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Executive Staff

Connie Ricketts

Executive Director

Connie came to CASA of Galveston County in October 2015 after serving as Program Director for Essex County CASA of Massachusetts for the last 7.5 years.  Connie has been married for more than 37  years to her husband Dennis.  Connie and Dennis served as foster parents for more than 10 years here in Texas beginning in 1992 and adopted 3 children now all young adults Erin (29), Jason (28) and Hannah (25) through Child Protective Services of Grayson County, Texas.  Connie became involved with CASA after witnessing firsthand the impact that a CASA volunteer had on the life and outcome of her youngest daughter’s CPS case.  After closing their home to foster children Connie became a CASA Volunteer for Collin County CASA knowing that she would provide a “voice” for the children she would serve.  Connie went on to serve as a Board Member for Collin County CASA and as staff.

Connie’s passion for the prevention and awareness of abused and neglected children was recognized in April 2015 when she was named the Children’s Champion of the Merrimack Valley by the regional Exchange Club and YWCA.  This honor recognized her commitment to these vulnerable children both personally and professionally. Connie has served her  Texas CASA region as the Regional Representative to the Texas CASA Board (2019 – 2022).  She served on the Children’s Justice Task Force in Texas from 2018 – 2021.  In 2020, Connie received the Liberty Bell award from the Galveston Bar Association for her commitment to see that justice is served in her community.  Connie was nominated for The Galveston Daily News Citizen of the Year in 2020. 

Connie is a Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner (TBRI) having been certified in August 2021.  Connie received her Non-Profit Leadership Certification from Texas A&M University Center for Philanthropic Leadership Institute in December 2021.

 Connie believes that CASA volunteers are extraordinary in their service to children who have experienced abuse and neglect and is committed to seeing that all the children in Galveston County that need a CASA will have one appointed.

Communications Department

Kasey Warren

Recruitment and Training Coordinator

Kasey was born in Nacogdoches, Texas and moved to the Galveston area as soon as she could. Coming from a family that fostered and adopted kids when she was growing up, Kasey has a heart for those in the foster care system. This led to her graduating from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Science in Victim Studies and minor in Human Services. Kasey has always had a passion for helping others, whether it be through mission trips or volunteering for organizations within her community. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, playing with her cat Ziva, and weightlifting at the gym!

Ratha Liladrie

Marketing and Development Associate

Ratha brings 20 years of professional experience from the private and non-profit sectors to CASA of Galveston County. A native of Florida and a proud graduate of Florida State University, Ratha excels in project management and strategic thinking. Naturally enthusiastic and driven, Ratha is thrilled to be a part of the CASA team. She is excited to work with the community and support the organization’s marketing and development efforts to ensure that every child’s voice is heard.

Outside of the office, you’ll find Ratha outdoors, enjoying a good book and sipping on iced tea. She also enjoys traveling with her favorite adventure partners; her husband, Devon, and kids, Kai and Ayden.

Special Programs

Alaine Nix

Program Manager (Special Programs)

Alaine was born and raised in Texas. She is the first female in her family to join the Army as a Military Police Officer. After her time in the military she pursued an Associates degree in Child Development while she worked in different child settings. Soon after finishing her Associates degree, Alaine graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University with a Bachelors in Human Science and Family Development. Alaine has experience with children ages birth through seventeen due to being in daycares, intermediate schools, juvenile centers, and other non-profit settings.
Alaine has always had a passion for helping children and their families. She is excited to be part of the CASA team and put her knowledge and experience to use by helping advocate for children.

In her free time, Alaine enjoys spending time with her daughter and family, spoiling her dogs – Marshal and Oreo, and drinking coffee with a good book in hand.

Kristin Orsini

Collaborative Family Engagement Coordinator

Born in Fort Worth, Texas Kristin later moved to League City where she graduated as a first-generation college graduate from the University of Houston Clear Lake with a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Occupational Therapy. For the last 14 years her focus has centered around children within our schools and practicing behavior therapy. She is excited about extending her commitment to helping children and their families and is blessed to be a part of an organization that understands the importance of positive lifelong connections.  

Kristin’s passion for wanting to help children locate their families stems from her mother and paternal great-grandmother being adopted as infants, and paternal grandmother being raised by fictive kin when her own mother passed away. Her hobbies include but are not limited to, all things Texan from its native history and crawfish boils to the many different types of topography to set up primitive camp. Those important to her are her faith, family, and being able to recharge outdoors.

Advocacy Team

Devin Pastrano

Program Manager

Devin grew up overseas due to her father being in the military, but Texas has always been her home. Devin graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a Bachelor’s of Science in Community Health. She worked for Seton Home, a shelter for teen mothers and their children who were in the foster care. After hearing the numerous stories of the children in care, she then knew she wanted to do more to help. Devin worked for Child Protective Services as a Family Based Services Specialist in both Bexar County and Harris County. Devin enjoys spending quality time with her three children. Devin enjoys crafting and her faith is very important to her.  Devin hopes to make a difference in the lives of the children and their families. Devin will do her best to use her knowledge and skills to lead the advocates in their journeys with CASA.

