CASA Jefferson Staff
- Training Coordinator
Wanda Smith, Training Coordinator
Wanda joined the CASA Jefferson family in April 2018 and currently serves as the Training Coordinator for potential volunteer advocates. Wanda started working with CASA Jefferson as advocate volunteer. Her first case involved advocating for two of the sisters who were placed in two different foster care homes. With a lot of hard work, perseverance, and dedication from all parties involved, the case ended with the sisters being successfully reunited with their mother. Wanda is a passionate advocate for families and she strongly believes that every child should have a safe, nurturing, and permanent home.
Prior to joining the CASA family, Wanda worked for AT&T as a manager for over 30 years. During her career at AT&T, she held several leadership positions which involved managing and training employees. Wanda retired from AT&T in 2017. Wanda was born and raised in New Orleans. She enjoys cooking, reading, traveling and spending time with her grandchildren
- 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
- Advocate Coordinator
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.
- Advocate Coordinator
Malik Rigard, Advocate Coordinator
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.
- Advocate Coordinator
Brittney Bergeron, Advocate Coordinator
Brittney Bergeron originally joined the CASA Jefferson Team in 2009 until 2013 as an Advocate Supervisor. In 2013, she started working for the Jefferson Children’s Advocacy Center as the Forensic Interviewer and MDT Coordinator. During her time at the CAC, she interviewed children who disclosed physical and/or sexual abuse allegations or children who witnessed any violent crimes. Those forensic interviews were then used as evidence in criminal proceedings against offenders. In her time at the CAC, she conducted over 1400 Forensic Interviews.
She rejoined CASA Jefferson as an Advocate Coordinator in August of 2018. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a minor in Communication Studies from Louisiana State University in 2007. In 2009, she received a Master of Arts in Psychology from Southeastern Louisiana University. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and her 2 dogs, Coby and Calvin. She is a huge animal lover and enjoys assisting with adoption events with the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter, when time permits. She is also actively involved with the Louisiana Kids Organization, a non-profit whose mission is to promote the God-given talents of children from the age of 3 – senior in high school. Children and animals are very important to her, as both are very vulnerable, do not have a voice and need someone to speak up for them. That is part of the reason she feels so strongly about the mission of CASA Jefferson and is so excited to be a part of this team again.
- Executive Director, CASA Jefferson
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.
- Director of Operations
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
- Advocate Coordinator
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.