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Who We Are

Board & Staff

Meet Our Staff:

  • Executive Director
    Melanie has been with CASA NETN since January 2017, first as the Unicoi County Program Coordinator then moving in to the Executive Director role in 2022. A graduate of Milligan College, Melanie has dedicated her career to non-profit service and particularly sought opportunities to serve at-risk children and their families. The mission of CASA speaks directly to Melanie's passions, and being a part of the team at CASA NETN is a rewarding and fulfilling experience.

  • Volunteer Coordinator
    Herandy has been with CASA NETN since August 2022. Herandy focuses on volunteer recruitment, training, and retention as well as community awareness.

  • Unicoi County Program Coordinator
    Erin recently joined CASA NETN in October 2023, and is the program coordinator for Unicoi County Juvenile Court.

  • Washington County Program Coordinator
    Emily has been with CASA NETN since July 2012, and is the program coordinator for Washington County Juvenile Court and Johnson City Juvenile Court.

  • Green County Program Coordinator
    Lanetta has been with CASA NETN since February 2023, and is the program coordinator for Greene County Juvenile Court.

Meet Our Board of Directors:

  • Nana McKinney
    Nana McKinney

    Board President
    Nana began her service with CASA NETN in October 2019. Nana earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Radford University and bring expertise in public relations, recruitment, and marketing to CASA NETN. The mission of CASA is paramount to Nana because children who are struggling have so much at stake, yet, they have so little control or say in things that happen to them. Nana is honored to be a part of that effort and having the opportunity to get to know and work with its committed and talented staff, advocates and board members. Working with CASA NETN has been and continues to be a rewarding and inspiring experience.

  • Jim Griffin
    Jim Griffin

    Treasurer and President-Elect
    Jim began his service with CASA NETN in February 2019. As CEO of Griffin Home Group, Jim brings his expertise in marketing, team building, and leadership to CASA of Northeast Tennessee. Jim has implemented new successful fundraising ventures at CASA NETN and is passionate about protecting children in our community.

  • Penny Johnson
    Penny Johnson

    Penny Johnson began her service with CASA NETN in August 2022. Penny is a retired teacher and previously served CASA as a volunteer advocate. Penny's experience in education brings expertise in child development, critical thinking, and community relations to CASA NETN. Penny is dedicated to helping abused/neglected children find safety and security.

  • Judith Hammond

    Ex Officio
    Judith Hammond is professor emeritus at East Tennessee State University's Sociology and Anthropology department. Judith was a pioneer in bringing Court Appointed Special Advocates to the region in 1985. Now serving in an Ex Officio capacity, Judith has been on the board of CASA NETN since February 2014. Judith has also served CASA as a volunteer advocate, giving her a unique insight to the role that CASA volunteers play in the court process.

  • Paula Jackson
    Paula Jackson

    Paula Jackson began her service with CASA NETN in July 2021. Paula is VP and General Manager at WJHL with Nexstar Media Group, Inc. Paula's background in sales and marketing aid CASA NETN in growing community awareness and successful fundraising. Paula is committed to the mission of CASA NETN and to providing safety for all children in our community. A lifelong resident of the tri-cities area, Ms. Jackson is also an alum of Northeast State Community College and East Tennessee State University.

  • Bambi Garland joined CASA of Northeast Tennessee’s Board of Directors in October 2022. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from East Tennessee State University. Bambi has worked in finance for over 11 years and currently provides oversight of all financial operations for ETSU’s College of Nursing. She has extensive experience in financial planning, analysis, forecasting, and budgeting.
    A native of Anderson County, TN she currently resides in Afton, TN with her two grown daughters.

  • Wendy Rice Hensley
    Wendy Rice Hensley

    Wendy Rice Hensley graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from East Tennessee State University in 1994. After practicing social work for two years, she went on to earn a Master of Science in Social Work with a focus in non-profit management and community development from the University of Tennessee. Wendy has used this education in a variety of ways, but much of her work has remained focused on the issues facing children and families. She has been teaching social work at Milligan since 2015. Preparing students to serve others in the field of social work is both a passion and honor.

  • Chris Hyder
    Chris Hyder

    Chris Hyder was appointed to the CASA Board October of 2022.
    Chris graduated from East Tennessee State University in 1997 with a Master of Science degree. He obtained two Bachelors of Business Administration (BS) degrees from East Tennessee State University with a concentration in Accounting and Finance during 2001 and 1994 respectfully. He joined Summers-Taylor, Inc., in August 2013 as the company’s Chief Financial Officer and is responsible for all accounting, financial, and human resource activities. Prior to joining Summers-Taylor, Inc., he was Corporate Controller for Concrete Supply Company, a subsidiary of Martin Marietta Materials Inc. Working as a finance and human resource professional, he brings to CASA experience in risk management and assessment, an understanding of state and federal tax laws and economic patterns. Chris has also completed the 35 hour advocate training course, giving him unique insight to the work of CASA volunteers. Additionally, he serves on the boards of Johnson City Public Building Authority, and Johnson City Development Authority.

  • Brooke began her service with CASA NETN in October 2022. Brooke is an Assistant Vice President/Chief Operating Officer with Ballad Health Behavioral Health Division. With an MBA and over 25 years of experience, Brooke brings expertise in Human Resources and Business Management to the CASA board. As a leader in the mental health arena, Brooke is passionate about building resiliency and reducing trauma among children and youth in our area.