King County CASA

Meet the Staff

Carolyn Frimpter

Has been working at the CASA program since 1999. She attended the Boston University School of Social Work where she focused on Community Organizing. While working with the American Friends Service Committee in the Boston area, Carolyn developed a volunteer-based program to help homeless families find shelter and access other benefits through their local Community Service Offices. In 1994, she moved to Seattle where she ran a large emergency shelter for homeless women. Prior to joining the CASA program, Carolyn was a defense social worker with the Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons.




Rie Takeuchi

Rie Takeuchi

Has been a CASA Specialist/Supervisor for the King County Dependency CASA Program since January 2016. She has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and is a licensed clinical therapist. Rie has worked in the field of child welfare since 1998. She has a wide breath of experience working as a therapist with children and families, a case manager working with foster/adopt children both in the private and public sector, and most recently since 2007 as a court evaluator/mediator on family court cases with King County Superior Court Family Court.




Kathy McCormack

Has been with the CASA Program since 1988 and has held a variety of positions within the office.  She is in awe of the work CASAs do for our dependent children.  Born and raised in the great Northwest, she enjoys anything outdoors but especially skiing and just last year, became a certified scuba diver.  When not outdoors or traveling, you can find her rooting for all our northwest sports teams with family and friends.






Rashida Ballard

Has been a CASA Supervisor with the King County Dependency CASA Program since March 2016. She has both a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Washington. Rashida has worked with children and families in a variety of settings for the past 17 years and began her work in child welfare in 2010. She is dedicated to the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable population and committed to supporting CASAs in their advocacy for them. Rashida co-leads ongoing cultural competency/disproportionality trainings and takes pride in not only having the opportunity to share that information with CASAs, but also in collaborating with them on ways we all can navigate the Dependency system while serving our families with dignity and respect. 




Vickey Wilson

Has been with King County CASA program since 1997. She graduated from Highline Community College with an AA degree in Paralegal.  She started with the CASA program as an Administrative Specialist and has been a paralegal with the program since 2002.  She volunteered as a CASA and is very passionate about the work the CASA program does for abused and neglected children.   Vickey loves photography, traveling and gardening.  She also loves the SEAHAWKS!





Peggy Larson

Is a CASA Specialist in the King County Superior Court Dependency CASA Program. In addition to supervising CASA Volunteers, she has been involved in the development and delivery of CASA training for over 25 years. Peggy has served on the National CASA Curriculum Development Committee since 2009. She earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work and completed a Training Specialist Certification Program at the University of Washington. Peggy enjoys traveling, cooking, reading and spending time with friends and family.





Pauline Duke

Has been a Staff Guardian Ad Litem Specialist with the KC Dependency CASA Program since December 2013. Prior to joining the CASA Program she was a Children and Family Welfare Services social worker with Children’s Administration. Pauline received her bachelor’s in social welfare and master’s in social worker from the University of Washington, and has worked in the area of child welfare for the past 7 years. Pauline feels most passionate about ensuring that the children on her caseload have the services and supports they need grow up to be healthy, thriving individuals. Outside of work she most enjoys spending time with friends and family, and attending a good R&B concert.




Reyana Ugas

Has been a CASA specialist with the King County Dependency CASA program since April 2015. She has a Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from Saint Martin’s University. Reyana previously worked as a social worker with Children’s Administration specializing in Indian Child Welfare cases and also has extensive experience working with youth experiencing homelessness and youth in foster care. Reyana speaks Spanish fluently and is passionate about supporting CASAs in an effort to provide quality advocacy to children involved in the dependency system. Reyana enjoys baking, yoga and cheering on the Seahawks and Sounders.




Stephanie Richardson

Came to the CASA department in 2015, by way of the Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney, where she gained a decade of experience in both criminal and family law. She loves supporting our department’s many volunteers. She is constantly amazed at the caring and dedication they have for the children they serve. Personally, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her husband and her three children. She is happiest when watching them compete in their soccer matches and crew regattas.





Janet Horton

Has been a CASA Supervisor since 2000. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and a Juris Doctorate, (J.D.) from Seattle University School of Law. She came to CASA after working as a public defender at Society of Counsel Representing Accused Persons and after leaving private practice where she represented clients seeking Social Security Disability benefits. Janet is a member of the Juvenile Law and Indian Law sections of the Washington State Bar Association and remains passionate about advocating for children, families and other vulnerable persons.




