The CASA Team

CASA Board Members

  • Teresa Tardiff

    Executive Director

    Teresa Rothe Tardiff has been Executive Director of CASA for Children of San Luis Obispo County since 2005, and on staff since 2002. She is an attorney, a graduate of UOP McGeorge School of Law, and has undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Early Childhood Education. Before becoming a staff member, Teresa was a CASA advocate for 8 children. Teresa is an active member of the local Blue Ribbon Commission on foster care and Dependency Court Stakeholders. She served two years on the California CASA legislative committee and was previously an elected member of the Avila Valley Advisory Commission. In 2010 she was honored to receive the San Luis Obispo County Bar Association’s John L. Seitz Award for Community Service. Teresa is also a recent graduate of San Luis Obispo Leadership Class XIX. “I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of such a wonderful program that makes such a positive impact on the lives of children in our community. Our volunteer advocates are dedicated, caring people from all walks of life who share a commitment to helping children.”

  • Kelly Sanders

    President

    Kelly grew up locally on the Central Coast. After graduating from area schools, she went on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology at UC Santa Barbara and a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California. She currently serves as President of Movement for Life, locally known as San Luis Sports Therapy. In her personal time, Kelly enjoys snow skiing, outdoor activities, reading and spending time with her husband and two young children.

  • Kirk Vaughn

    Vice President

    Kirk Douglas Vaughn graduated from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in finance and business management along with a minor in economics. His banking career starting as a residential wholesale mortgage lender for New Century Mortgage in 2003 before joining Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Community West Bank in the commercial banking/lending divisions. Currently, he is a Vice President/Senior Relationship Manager with Pacific Premier Bank. He also serves on the finance committee for Habitat for Humanity and is a member of the Arroyo Grande Rotary Club.

    More importantly, he’s very lucky to have a wonderful bride (Martha), 3 amazing kiddos (Khloe, Andrew, and Parker), and a yellow lab (Brady). In his spare time, he enjoys playing tennis, poker, and enjoying all the outdoor activities the central coast has to offer.

  • Tom L. Dobyns

    Immediate Past President

    Tom L. Dobyns has served as Chief Executive Officer of Mission Community Bank and Director of Mission Community Bancorp since November, 2011. His banking career started as a teller, commercial lender and branch manager at Bank of America almost 40 years ago, before assuming executive positions at First Interstate Bank of California, Great Western Bank and Home Savings of America. Most recently, he was president and CEO of American Security Bank in Newport Beach, California, before becoming CEO of Mission Community Bank. Tom also served for 22 years on the board of the Orangewood Children’s Foundation, an Orange County non-profit with a mission to provide life-changing programs and one-on-one support for abused and neglected children and at-risk families to end the cycle of child abuse.

  • Debbie Peterson

    Treasurer

    Debbie has been a local to San Luis Obispo since 1973. She received her Bachelor's in Business Administration concentrating in Accounting from Cal State Fullerton. Upon graduation Debbie returned to San Luis Obispo where she worked for the French Brothers in residential construction industry. In 1994 Debbie helped start Visual Systems / CygNet Software where she was the Director of Finance. After the company was acquired in 2011 by a Houston based company, she went to work for Mainstream Energy / REC Solar part time. Currently, Debbie is enjoying the semi-retired life and working part-time for Movement for Life. Debbie and her husband, Joel, have raised 2 children, Elyse and Kyle. Debbie has also served on the Board of the San Luis Obispo Swim Club and was on the Site Council at Los Ranchos Elementary School. She and her husband now reside in Avila Beach. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling and crafts.

  • Carrie White

    Secretary

    Carrie White joined the CASA Board in November 2017. Although originally from New Jersey she has called the Central Coast home since 1998 and lives in Atascadero with her husband and two children. She works in Administration at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center as the Executive Assistant to the Central Coast Market Chief Executive Officer. Carrie has been an active member of the San Benito Road Elementary School PTA Executive Board since 2014 and currently serves on the Executive Board of the 24th District PTA. Carrie is very proud to dedicate her time as a volunteer and advocate to help enrich the lives of our future generations.

  • Javier Cadena

    Board Member

    Javier moved to San Luis Obispo in 1986 from Santa Barbara, CA. He has started and operated six different restaurant concepts on the Central Coast. Most recently he enjoys business management, marketing and PR consulting for various industries. He has been involved with Cal Poly Leadership classes as a key note speaker and mentor to students. Javier sat on the Board of Directors for the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association in 2010 and has been awarded the SLO Beautification Award for his work. On his free time he enjoys playing guitar and spending time with his wife, Laurel, and two daughters. Javier joined the Board of CASA in 2012.

  • Andi Cummins

    Board Member

    Andi moved to San Luis Obispo in 2001 to attend Cal Poly. After graduating with a B.S. in Recreation Administration with a concentration in Special Event Management in 2004 she found a job in the wine industry. Since, she has co-created and co-operates Drake Wines--a family wine operation. With an event management background she also is on the fundraising committee of CASA's board and is enthusiastic about creating events that raise money so CASA can serve more foster children within SLO county. She resides in San Luis Obispo with her three young boys-- Charlie, Gus, and Leo, and husband, Mark . In her spare time she enjoys traveling, playing tennis, sailing, and frequenting her Santa Barbara wine tasting room. Andi has been a supporter of CASA for the past several years and was honored when asked to serve on the board.

  • Julie Richardson

    Board Member

    A native to the Central Coast, Julie W. Richardson is Vice President and Community Banking Manager at Community West Bank. She oversees the San Luis Obispo Branch and the Paso Robles Loan Production Office.

    She has been in the banking industry for 38 years and spent most of her career in the North County. She has sat on the board of North County Boys and Girls Club and the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, and will again be a board member of the Paso Robles Chamber in 2018. She is an active participant in Relay for Life events, Main Street and a member of Paso Robles Rotary.

