In the past year, Lakeway CASA of Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson and Sevier Counties has served over 200 children. Our volunteers advocate for one to two family groups at a time to ensure quality advocacy. We are made up of over fifty committed child advocate volunteers, ten board members, and a staff of one full-time Executive Director, three Advocate Coordinators and a Recruitment and Training Coordinator. Lakeway CASA conducts investigations and interviews that the courts do not have the resources to conduct, serves as a trusted friend to the child, and expedites the child’s placement in a safe and loving home. Without CASA, court proceedings are often postponed needlessly because investigations are not complete and important details that are critical to the child’s healing and well-being can be overlooked.
Lakeway CASA is a non-profit , 501c3 agency. Lakeway CASA serves children ages birth to 18 years old in Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, and Sevier County.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Kelley Williams
Kelley Williams was named Executive Director of Lakeway CASA on September 30, 2019. Kelley comes from a nonprofit management background where she worked with women and children experiencing homelessness and domestic violence. Touched by the stories she encountered, Kelley was inspired to be instrumental in creating an affordable housing program and establishing a new rapid rehousing program for Northern Illinois families in need.
Her compassion for children experiencing trauma drew her to CASA and she looks forward to making an impact through her work in Hamblen, Jefferson and Sevier Counties. In addition to her extensive experience working with families in crisis, Kelley is also proficient in nonprofit program services, volunteer coordination, grants and marketing.
Kelley graduated from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, with a bachelor’s degree in English and holds certificates in Mental Health First Aid and Motivational Interviewing. She began her career in Washington, DC working in nonprofit associations in membership development and event planning. Kelley’s volunteer experience includes serving as church trustee, Girl Scouts of America Troop mother, English as a Second Language Tutor, and tnAchieves/TN Promise mentor.
Kelley and her husband, Sam, live in Talbott and enjoy boating and fishing on Lake Cherokee. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking and traveling to visit her two adult children in Southern Illinois and South Carolina
RECRUITMENT & TRAINING COORDINATOR: Marie Nicely
Marie Nicely is a native of Morristown, Tennessee. She attended Morristown-Hamblen High School West. Marie also attended Walter State Community College graduating with an Associate of Science degree in Early Childhood Education.
Marie became a volunteer in 2004, was previously employed with CASA of East Tennessee, Inc, as the Program Director for Hamblen and Jefferson counties from 2005 until 2012, and served on the Board of Directors for Lakeway CASA in 2013. After working for Head Start from 2014-2016, Marie returned to Lakeway CASA as a Volunteer Coordinator in 2017.
Marie currently lives in the area with her husband, Marty, and their three daughters.
BOOKEEPER: Shey Cudd
Shey has been married to her husband Rob for 22 years. Together they have two great kiddos. She is a proud Air Force veteran and a Registered Radiology Technologist having worked in both radiology and mammography over the last 16 years. Shey began her journey with CASA as a volunteer in Spring of 2020 and transitioned to staff in February 2021. When not working, Shey loves hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, working out and cooking. Shey is originally from California and has lived all across the country as well as Turkey. She loves Tennessee and is thankful to live in such a gorgeous place!
ADVOCATE COORDINATOR – Grainger & Jefferson Counties: Julia Aberle
Julia is a native of California. She is the proud mother of two boys, ages 21 and 29, she has a 4-year-old granddaughter as well. She moved to Tennessee in June of 2016and joined CASA as a volunteer in March of 2021. In July of 2021, she joined CASA staff as an Advocate Coordinator for Grainger County. Julia has an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice and a passion for advocacy. In her free time, she loves to read and watch NFL football. Her favorite authors are Nora Roberts and Stephen King, her favorite football team is The Dallas Cowboys.
ADVOCATE COORDINATOR – Sevier County: Jamie SchnellJamie is a native New Yorker who has lived in Tennessee with her family since 2012. She started off her CASA journey as a volunteer advocate, joining as Advocate Coordinator for Sevier County in January of 2022. Jamie has a passion for law and is educated in psychology, paralegal studies and photojournalism.
Lakeway CASA’s Official Comfort Dog – Sophie
This is the face of a dog that gives hope, brings calmness and joy, and unconditional love. This is the face of Sophie, Lakeway CASA’s official Court Comfort dog. After months of training, Sophie and her CASA handler and CASA Recruitment Coordinator, Marie Nicely, were sworn in by Judge Janice Snider in the Hamblen County Juvenile Court. Sophie serves as a comfort companion for children who may need to appear in court. Sophie’s impact doesn’t end there. She also can visit with children that are awaiting foster care placement. Kids like the one hugging Sophie in this photo. Kids that are scared, nervous, and anxious about where they are going next. Sophie brings them a distraction, a chance to have a moment of joy and laughter that a sweet dog can bring. Sophie offers them the unconditional love, comfort, and time they need. We are honored to have Sophie on our team.