Wai-Ping Li-Landis

Has been part of the Dependency CASA Program since 2007. She has previously worked at different positions with the superior court as a Family Law CASA supervisor, FCS social worker and UFC case manager before she became part of the CASA staff team. Wai-Ping has a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington. She really enjoys working with the volunteers and staff to advocate for best interests of children involved in the dependency court.




Laura Chunyk

Has been a paralegal in the Seattle division of King County Dependency CASA since April 2015.  She has a bachelor’s degree from Seattle University and a paralegal certificate from Highline College.  She is new to the area of dependency law.  Prior to her work at CASA she was a legal assistant for eight years in the criminal division of the King County Prosecutor’s office.  In her role as paralegal she assists three CASA attorneys, prepares daily court calendars and attends to the many emails which come into CASA’s group email box.  In her spare time she enjoys reading and physical fitness.




Elizabeth Berris

Is a Program Attorney but previously worked as the Staff Guardian ad Litem-Attorney for the CASA program for 3 ½ years. Beth received her B.A. in Political Science in 1996 from Stanford University. Beth's interest in child welfare issues sparked during her senior year while in her Children, Civil Rights, and Public Policy class and decided to pursue her law degree in order to fight for children's rights. In 2002, she graduated with Honors from the University of Washington School of Law and then served as an Assistant Attorney General representing CPS/DSHS in child welfare cases for 10 1/2 years prior to joining CASA. Beth stays busy with her kids, is an avid Sounders fan, and is always up for a hike or trip to the woods.




Deanna Watson

Joined the King County CASA Program in 1999 first as a supervisor at the MRJC, then in Family Treatment Court, and now in our Seattle office. She has a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington. Deanna has worked in child welfare since the early 90’s as a Caseworker and school based Social Worker in New York State, and as a Family Preservation Therapist, Intake Coordinator and Area Case Manager in Washington.




April Rivera

Began volunteering with the Dependency CASA Program in 2005. She was hired in 2007 as the staff guardian ad litem and transitioned into her current role as a CASA staff attorney in 2014. She believes passionately in best interest advocacy and enjoys working with CASAs in a team approach. April graduated from U.C. Berkeley in 1989 and the UW School of Law in 1992. If it is sunny weekend April is likely enjoying hiking somewhere off I-90 or driving her teenagers around.




Kathleen Martin

Is a King County Dependency CASA Program attorney who began her CASA career volunteering with the new King County Program from 1978 – 1983.  In 1993, she was lucky enough to both return to the Northwest (Vashon Island,) and continue pursuing her passion for child advocacy.  Since then, she has been a King County CASA volunteer, contract attorney, and since 2007, a CASA Program Staff Attorney.  Kathleen is a graduate of Indiana University Law School. 




Lori Irwin

Is a King County Dependency CASA Program attorney.  She has a BA in Economics and Business Administration From the University of Puget Sound and a JD from the Unviersity of Washington. Supporting the amazing volunteers and staff of the CASA program is one of the primary contributions Lori feels she can make as an attorney. Her most recent focus is on Indian Child Welfare and the needs of Tribal children and families. In her spare time, Lori and her husband travel, garden, remodel, and visit their grandchildren – sometimes all at once. She can swing a mean memo, or a hammer; believing technology and cordless tools are the great equalizers. Lori can most often be found at the King County Courthouse or the Jefferson Building in Seattle.




Kathryn Barnhouse

Came to work for the CASA program as a contract attorney in 1990 after a few years prosecuting minor crimes in smaller cities in Washington; she has been a staff member since 1993. Kathryn is a proud second generation University of Washington alumnus, graduating with a degree in History and Journalism in 1980 and also earning her JD in 1984 from UW. She and husband Scott (UW 1987) enjoy season tickets to Husky football games and as much travel as they can muster. Kathryn tries not to hold it against either of her young adult children that they chose not to attend UW! Kathryn also periodically takes cases as a volunteer CASA.




Toni Rodriguez

Originally from the Northern California area where she also received her education.  For the last four years, Toni lived in Las Cruces, New Mexico and now has settled in the Seattle area with her family.  In her spare time, Toni is doing a lot of sight-seeing, and enjoys trying to find the perfect restaurant.  She is also a huge movie buff.  She is excited to begin this new phase of her life working for the CASA Program.




Diane Fields

Diane is a native of Seattle, an avid Mariners fan win or lose, loves to travel, and wander  around a hardware   store. She is a dedicated mom of a very busy teenager, who is involved in roller derby, boxing and bass   guitar. Also, she is mom to two well-loved dogs, Brandy, a boxer mix and Buddy, a very bossy pug.  Diane is   thrilled for the new opportunity at CASA and being a member of the team.




