Rosana Gonzalez, Executive Director
Rosana Gonzalez has been a part of the CASA Jefferson team since March 2008. She began as an Advocate Supervisor and soon after moved to the position of Program Coordinator, where she supported other staff members in a supervisory capacity. In May of 2014, Rosana was promoted to Director of Programs. She oversaw the recruitment, training and retention of Advocates as well as oversees all of the children’s projects. In November 2014, Rosana became the Executive Director for CASA Jefferson, Inc. Rosana’s primary goal as the Executive Director is to be able to serve all of the children appointed by the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court Judges and together improve child outcomes. Originally from California, Rosana became one of the first in her family to graduate from college. She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Sociology from the California State University at Stanislaus in 2006.
It is through her studies as a Sociology student that Rosana was further exposed to the social service field and the passion for volunteerism and advocacy. Rosana worked as an ESL instructor and a Citizenship Class Instructor for Stanislaus Literacy Center, a non-profit in her hometown. Furthermore, she served one year as an AmeriCorps members for that same non-profit, assisting with community awareness and volunteer recruitment. In September of 2006, Rosana married and moved to Kenner, Louisiana. She worked as a Program Coordinator for Operation Reach, Inc., where she worked with at risk youth in the Greater New Orleans Area. Rosana and her husband have two young daughters.
Wendy Magee, Director of Operations
Wendy joined CASA Jefferson as an Advocate Supervisor in 2008. She received the Louisiana CASA Staff Member of the Year award in 2011 for her dedication to her advocates and Jefferson Parish children. In 2013, she became a Data Supervisor in addition to her Advocate Supervisor role. In 2014, she was promoted to Director of Operations; in this role, she oversees all financial and programmatic data. Additionally, Wendy facilitates Darkness to Light trainings, which educates adults about the prevention of child sexual abuse. Wendy has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Wiley College in Marshall, Texas and a Master’s Degree in Human Services from Lubbock Christian University. Wendy has two young children and enjoys serving as a Youth Leader with her husband at their church.
Kanitra Caston-Hill, Director of Development & Communications, CNP
A native New Orleanian, Kanitra joined the CASA Jefferson family in April 2016. She brings more than ten years of social service experience to bear in her new position with CASA Jefferson. Kanitra worked at New Beginnings School Foundation as a Special Programs Coordinator where she managed multiple educational programs, including adult literacy, financial literacy and after-school programs. Managing these programs included marketing, hiring and training of staff, student recruitment, operations management, and data management. Kanitra has worked with corporate organizations and community groups to keep them engaged in local schools. Kanitra is a Certified Nonprofit Professional who received a bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from Southern University at New Orleans and is scheduled to receive a Masters of Science degree in Nonprofit Administration this fall. She enjoys spending quality time with her young son.
Margaret Wilson Ether, Advocate Recruiter
Margaret official joined CASA Jefferson as an Advocate Recruiter April 2016. Before joining the CASA Jefferson team, she worked with CASA Jefferson and CASA New Orleans as an Ameri-Corp Vista Team Member. During this time, she researched volunteer retention strategies, found ways to increase recruitment, examined and recorded case data on children served by CASA for in community awareness and advocacy campaigns. In May of 2014, Margaret received her Masters of Social Work from Southern University at New Orleans. At SUNO, Margaret was honored with the Dr. Leetta Allen-Hayes Award for Academic Honors. She is an alumni of Our Lady of Holy Cross College receiving a Bachelors of Arts in Human Services. Margaret is a dedicated and loving mother of 3 sons. During her time off, she enjoys spending quality time with her grandchildren and great-grandson.
Maria Cortes, Trainer
Maria has been a part of CASA Jefferson since 2014. She started as a social work intern while attending Southeastern Louisiana University studying for a bachelors degree in Social Work. She received her B.S. in December 2014. Since then, she became an advocate and volunteered with CASA Jefferson’s children’s projects such as Candles of Hope, Annual Holiday Party and Toy Drive. Maria is currently working on a Masters in Human Services from Lubbock Christian University. Originally from Stanton, Texas, Maria moved to Terrytown, LA in 2007 where she settled down and started a family. She is married to Carlos Cortes and have a son, Carlos Jr. Maria enjoys spending time with her family and taking road trips to different parts of the country.
Beverly Johnson, Program Assistant
Beverly has worked as CASA Jefferson’s Program Assistant for 11 years, providing administrative support to staff, Advocates, and potential Advocates. In May 1991, Beverly earned an Associate’s degree in Computer Information Technology. Her professional background is in the secretarial field, and she takes pride working in an occupation where she can provide support to others; this “quiet hero” attitude earned her the 2008 Louisiana CASA Association Staff Member of the Year Award. Beverly leads the CASA Jefferson Book Club, a group of book loving Advocates who read and discuss books focused on issues about child welfare. She was born and grew up in Marrero, Louisiana and enjoys singing in church choirs, spending time with her three children, and staying prayerful.
Debbie Batiste-Mack, Advocate Coordinator
Debbie has served as a Senior Program Coordinator since July 2006. Before joining the CASA Jefferson team, she worked at the Jefferson Parish District Attorney’s Office for 14 years, the majority of which was as a Victim Advocate, the first line of defense for victims of domestic violence. Concurrently, she worked at Covenant House of New Orleans as a Resident Advisor for at risk youth. Before becoming a Victim Advocate, Debbie worked in the Juvenile Prosecution Unit and with the Juvenile Diversion Program. Currently, Debbie serves as a member of the Jefferson Parish Alliance of Concerned Citizens. She enjoys supporting her husband’s ministry in the Lower Ninth Ward community, ￼￼spending time with their five children and seven grandchildren, and traveling.
Ramona Graham, Advocate Coordinator
A native of the Greater New Orleans area, Ramona has been proudly serving children for 14 years. After studying Psychology and Sociology at the University of New Orleans, Ramona became a Probation Officer with the Jefferson Parish Juvenile Probation Department and then as a New Orleans Police Officer. In 2006, Ramona continued to pursue her passion for helping others by joining the CASA Jefferson team. In addition to supervising advocates, Ramona also serves as a Darkness to Light Stewards of Children Facilitator and has taken the lead on many of CASA’s Children’s Projects, including our annual school supply and holiday toy drives. In 2014, Ramona was awarded the Louisiana CASA Program Staff Member of the Year for her commitment to children and volunteers.
Malik Rigard, Advocate Coodinator
Malik is a Los Angeles, CA native, who received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice at California State University Sacramento in 2007, and his Master’s Degree in Public Administration at California State University Dominguez Hills in 2010. Before his cross-country move, Malik worked as a guidance counselor at Southwest Los Angeles Community College in the Disabled Students Programs & Services Department. He also worked with the mayor of Los Angeles and the “Summer Night Lights Program”, developed for the purpose of hiring and training at-risk teens and young adults who were involved or at risk of involvement with gang activity. In 2012, he was given the opportunity to continue to serve students in his grandparent’s ancestral home of New Orleans at Xavier University and University of New Orleans. Malik is a member of the Knights of Peter Claver, a Catholic lay organization, and the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., where he intends to devote time and support in preparing young men for college admission and their passage into adulthood.