    Julie lives in Paso Robles and has two children. In her off time she enjoys playing her guitar, hiking and spending time with friends and family.

  • Gina Fitzpatrick

    Board Member

    Gina Fitzpatrick has been the President & CEO of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce since July 2015. Before accepting her role with the Chamber, Gina served as the Vice President, Branch Manager at Heritage Oaks Bank in Paso Robles for nine years. She also served as an Executive Director and Chair of the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Advisory Council for two years. Her involvement in building the Paso Robles community includes: Stronger Futures Foundation, Paso Robles Main Street Association Economic Restructuring Committee, Rotary International Camp Counselor at RYLA, and California Cattlemen’s Association.

    She values her heritage and takes pride in being a fifth-generation resident of San Luis Obispo County. Gina enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and assisting her husband manage their cow-calf operation in Northern California.

  • Lindsay Waylett

    Board Member

    Lindsay served on the CASA board from 2007-2013 and rejoined in 2017. CASA keeps her inspiration for those who help children that cannot speak for themselves. She also values the concept of having a healthy constant in a child’s life to guide them into adulthood to benefit the child as well as our community as a whole. Lindsay was born and raised in Atascadero. She obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Business with an emphasis in Finance from San Diego State University in 2001. She moved back to the Central Coast and starting her career in commercial banking. She is currently serving the small business community by helping grow and expand local businesses as a SBA Business Development Officer for Umpqua Bank. With an office in Templeton and residing in Atascadero she enjoys taking full advantage of all the Central Coast has to offer. Whether it be going to the beaches, wine tasting, hiking, or so many other local activities it is easy to enjoy so many beautiful spots this area has to explore. She values spending time with her family, especially her son, Tommy, who is a complete joy to watch grow

  • Susan Polk

    Board Member

    Susan is Broker/Owner of Susan Polk Insurance Agency, Inc., which specializes in Medicare and Long-term Care planning. She received her B.A. degree in Economics from Pitzer College and has been a life and health insurance broker for 45 years. Susan and her husband Jim were foster parents for ten years and have adopted four of these children. She served as President of the Foster Parents Association and helped bring CASA to San Luis Obispo County more than 20 years ago. She has also served on the Boards of Children’s Health Initiative, Habitat for Humanity, and Long-term Care Ombudsman. She lives in San Luis Obispo with her husband Jim and their grandson Donavin.

  • Elise St. John

    Board Member

    Elise is a fourth-generation SLO county native, Cal Poly graduate, and member of San Luis Obispo Leadership Class XXVII. She became aware of CASA SLO fifteen years ago when her family directly benefited from CASA’s important work in advocating for children and supporting families within the court system. Elise received a Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Organizations and Leadership from the University of Washington, Seattle where she was a U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences (IES) Predoctoral Fellow, and her work currently examines the political and organizational dynamics of educational reform, particularly with regard to issues of equity.

    In addition, she holds an elected office with the American Educational Research Association (AERA), serves on local district and school-level accountability boards, and supports schools and non-profits in the design of their own research studies. Prior to her doctoral training, Elise worked as a researcher for governmental and non-profit research organizations, and interned for the United Nations and the U.S. Senate. Elise also holds a MA degree in Sociology from San Jose State University and a B.A. in Political Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Elise resides in SLO with her two children.

  • Suzy da Silva Hamilton

    Board Member

    A Native of Southern California, Suzy has been living on the Central Coast for the last 20 years. She is the CEO of Competitive Edge Media and Marketing (CEMM), a National media placement and marketing company, based out of San Luis Obispo.

    Suzy attended CSU, Chico for her undergrad and LMU Film School where she obtained a MFA in Screenwriting.

    She looks forward to using her media and marketing background to help increase the CASA brand and grow their volunteer and fundraising efforts,

    Suzy is married to Cameron and lives in Templeton with her two boys, Andrew (11) and Colby (8). They enjoy sports, camping and tending to their numerous farm animals.

  • Eleze Armstrong

    Board Member

    Eleze relocated from northern California to the Central Coast in 2010. She currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center and has held various leadership positions at Twin Cities Community Hospital and Sierra Vista over the course of the last 8 years. Eleze graduated with a National Diploma in Radiography from the Addington School of Radiography in South Africa; a Bachelors in Healthcare Administration from the University of Ottawa, Kansas; and a Masters in Healthcare Administration from Arizona’s Grand Canyon University. Pismo Beach is home to her and her spouse. She is passionate about serving her the patients, staff and the physicians in her workplace, as well as the community at large.

Staff

  • Katie Robinson

    Program Director

  • Melanie Barket

    North County Program Manager

  • Michelle May

    Event Coordinator

  • Jeanne Eggert

    Educational Advocate

  • Cathy Orton

    Resource Development Director

  • Susan Graves

    Grants & Development Coordinator

  • Pete Skarda

    Advocate Supervisor

  • Diana Hernandez

    Advocate Supervisor

  • Gail Wechsler

    Advocate Supervisor

  • Heidi Turbow

    Mentor Program & Advocate Supervisor

  • Celena Zupko

    Advocate Supervisor

  • Eli Salgado

    Office Support

  • Daniella Barion

    Recruitment and Retention Specialist

  • Aileen Foley

    Program Associate

Volunteer Staff

  • Adrienne Walker

    Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator

  • Bernadette Tellefson

    Office Support

  • Allyson Krugh

    Office Support

  • Pam Wood

    Office Support

  • Elaine Wilcox

    Office Support

  • Vicki McPartland

    Volunteer Staff

  • Patty Smith

    Office Support

  • Linda Rawlings

    Community Outreach