Greg Thompson, Executive Director
Greg and his wife, Tess, came to Southeast Texas in 2009, following his “first career” in the non-profit world with established organizations like the American Cancer Society and Boy Scouts of America. After a brief stint as Director of Development for a small private college, Greg took a leadership role with a start-up relationship education initiative based at the University of Kentucky while he was enrolled in graduate school. Bluegrass Healthy Marriages Partnership, as it was originally known, was funded through federal HHS grants amounting to more than $1 million that Greg authored. Since moving to the region, he has been employed in administration and teaching capacities at Lamar University in Beaumont, and most recently, McNeese State University in Lake Charles. CASA staff based in Beaumont routinely visited his classes to speak about work with children living in fragile environments, which Greg says always moved him emotionally. Finally being persuaded he could not put off any longer the need to get involved, in 2011 he followed through, and participated in the training necessary to begin working with his first child. Greg holds degrees in Family Studies, Human Services, and Journalism, and has earned the Certified Family Life Educator credential from the National Council on Family Relations. On a personal level, he is father to an adult son who resides in Kentucky, and his wife Tess is a nurse employed with a dialysis facility. Greg strongly embraces his Appalachian roots, often introducing himself as the grandson of coal miners on both his mom’s side and his dad’s side, and crediting the resolve of his parents as instilling in him an intense drive to learn and to care for people. Some find it interesting that both of Greg’s parents were raised in the area of Appalachia famous for the Hatfields and McCoys feud–his mom, from the Hatfield side of the river (Mingo County, WV), and his dad from the McCoy side (Pike County, KY).
Cori Davila, Advocate Coordinator and Fostering Futures Coordinator
Cori Davila is an Advocate Coordinator who also coordinates our Fostering Futures program. She began as a fierce volunteer Advocate and was heavily involved with Fostering Futures the minute she signed on as a volunteer. We are so excited to have Cori’s passion and experience boosting our Fostering Futures program and are excited for her vision for Fostering Futures.
Cori has always been lead to work with children. She started working as an early childhood learning teacher as soon as she graduated from high school, while studying for a degree in Social Work. After graduating from Lee College she worked as a certified Pre-k teacher and tutored the 4th through 8th grades, after school while attending University of Houston, Clear Lake. Cori began working as a tutor for low-income high school students under the No Child Left Behind Act, before joining the CASA Family in 2015. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and considers all the kids she works with as part of her family.
Gracie Sellers, Administrative Assistant
Gracie was an advocate with CASA before taking a couple years off to fight and win a tough battle with breast cancer. She attributes the cure to God and many praying friends. She has been cancer free for two years.
She is the Mother of 3 daughters and the very proud grandmother of 5 grandchildren ranging in age from 1 to 19.
Gracie and her husband have been married 24 years and reside in Dayton. After traveling around the country with his job for several years, they decided it was time to be home so he retired and they enjoy just being home and having friends and family over for bbq’s and fish fries.
When the opportunity to return to CASA as the Admin Assistant, Gracie jumped in with both feet. She loves greeting special Advocates when they come in to the office and talking with people about the great things our Volunteers are doing and what a great need we are trying to fill. When talking to and listening to her, it is easy to hear the passion she has for CASA’s role in helping the children in CPS’s system.
Most days when you walk into the office the first thing you see will be Gracie’s smiling face and she will be sure to make you feel welcome.
Karen Foyil, Advocate Coordinator
Karen began as an advocate with CASA for two years, where she found another passion in the Collaborative Family Engagement program, and began working with Kathy Dagle in this arena. She has now taken on the roll of being an Advocate Coordinator for CASA.
Karen worked for many years in the Public School System, five years with the Head Start Early Childhood Program, and has been heavily involved in ministry for over 25 years. She has been a children’s pastor, youth pastor and with women’s ministry. Currently, she is a teacher and a member of the Board of Directors for House of Destiny, a non-profit substance abuse recovery program for women. She is the founder of Breath of Life Ministries, a ministry for women and families, and works closely with Heart of a Woman Ministries Intl. Karen is also pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Counseling with Westcoast Bible College and Seminary.
“My passion and desire to work with children and families was wrapped up in one beautiful package when I found CASA”.
Karen and her husband Kenneth reside in Saratoga, Texas, and together have 5 children, 11 grandchildren and counting….All of which are their pride and joy.
Karen Kernohan, Advocate Coordinator
Karen was an outstanding fierce Advocate for three years before joining the CASA Team. She previously worked in an Elementary school for 12 years, then went into retail, becoming a manager for Sears for nine years.
Karen was born in Houston, Texas. Her father was in the insurance industry, and the family moved to Puerto Rico for four years, then Alabama for seven years before moving back to Texas.
Karen has a very supportive husband, three great children, and two wonderful grandchildren. She loves spending time with her grandchildren and family, and enjoys being outside, working in the yard or sitting on a beach.
Karen states, “I have always wanted to do some form of social work and then I heard about the CASA program. I knew right then that this was what I wanted to do. I have been a volunteer for about three years. When the opportunity to work for CASA and become and Advocate Coordinator was offered to me, I was so excited.”
Kathy Dagle, Collaborative Family Engagement Coordinator
Kathy Dagle became involved with CASA Liberty/Chambers Counties in February 2011 as a volunteer Advocate; she joined the CASA staff in 2012 as an Advocate Coordinator, before moving to the position of Senior Advocate Coordinator.
