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.

 

 

 

Keith Loper is the Program Director of CASA of Trinity Valley and a former rodeo announcer. Keith has advocated for children throughout his career and found his calling through CASA. 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.  For Keith, the most rewarding part of being a CASA advocate is seeing the real difference we make in the lives of the children we serve.  Keith can be contacted at casakeith@casaoftv.org.

 

 

 

Penny LaPlant is a full-time Casework Supervisor/Trainer 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.

 

 

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 is the Resource Development Officer for CASA of Trinity Valley.  Angela and her husband moved from Houston to Athens in 2011, put down roots and adopted 2 dogs and 4 cats (depending on whether they've brought in another stray).  Angela is interested in all things crafty and a firm believer in the sentiment that "more is more!".  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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Jessica Neill was born and raised in Athens before going to college in Belton, Texas at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She graduated in May 2019 with a Bachelors degree in Social Work and a minor in Psychology. During her senior year of college, Jessica had a Medical Social Work internship with McLane Children’s Specialty Clinic for 9 months, where she worked with a range of patients from a few days old to early twenties, strengthening her abilities to assess needs and provide care for others. She has a strong passion for children in need, and finds great joy in helping others. Jessica was a CASA intern during the summer of 2018 when she found her calling to work in this field.  Jessica joined our staff in August 2019 as a Casework Supervisor and can be reached at casajessica@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.

 

 

Angela Raiborn is a part time Casework Supervisor  in Cherokee county. She lives in Rusk with her husband, three children, cats, dogs, goats, chickens, ducks and a bird.  Together, she and her husband have owned and operated a nine-hole golf course for more than 25 years.   Angela has also served as Rusk Mayor since 2007 and on numerous boards including the East Texas Council of Governments, Tree of Promise Board, Chamber of Commerce and Rusk Main Street Board.  Angela has served as a CASA volunteer and loves being able to work at a job that she is very passionate about.  She considers her work with CASA to be one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs that one could have.  She can be contacted at angela@casaoftv.org.

 

 

Becky Derrington began as a CASA volunteer in February 2019 and joined our Cherokee county staff as a part-time Casework Supervisor in July. Becky has lived in Cherokee county most of her life and worked as a Licensed Vocational Nurse for 16 years.  In addition to her role at CASA Trinity Valley, she continues to work in pediatric home health caring for special needs children.  Becky has two adult sons and two grandchildren she adores.  Becky was drawn to become a CASA volunteer due to her own brief childhood experience in foster care.  During her time as an advocate, Becky discovered her passion for the work and her love of children deepened her resolve to do even more.  She feels so blessed for the opportunity to serve and support the volunteers and children of Cherokee county and can be reached at casabecky@casaoftv.org.