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Our Team

The people of CASA in SLO County

Members of the Central Coast community working to make the lives of abused and neglected children in the County Court system better, by standing on their behalf.

board members

Marina Bernheimer

Executive Director

Having lived and worked in the Sierra Nevada foothills in Northern California for the last 22 years, Marina recently relocated to Morro Bay with her family during the summer of 2022. 

For the last five years, Marina served as the Executive Director of Child Advocates of Nevada County, which administers three programs, one of which is Nevada County CASA.  

Marina is deeply passionate about CASA’s mission to provide critical support and advocacy for some of our community’s most vulnerable children. She welcomes the opportunity to continue her work in support of foster youth in the role of Executive Director of SLO-CASA.

Marina’s current position reflects the culmination of a thirty-year career dedicated to supporting children and families, including farm workers, low-income families, and foster youth. Her path to this work began when she earned a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) in 1994 with a concentration in Child and Family Services.

Marina is deeply grateful to have spent her career doing the very thing she feels most passionate about, which is ensuring that all children have opportunities to grow in safe, healthy and loving homes.

Over the last three decades, Marina has acquired the skills and experience necessary to be a thoughtful and effective leader in the nonprofit sector with a long track record of success.           

Marina currently lives in Morro Bay with her husband and teenage son and is pleased to live close to Santa Barbara where her daughter attends college.

Dr. Gilbert H. Stork

President

Choosing the field of education, Gil taught math and coached at SLOHS for three years, then joined the faculty at Cuesta College in 1967. This began a fifty-one year career at Cuesta serving in many capacities including: math teacher, football coach, dean of sciences and mathematics, vice-president of student services, and superintendent/president. During that time he completed his doctoral studies in educational administration at Brigham Young University.

He retired in June of 2018 after nine years as president and was named President Emeritus by the Cuesta College Board of Trustees. Active in the community, Gil has served on many local boards of directors including Friends of Prado, Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, SLO Chamber of Commerce, Casa Solana, Community Counseling Center, and the Rotary Club of SLO. Over the last forty years, Gil has raised over $3 million for local non-profit organizations serving as a volunteer auctioneer.

Gil and his wife, Janice, have been married since 1964 and have five adult children and ten grandchildren.

Gil grew up in San Luis Obispo attending local schools graduating from SLOHS. He attended Cal Poly SLO receiving his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mathematics. Gil was also a student-athlete playing football at Cal Poly and was a survivor of the 1960 plane crash that took the lives of sixteen of his teammates.

Rudy Bachmann

Vice President

Rudy grew up in SLO attending Cuesta College and graduating from Cal Poly in Business.    He is founder and president of Specialty Construction where he serves with a team of professionals providing diversified construction and development services throughout central California.

He has a passion for young people and became an Advocate in 2014.     Through advocating he has experienced the unique mission of CASA for foster youth first hand, and has seen the real difference one person can make in a child’s life.     Rudy looks forward to supporting and growing  CASA for greater service and life changing impact to the foster youth of SLO County.

Rudy and his wife Jackie keep busy with a blended family of 5 young adults and enjoy all things family, hiking, cycling, and are passionate for our community and social change issues.

Karen Heisinger

Secretary

Karen has worked in the financial industry for over 35 years. She earned her BS in Business Management and her Executive MBA from the University of Phoenix. She also graduated from Pacific Coast Banking School at the University of Washington. Karen enjoys cycling, cooking and spending time with her family. She is married with four children.

Kelli Headshot

Kelli Blackburn

Treasurer

Kelli Blackburn is currently the Market President of Bank of the Sierra’s San Luis Obispo County region. As Market President she oversees a team of commercial and small business relationship managers and credit support staff.

Prior to joining Bank of the Sierra Kelli worked for various Community Banks in the San Luis Obispo area including Coast National Bank, American Perspective Bank, and Premier Valley Bank. Kelli has over 15 years’ experience in Banking, primarily serving in commercial lending capacities. She is currently attending the Pacific Coast Graduate School of Banking.