Ricci Rodriguez

Advocate Supervisor

Ricci Rodriguez is new to Galveston County and has spent the last several years living in Austin, Texas. She has degrees in Psychology and Biology from Blinn College, and studied Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Houston.

Before moving to Austin, Ricci was born and raised in Houston, Texas.  While working for a law firm in Houston, she began to volunteer as a court appointed special advocate with Child Advocates, Inc. and the experience stayed with her. Ricci has most recently worked in both public and private school systems in Austin. During that time, she had the opportunity to  advocate at the Texas State Capitol for children and the importance of their access to quality early childhood education. No stranger to the impact of advocacy on children, she is so excited to be part of the CASA organization!

Now she, her husband, and their dog Shelby have relocated to the gulf coast with the goal of enriching this community.  They spend their free time cooking, travelling, and going on “adventures” (just mention the word and Shelby spins in circles while waiting by the door!). They are all excited to explore their new city and go on new adventures.

Yvonne Ramirez

Advocate Supervisor

Yvonne was born and raised in Texas, she is married to Patrick and has two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah. She studied Behavioral Science at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, church, and yard work.

Her journey led her to CASA after working with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services in the Children’s Crisis Care Center for 15 years. She worked in various counties and witnessed firsthand the effect Court Appointed Advocates had in the lives of abused and neglected children. Her passion in wanting to serve her community by being a voice for the voiceless and admiring the work CASA brought to the table is what lead her to become a CASA Advocate. After only two months as a volunteer she decided this is where her heart belonged and decided to come on board full time as a Supervisor. She believes that if you can touch the life of one child you can help change the course of a whole generation. She feels very blessed to be a part of the CASA organization.

Kate Sonnier

Advocate Supervisor

Kate was born in and spent most of her life growing up in Santa Fe, Texas. Kate’s passion for kids in need started in the 6th grade when she received a PAL. Her PAL was a mentor, someone that truly cared and was a consistent person in her life. Along with her PAL, she also had a guardian with a big heart! These great role models in her life shaped her to be the kind of person who wanted to do the same for others. Kate started off as a CASA advocate and quickly knew this was where she was meant to be. Helping kids realize they can grow up and be whoever they wanted in life, and still have faith in their self no matter their up bringing. She believes every child deserves someone who can help make sure their voice is heard.

When she has free time, Kate enjoys taking her 2 dogs, Archie and Draco, places and spoiling them like crazy. Kate considers her friends to be family, and they are a huge part of her life! She also enjoys reading and traveling whenever she can!

Suzanne Laker-Newcomer

Advocate Supervisor

Suzanne relocated to Galveston County in October 2019 with her husband, Steve, and their two furry family companions. Prior to her relocation, Suzanne served as a Child Advocate Manager (CAM) with the Guardian ad Litem Program for Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit. In her role as CAM, Suzanne found her calling in advocating for abused and neglected children in her community.

Throughout her professional career, Suzanne has worked closely with children in need of services. Earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree (Political Science, 1991) and a Bachelor of Science (Secondary Education, 1997), Suzanne worked as a licensed teacher in her home state of Indiana. Working predominantly with at-risk students led Suzanne to pursue a Master of Science in Criminal Justice (2012) and allowed her to serve as a practitioner in Indiana’s juvenile justice system.

Suzanne credits both her work as a teacher and juvenile justice practitioner for leading her on the path to child advocacy with the CASA organization. Indeed, Suzanne believes that equipping children and families with the tools they need to be successful and helping them to establish and maintain a strong network of support will not only improve a child’s academic performance in the classroom but will lessen the likelihood of future involvement in the criminal justice system and ultimately improve the child’s outcome for a better life.

In her new role as advocate supervisor, Suzanne is eager to work collaboratively with staff, volunteers, and all CASA stakeholders to provide safety, permanency, and a promising future for the abused and neglected children in our community. Suzanne is thrilled to be a part of the CASA of Galveston County team and looks forward to embarking on this new journey. When not at the office, you can find Suzanne walking her fur babies, dining out, traveling, spending time with family, and most likely enjoying “all things Texas” with her husband, Steve.

Diana Smith

Advocate Supervisor

Diana Smith comes to CASA with a heart for kids in the foster care system. As the grandmother of 3 adopted foster kids, she has a unique insight and perspective that drives her passion for ensuring every child has a chance to succeed and reach their full potential. Diana has spent the past 25 years in the education field, helping students with their academic coursework and guiding them through the college selection process. Diana has been advocating for children and their rights for the last seven years in various states and is looking forward to joining the phenomenal team at CASA. She has been married for 30 years to her husband, who has served in the educational field for 25+ years. She has three adult children and four grandchildren. Diana is looking forward to continuing the work at CASA and helping impact children’s future in the foster care system.