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Colonial CASA Staff

Valissia Lawson-Calhoun

Valissia Lawson-Calhoun

Program Director, Child Advocacy

 valissia@colonialcasa.org
757-229-3306

Valissia is originally from Dothan, AL. She spent 10 years serving in the Air Force and traveling all over the world. She started out as an Aircraft Mechanic for 4 years. Soon after, she became a Training Manager. During her time in the military, she earned two Associate Degrees (Aerospace Maintenance and Education and Training). She also earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology. She has a beautiful wife (Sierra), three daughters ( Aaliyah 10, Laylah 8, and Maddison 8), and a handsome Blue French Bulldog (Kanan).

Valissia spent 18 years in the foster care system. So when she left the military in 2021, it was no question about what she wanted to do next. She joined the CASA team in Great Falls, Montana as a Volunteer Director. Aside from her passion for working with children, she is a culinary student. She enjoys cooking, DJing, and working out and she is a diehard University of Alabama football fan! Roll Tide!

Bill Cripe

Bill Cripe

Public Relations Coordinator

bill@colonialcasa.org
757-229-3306

Bill and his wife Mary moved from Northern Virginia to Williamsburg in 2011. He joined Colonial CASA in 2013 as a volunteer advocate. Bill serves on the CASA Fair committee, has been the driving force behind securing school supplies for CASA children, and in November 2021 joined our staff as Public Relations Coordinator. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Psychology and has done extensive graduate work in the field of Organizational Leadership. For 7 years he was an Executive Partner at the College of William & Mary.

Bill’s role is to promote community outreach and education efforts, establish partnerships, and expand Colonial CASA’s footprint.

Bill loves spending his time with his wife, 2 children, and 5 grandchildren. He enjoys traveling, reading, and hanging out with friends.

Melissa Degaraff

Melissa Degaraff

Program Director, Youth Mentoring Program

melissa@colonialcasa.org
757-229-3306

Melissa joined the staff in November 2021 to develop and implement the youth mentoring program at colonial CASA. Before joining CASA, Melissa served over twenty years in higher education with focus in admissions, academic advising, educational and career planning, training, and assessment. Melissa looks forward to recruiting and training volunteer mentors as well as supporting youth to make progress toward their academic, career, and life goals.

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Master of Arts in Education. Melissa’s special interests include equitable access to education and training and the positive impact of a meaningful career on life satisfaction.

Victoria L. Canady, Ph.D

Victoria L. Canady, Ph.D

Executive Director

director@colonialcasa.org
757-229-3306

Victoria Canady, Executive Director, began her journey with CASA as a volunteer in 2006. In 2007 she joined the program as a part-time staff member but soon became full-time with CASA’s expansion into York County Courts. Over the 14 years of dedicated service, Victoria has served in every CASA capacity, including Program Director, Volunteer Services Coordinator, and trainer.

Victoria holds a Master’s degree in Professional Counseling and a Ph.D. in Mental Health Policy and Practice. In addition to her commitment to mental and emotional health, Victoria is a passionate advocate for the educational rights of children with an emphasis on children with special needs.

Victoria met her husband of 32 years in the Marine Corps (Semper Fi). Together, they have two sons, Kenaan, and Kyle who live in Williamsburg and Norfolk.

Colonial CASA Board of Directors 2022-2023

Aaron Williams, President

Aaron Williams, President

President, Williams Landscape & Design, Inc.

Tucker Edmonds, Vice President

Tucker Edmonds, Vice President

Mortgage Loan Officer, Chesapeake Bank

Mitchell Farkas, Treasurer

Mitchell Farkas, Treasurer

Retired, Princeton Financial Insights

April Lawrence, Secretary

April Lawrence, Secretary

Director of Field & Clinical Experiences, School of Educational, William & Mary

Shanee' Bryant-Cooke, Director

Shanee' Bryant-Cooke, Director

Special Education Teacher

Mary Lou Crosbie, Director

Mary Lou Crosbie, Director

Retired, Colonial CASA Program

Pat Dent, Director

Pat Dent, Director

Williamsburg City Council/Vice Mayor, Williamsburg City Council

Deborah Grosser, Director

Deborah Grosser, Director

Director, Training and Technical Assistant, William & Mary

Lauren Moore, Director

Lauren Moore, Director

Event Director, Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce

Loretta Roman, Director

Loretta Roman, Director

President, Council of City of Williamsburg

CASA Advocates

Barbara Barham

Advocate since 2019

Mary Falter

Advocate since 2020

Jeanne Garrison

Advocate since 2011

Tracy Gharbo

Advocate since 2016

Karen Guglielmo

Advocate since 2020

Sue Knepper

Advocate since 2017

Darcy Morrison

Advocate since 2012

Sarah Ortego

Advocate since 2020

Linda Palmer

Advocate since 2012

Ruth Plagenhoef

Advocate since 2019

Claudia Rinaldi

Advocate since 2020

Rowena Seaman

Advocate since 2012

Denise Sherman

Advocate since 2017

Chuck Simmons

Advocate since 2019

Sylvester Smith

Advocate since 2017

Laura Spatz

Advocate since 2005

Beverly Stewart

Advocate since 2017

Niki Thrash

Advocate since 2017

Laura Walls

Advocate since 2019

Contact Us

Tel: (757) 229-3306
Fax: (757) 229-3972
3917 Midlands Road, Ste 2A
Williamsburg, VA 23188

Office Hours

Monday -Thursday 8:00 – 4:30
Friday: 8:00 – noon – working remotely