Annie (Anne) Williams

Anne joined the CASA program in April, 2018. She has over 15 years of community work experiences both for the Department of Corrections (DOC) and in the local communities. Most recently, Anne has worked for the DOC, serving as a Correctional Program Manager for the last 10 years. She managed a volunteer program with over 700 volunteers, 4 visit programs, and religious programs at the Monroe Correctional Complex. She also served in different capacities at the DOC. Prior to her work at DOC, she worked with the Central Area Motivation Program to provide employment and other resources to low income families in Seattle and King County. 




Fred Pfistner

Fred Pfistner joined the CASA team in February 2018. He is the CASA supervisor for Family Treatment Court. Before joining CASA, Fred worked for Washington State Children’s Administration for 27 years. During that time, Fred worked in all of the DCFS programs, spending much of the time supervising CPS and CFWS. For a short time Fred was Acting Area Administrator at ICW and White Center offices. Fred earned his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington, graduating with honors in Family and Child Development. Fred values his partner, family, and Siamese and Oriental cats. In his spare time he travels, camps, river rafts-floats, and enjoys good movies. Fred was a King County Dependency CASA volunteer very early in his career. 




   Megan Notter

Megan has a Bachelor’s degree in Child and Family Development from the University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Human Development and Family Sciences from      Oregon State University. Prior to joining the CASA Program, I was a Social Worker with the Children’s Administration (now the Department of Children, Youth, and Families) for over 11 years. I worked directly with foster children struggling with mental health and behavioral issues for the majority of that time and then transitioned to the Licensing Division where I completed relative and licensing home studies for ICPC requests, as well as provided oversight of private foster care agencies. I have been a member of the King County CSEC (Commercially Sexually Exploited Children) Task Force since 2013. In my free time, I enjoy hiking, Pilates, and  spending time with friends.




   Jennie Cowan

Jennie joined us in September as the CASA Family Treatment Court Attorney. Previously, Jennie worked for the Office of the Attorney General where she was a dependency and termination trial attorney for DCYF for five years. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two children. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga, camping with her family, and watching jeopardy with her son..




Audrey Powers 

Audrey has over 10 years of experience providing services to children, families and vulnerable older adults.  She has recently worked for the City of Seattle as a case manager in the Vulnerable Adult program working with multi-disciplinary teams to provide for urgent needs and also working with partner agencies to gather and provide data to shape long term support.  Prior to her work with the city, Audrey was the program administrator at Hope Place and has also worked for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and subcontracted with State of Hawaii Child Protective Services.  She is a recent empty-nester looking forward to new adventures!  She loves traveling to visit faraway friends, listening to music (especially jazz and blues) and studying the bible, alone and with others. 




Caren Goldenberg

Caren is originally from New York and moved a lot as a kid (NY, IL, NJ and MA).  She fell in love with the Pacific NW as a teenager and attended the Evergreen State College as an undergrad.  Later she earned her Master’s in Public Health at UW.  She and her wife, Casey, have been married for ten years and live in Capitol Hill with two dogs and a cat. In her spare time she likes painting, going to flea and farmer’s markets, and trying new restaurants. 




Virginia Whalen

Virginia developed a passion for child advocacy during her time as a Jesuit Volunteer working with pregnant and parenting teenage mothers and their babies at a foster care facility in San Antonio, TX. Virginia has worked with vulnerable children in a variety of capacities, most recently as a social worker for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. She has a special interest in attachment and infant mental health. Virginia is a fierce advocate for children, thinking creatively to find solutions, and collaborating as a team. Virginia likes to fill her days with sunshine, long runs, and gratitude. Virginia holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Gonzaga University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Washington. Virginia also participated in the Child Welfare Training and Advancement Program. 




Michael Griesedieck

Michael joined CASA as program manager in March 2018. Prior to joining the CASA program, he worked as parent’s representation attorney in Kitsap County, followed by nearly 10 years as an Assistant Attorney General representing the Department Of Social and Health Services in child welfare cases in King, Lewis and Thurston counties.  While at the Washington State Attorney General's Office, Michael was a member of the SHS Headquarters Team advising Children's Administration on program and policy matters and later was a member of the management team in the Seattle Social and Health Services Division supervising a team of 6 attorneys.  Michael is a graduate of Seattle University Law School and Cornish College of the Arts.