Become a CASA Advocate

Staff Directory 2023

East Texas CASA Board of Directors 2023

 Main Office: (903) 753-8093  • Fax: (903) 753-4841 

East Texas CASA 2023 staff


Michelle Cobern
Executive Director

Michelle started with CASA as a Supervisor in Sulphur Springs almost 11 years ago. She then became an integral part of starting the 71st CASA program in Texas, CASA of Titus, Camp and Morris Counties. Michelle served as the Executive Director in Mt. Pleasant for 7+ years when she was offered the opportunity to work with Texas CASA performing Quality Assurance Reviews for programs in the Northen part of Texas.

Michelle joined East Texas CASA in October 2022 and thoroughly enjoys working with the gifted men and women, Advocates, Board and Staff, that share the same passion of serving EVERY child in the foster care system in Gregg, Rusk, and Upshur Counties!

Michelle was born and raised in the New Orleans area. She loves working with children, rescuing animals and eating Cajun food.


Jennifer Goodson
Director of Advocacy 

Jennifer graduated from Texas A&M- Texarkana. She was employed with Child Protective Services from 2007-2018. She has experience with casework, investigations, Family Based Safety Services, as well as supervisory experience. Jennifer has a tremendous passion in helping others, especially children.

She currently lives in a small East Texas town of Hughes Springs, where she grew up. She is married to her husband,  Jimmy. They have 2 children and 4 grandchildren. They Love to camp, garden, and attend all of the grandchildren’s events.


Chris Derrick
Development Director 

Chris has a rich background in insurance and business development, Chris has honed his skills in helping businesses grow from their inception. His exceptional interpersonal skills make him a natural communicator, with the ability to make anyone feel like they’ve known him for years. Chris’s commitment to his community is unwavering. He is deeply involved in serving and giving back in any way he can. His heart lies with CASA, where he hopes to raise awareness about the organization’s crucial work with children and families navigating the foster care system. Outside of his professional life, Chris is an avid researcher and enjoys spending quality time kayaking with his wife and son. He also takes pride in working on his small homestead. His diverse interests and dedication to service make him a valuable asset to East Texas CASA and his community.


Ryah Al-Ajlani
Getting Together Safely Director

Ryah has a passion, kindness and empathy for those who are in need. She also has a background in mentoring teenage girls who struggle with their mental health.

Ryah loves painting, spending time with her fiancé, family, friends and pets, and traveling around the world.

She hopes that by spreading love and kindness to everyone around her, she can positively impact the community, one individual at a time.


Sue Todd
Office Manager

Sue was born to parents Bill & Jean Adler of Lake Cherokee. She has 3 children, John Eric, Emily, and Matthew. Sue graduated from Mississippi University for Women and has lived in Longview since 1983. She works at Mountain Supply & Service along with CASA. Sue has been on the CASA Board from 2016 – 2023, and has served as Treasurer part of that time. She is also involved in Getting Together Safely, as well as Aspire Mentoring Program. She is a member of St Anthony Catholic Church, Regent for Catholic Daughters Court, and Coordinator for Lectors.

Sue likes walking with the neighborhood ladies, gardening, and spending time with her children and parents. She has a female pit/lab mix named Remington.

Her favorite color is purple, loves Halloween – but not the scary stuff! And loves Christmas decorating – especially elves and nutcrackers.


Angelica Higueros
Advocate Supervisor 

 Angelica (Ange) has been with CASA for over 5 years. She adopted her son from foster care, so she has been on both sides of the table in the foster care system.

 She became a CASA because her son had different caseworkers and placements, but his CASA remained the same throughout his time in foster care.

 Ange is bilingual. She likes to shop and collects really nice shoes and purses.


Randi Davis
Advocate Supervisor

 Randi worked for a consulting company for nearly 20 years. She felt like God was calling her to do more. After lots of prayer, she ran across a CASA flyer. She  became one of East Texas CASA’s volunteers for nearly 2 years. Randi recently joined the East Texas CASA Staff as an Advocate Supervisor.

 Randi lives in a small East Texas town where she is a member of a local church that she attends with her children. She has 2 boys. Randi enjoys reading, spending time with her children, and enjoys discovering new DIY projects.


Jackie Starr
Advocate Supervisor

Jackie began working for CASA in 2021. She has a passion for youth in foster care and believes that CASA Volunteers often make the biggest positive impact in the lives of children and families who are involved in the child welfare system.

She resides just outside of Hallsville, Texas with her husband, Gary, and their four children. Jackie enjoys camping, reading, and spending time outside with her family.


Jennifer Sikes

Advocate Supervisor

Jennifer Sikes is a dedicated individual who has recently joined East Texas CASA. Previously, she served at the Department of Family and Protective Services, where she gained valuable experience in the field. Jennifer holds a Masters in Education and has been involved in the education sector for over 18 years.

Jennifer’s passion for the CASA Mission is evident in her wholehearted belief in advocating for the well-being of children. She understands the importance of providing a safe and nurturing environment for them. With her extensive background in education, Jennifer brings a unique perspective to her role at East Texas CASA.

Outside of her work, Jennifer values the time she spends with her family and friends. She cherishes these moments and believes they provide a balance to her professional life. Jennifer’s dedication to her loved ones reflects her commitment to creating a better future for children in need.

East Texas CASA is thrilled to have Jennifer Sikes as part of their team. With her expertise and genuine passion for the CASA Mission, she plays a vital role in ensuring the well-being of vulnerable children. Her Masters in Education and years of experience in the field make her a valuable asset to the organization.


Japhia Parsons

Advocate Supervisor

Japhia Parsons is a significant  addition to East Texas CASA, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a passion for making a difference in the lives of children. Having previously worked at the Department of Family and Protective Services, Japhia has a deep understanding of the challenges and complexities faced by children in the foster care system.

With over 6 years of experience in the field of education, Japhia is well-equipped to advocate for the educational needs of children under CASA’s care. Her dedication to empowering children and ensuring their voices are heard is evident in her tireless efforts to further the CASA Mission.

Outside of her professional life, Japhia cherishes the time she spends with her loving husband and children. She is also a proud grandmother, doting on her new grandbaby with adoration. This love and devotion extend beyond her own family, as Japhia’s commitment to working with children is fueled by her belief in their inherent potential and the importance of providing them with a safe and nurturing environment.