Kathy received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Lamar University and was a teacher of junior high Science for six years. She then transferred to the alternative program for Gulf Coast Education Consortium, where she taught all levels of Science. After earning her Master’s Degree in Education from Stephen F. Austin University, Kathy became the principal of GCEC and remained in that position until her retirement in 2010.
Kathy currently resides in Liberty, Texas with her husband of 39 years, David. They are the proud parents of three sons and nine grandchildren.
Nancy Pigford, Advocate Coordinator
Nancy Pigford, is the mother of four children, the grandmother of eleven grandchildren (including four foster grandchildren) and the great-grandmother of a granddaughter. She was a very busy, stay at home Mom until her youngest was 12 years old. Nancy then owned and operated a popular country store in the Tarkington area for sixteen years. After selling the store she learned to quilt and became a CASA volunteer, her two passions, after her family.
Nancy gained valuable experience as a volunteer Advocate for three years prior to joining the CASA of Liberty/Chamber Counties staff as an Advocate Coordinator.
Terri St. John, Advocate Coordinator
Terri St. John had felt a pull towards becoming an Advocate for CASA for several years and finally found the perfect opportunity to get involved so she joined CASA as an Advocate in January, 2017. On September 1, 2017, she became a part-time Advocate Coordinator and now supervises twelve CASA cases. Terri has a B.A. in Literature and her background included teaching, insurance and selling real estate. Working with CASA is by far the most rewarding “job” she has ever done.
Terri has two grown children and six wonderful grandchildren, including three adopted granddaughters. Fortunately, they all live close by and she gets to see them often. Terri attends First United Methodist Church in Mont Belvieu and enjoys quilting, reading, and watching movies in her spare time.
Terry Patterson, Program Director
Terry Patterson joined CASA as the Administrative Assistant after 18 years of staying home and raising her children. Terry resides in Dayton and is enjoying the small town life again. She has two grown children and two grandchildren, and is a member of Crosby Church. Terry has always had a special place in her heart for children. She spent many hours volunteering at her children’s schools and was a member of the P.T.O board of directors.
After raising her children, Terry attended Lee College and received an Associate’s Degree in Health Information.
After eight months of enjoying learning about CASA as the Administrative Assistant and helping facilitate the office running efficiently, Terry was promoted to Advocate Coordinator. Terry is excited to be able to be more involved in helping not only the children, but also to work with the parents to see if she could help to reunite them with their children.
Ashton White, Resource Development Coordinator
Ashton White joined the CASA of Liberty/Chambers Counties team in August 2017 as the Resource Development Coordinator. She is also one of our fierce Advocates that volunteers for CASA on her spare time.
Ashton graduated from Le Tourneau University in 2011 with a B.S. in Early Childhood Education. In 2013 she graduated from Le Tourneau University with a Master’s Degree in Education Administration and Curriculum & Instruction. She also is a state certified teacher and taught in the school system for six years before joining CASA.
Ashton grew up in Mont Belvieu and graduated from Barbers Hill High School in 2004. She is married to Clint and they have a two-year old daughter who is the love of their life.
Ashton states, ” I have always been for the child since being in Education, but CASA has opened a whole new opportunity for me to now work for the child.”
Kristal Smith, Recruitment & Community Awareness Coordinator
Kristal Smith has joined CASA as the Recruitment and Community Awareness Coordinator. After working in the oil and gas industry for over ten years she decided to become a stay at home mom in 2017. It’s something God laid on her heart to pursue; her only regret is she didn’t do it sooner. She has attended several mission trips to Mexico with her church family where they built homes for families in need. In attending these missions’ trips they visited orphanages where she learned working with children is her first passion. She also meet a friend while attending these missions trips who was a CASA advocate and fell in love with CASA’s mission. She knew then she wanted to become a volunteer and help give a child a chance, by giving them a voice.
Kristal is married to Clayton Smith and together they have three sons. On the weekends they enjoy spending time with family and friends, taking their boys to sports activities, or going to the movies.
Kristal states, “Coming on board and joining the team at CASA is truly a blessing and honor. I love working with children and they deserve to be loved and fought for. Becoming an advocate I can ensure their voice is heard and their hearts are healed.”
Sandra Tilton, Training Coordinator
Sandra Tilton began with CASA Liberty/Chambers Counties in January, 2017 as Training Coordinator. She has served in various capacities at churches in the Mont Belvieu area such as Ladies Coordinator, Small Group Leader and Teacher, Children Director, and Sunday School teacher.
Sandra started a nonprofit academy for children from ages 6 months – 5 years old. She served as the Director from 2008-2015. She received the Barbers Hill Distinguished Alumni in 2015. She retired from education after 30 years in education as an administrator and teacher.
Sandra graduated from Lamar University in 1969 with a BS in Home Economics. In 1984 she graduated from University of Houston/Clear Lake with a Masters in Mid-Management. She earned certification as an elementary teacher along the way and completed 18 hours above her Masters with a Superintendant Certification as well.
Sandra was born in Arkansas and moved to the Mont Belvieu area as a child. She is married to Chris and they have three daughters, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Her favorite volunteer endeavors were leading Ladies Retreats for several years and mentoring in BHISD.
Sandra states, “Being part of this organization has been so refreshing because everyone is working for children who need a chance to have a better life. I have never met so many people who are willing to give of their time and talents to help children. It has been an honor to work with and train such dedicated people.”