CHAIR: Dr. Anthony (Tony) Miksa
Dr. Miksa is a member and Chairman of the Board of Directors. He is the current President of Walters State Community College. He has a background in fundraising, event planning, financial/accounting, policy, social networking/community relations, and government relations. He received his Master’s and undergraduate degrees in mathematics, and holds a Doctorate of Education and Community College Leadership from National Louis University in Chicago. After moving to Morristown with his wife and two children, Dr. Miksa assumed the office of President at Walters State on July 1, 2016. His responsibilities as Chairman are detailed in our bylaws.
VICE CHAIR: Kris Yarlett
Mr. Yarlett is a member of the Board of Directors. After serving for nearly 10 years in the Air Force, he joined his current employer Edward Jones where he works as a Financial Advisor. Mr. Yarlett holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the United States Air Force Academy, a Master’s Degree from University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, and a Master’s Degree in Financial Planning from Golden Gate University. He, his wife Hannah, and their 3 children are members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Morristown, TN. Mr. Yarlett is very active in the community, serving on the Board of Directors for the East Tennessee Foundation, Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce, All Saints Episcopal School, and is a member of Rotary. In addition to his position as a board member, Mr. Yarlett will assist in fundraising, event planning, financial/accounting, marketing/public relations, social networking/community relations, government relations, and volunteer recruitment/services.
SECRETARY: Sharon Oats
Ms. Oats is a member of the Board of Directors and serves as Secretary. She attended Tennessee Tech University, earning a B. S. in Math Education and later a Master’s Degree at Carson Newman College. Ms. Oats is now retired after 35 years of teaching school and lives in Dandridge, TN, with her husband, Smokey, and two cats. She enjoys attending All Saints Episcopal Church in Morristown, TN, where she sings in the choir. Sharon and her husband are the parents of two daughters. Along with the responsibilities as treasurer, Ms. Oats helps as a CASA Ambassador at outreach events and helps with fundraising activities.
TREASURER: Jake Stokely
Jake is a member of the Board of Directors and serves as Treasurer. He is an agency owner for Farmers Insurance, holds a Bachelor’s Degree from West Point and a Master’s Degree from Ohio State University. He served as an officer in the US Army from 1998 to 2008. He is a member of the American Legion and VFW. He is also active with HOLA Lakeway and the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce. Along with the responsibilities as treasurer, Jake assists in fundraising, event planning, community relations, and recruitment. He is married to Mindi (Kammann), and they have two children (Hannah and Chance).
MEMBER: Sue Baldus
Ms. Baldus is a member of the Board of Directors and has two children, 14 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. She sold real-estate for over 25 years and has been a member of the Rotary Club since 1988, serving on their Board of Directors for 8 years. She has served on the Douglas Cherokee Advisory Board and the Central Services Board of Directors. She also served on the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity for 15 years. Serving 5 of those years as President. Along with the responsibilities as a board member, Ms. Baldus helps with fundraising, event planning, marketing/public relations, and volunteer recruitment/services
Ms. Moffitt is a member of the Board of Directors. She is employed by Edward Jones as a Branch Office Administrator. She serves as a mentor and is a Solutions Team Advocate for their region. Prior to joining Edward Jones, Lisa served as a Paralegal for five years in our community. She has over nine years of experience in sales and marketing, social media advertising and project management. Outside of the office, she is committed to educating and helping others learn about diabetes. She values learning from others, making genuine connections and hearing about others people’s passions. Lisa has volunteered her time in the community through church organizations and Children’s Hospital. Lisa has two children and a grandson who she is so proud of. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling and reading.
I grew up in a pastor’s family. Throughout my life as a family unit, we were always involved within the community. As a young man, my then girlfriend and now wife and I made the ultimate mistake in a pastor’s family; we became teenage parents. My parents did not let me walk away from my responsibility as a father; instead, they encouraged me and reminded me that God still had a plan. Through Jefferson County high school and on to College, I worked nights with the support of my wife, Shannon. As our children grew, we understood a part of God’s plan for our lives. Shannon and I have been dedicated to children outside my career and family. We have been youth workers, kids, church teachers, and workers within Children of Hope, a Christian-based youth program in Morristown, TN. I can point out the accomplishments of my business career and even personal tragedies in my life that I have overcome. My qualifications are, in some cases, impressive. But my involvement with the children of our community has been what I would say defines me.