stellar volunteers, and fierce advocacy for abused and neglected children runs deep.  Kim lives with her husband of 35 years, Steve, plus one dog, one cat, and three horses.  They have two children and four grandchildren. Contact Kim at casakim@casaoftv.org.

 

Angela Hinojosa joined CASA in November 2017 as the Office & Events Manager.  Angela and her husband moved to Athens in 2011, put down roots and never want to move again!  They have 2 dogs and 4 cats (depending on whether they've brought in another stray) and are reformed city slickers from Houston.  Angela is interested in all things crafty and a firm believer in the sentiment that "more is more!".  She always has at least 2 or 3 projects going at any time and has a tendency to embellish anything she deems "too plain."  Angela’s concern for fosters (children and animals alike) drew her to CASA, where she is excited to be part of making a difference in the lives of children in need.  She can be contacted at casaangela@casaoftv.org.

 

Ellen Torres is a Volunteer Recruiter/Trainer working primarily in Anderson and Cherokee counties. She has multiple degrees in education, human services counseling and educational administration and became a CASA advocate in 2014.  Ellen recruits and trains new advocates for CASA of Trinity Valley, tirelessly working with volunteers to ensure they are prepared and confident in their role as child advocates.  Even after training is complete, Ellen remains a fantastic resource and support for our volunteers.  She can be reached at casaellen@casaoftv.org.

 

Lee McCain Brown is a part-time Casework Supervisor in Anderson County. She was raised in Palestine and married her high school sweetheart. They have one child and the most precious granddaughter ever! Lee retired from teaching and counseling after 32 years in Texas public schools.  Lee is a beloved member of her community and has touched the lives of many through her work.  She was a member of the CASA board of directors before becoming a Casework Supervisor several years ago. Lee can be contacted at lee@casaoftv.org.

 

Donna Parks is a full-time Casework Supervisor in Cherokee County. After working in the criminal justice system for about 16 years and working as a drug and alcohol counselor for 23 years, she decided she needed a change. Donna moved back to Jacksonville in 2016 and applied to work with CASA. She is excited to be working in the community where she was born and raised and to be able to help the children and volunteers in Cherokee County. Donna can be contacted at casadonna@casaoftv.org.

 

Donna Crockett is a part-time Casework Supervisor in Anderson County.  She is the mother of two amazing teenage boys who keep her on her toes, along with their 2 dogs and a cat. Donna and her fiancé have lived on a cattle ranch near Maydelle for the past 3 years.  When she isn’t working cows or going to the sale barn, her hobbies include reading, fishing and just being outdoors. Donna has been a volunteer for CASA of Trinity Valley in Cherokee County and is excited to join the staff in Anderson County. She is looking forward to working with all of the volunteers who give of themselves so freely to the children we serve.  Donna can be reached at donnacrockett@casaoftv.org.

 

 Jane Maloney is excited to be a part time CASA of Trinity Valley casework supervisor in Anderson County.   Jane grew up in Tyler and attended Robert E. Lee High School.  She graduated from Sam Houston State University and was a public school teacher for 26 years. Her decision to retire from teaching led her to CASA, where she hopes to be a voice for children in need.  It is her desire to help provide the children we serve with an opportunity to excel in life and meet their goals while being nurtured in a safe environment.  Jane can be reached at casajane@casaoftv.org.

 

Brittany Irby worked in the medical field for the past 6 years as a Receptionist and Insurance/Billing Specialist. She was born and raised in Henderson County. Brittany and her husband have 3 kiddos that keep them busy all the time. She likes doing crafts, photography, and listening to music, and has been a volunteer for her local fire department for 8 years.  Brittany is a Casework Supervisor in Henderson county and can be reached at casabrittany@casaoftv.org.Brittany Irby worked in the medical field for the past 6 years as a Receptionist and Insurance/Billing Specialist. She was born and raised in Henderson County. Brittany and her husband have 3 kiddos that keep them busy all the time. She likes doing crafts, photography, and listening to music, and has been a volunteer for her local fire department for 8 years.  Brittany is a Casework Supervisor in Henderson county and can be reached at casabrittany@casaoftv.org.