Kelli is a native of the San Luis Obispo California area and is a graduate of California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Bret Colhouer

Board Member

As the founder of Simply Clear Marketing, Bret Colhouer has over 15 years
of experience in the marketing and advertising industry and leads an
experienced marketing team dedicated towards delivering tremendous value to San Luis Obispo County businesses.

Through dedication to growing with evolving technologies, Bret remains passionate about building a successful, local community using client-centered relationships combined with innovative marketing strategies. He enjoys life on the Central Coast with his beautiful wife, Lani, and his 3 children, Cheyanne, Lily and Makena. In his free time, he plays pickleball, golf and soccer.

Dillon McGill

Board Member

Dillon McGill is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and member of the Financial Planning Association. Serving clients at Wacker Wealth Partners in San Luis Obispo, CA and the surrounding communities.

Emily Lopez

Board Member

Emily was raised in Atascadero and has a deep connection to the San Luis Obispo area. She graduated from Humboldt State University with a Bachelors in Psychology before relocating to the Bay Area to complete a Master’s Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. She holds a role as Director, Talent Development at Box, Inc. Emily is excited to support CASA in advocating for the youth in our community.

Neil Hebert

Board Member

Neil is a morning show anchor for KSBY News. He moved to the Central Coast in February of 2020 and quickly fell in love (who doesn’t?) with the area

The son of two educators, Neil has witnessed the struggles children endure that many outside the education system never see. Neil grew up with a passion for helping children live the best lives they can, and he will continue pursuing that passion working alongside the staff at CASA.

Neil and his fiancée, Lauren, enjoy exploring and taking in all the Central Coast has to offer.

Thomas ("TA") H. Anderson

Board Member

Thomas graduated from Whitman College with a BA in History and ultimately earned his MS at Cal Poly SLO in Agriculture / AgBusiness.  Now the Regional President for 1st Capital Bank in SLO, TA manages a team of dedicated relationship managers and bankers focused on delivering superior customer experiences to the businesses and business owners in the SLO market.  He looks forward to leveraging his financial background for CASA’s benefit.

TA and his bride, Susie, met at Cal Poly and subsequently moved back to the Central Coast in the early 2000s.  They live in Paso Robles and have 1 child – Samantha (Sammie).  Sammie is currently a freshman in the College of Engineering at Cal Poly SLO.  The fourth member of the family is Sir Winston, a 6-year-old Yorkie who loves the mountains and beach and running for miles at a time!  The family enjoys the camping, hiking, and the outdoors.

Nancy Shokohi

Board Member

Nancy is a former partner of the Los Angeles based law firm Selman Breitman, LLP where she focused on insurance coverage, claims analysis, litigation, and real estate while serving as the head of the firm’s Environmental Litigation Department. Nancy has significant experience with governing bodies in her role as legal counsel to numerous Homeowner Associations. She is a graduate of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and Loyola Law School. Nancy worked with the District Attorney’s office in San Luis Obispo to initially organize and implement the Anti Human Trafficking Task Force from approximately 2015-2020.

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.

LEgacy board members

LINDA RAWLINGS

Honorary Board Member

Tom Dobyns

Honorary Board Member

Staff

Daniella Barion

Operations Director

NICOLE PEROTTI

Program Director

Katrina Viola Cathcart

KAtrina Viola Cathcart

Development Director

Rayne Rice

Advocate Supervisor

Julia Thompson

Advocate Supervisor

PAT MILJANICH

Advocate Supervisor

laura ochoa

Training Manager

SONJA SAVERY-ORTON

Program Associate

MICHELE CHAVEZ-MICHEL

Administrative & Development Assistant

CINDY NGUYEN

Advocate Supervisor

sarah perry

Education Advocate

Rhonda Sims

Event Coordinator

Fonda Winslow

Advocate Supervisor

Esteban Medina -Galvin

Advocate Supervisor

volunteer Staff

Christy Gabler

Office Support

Adrienne Walker

Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator

Allyson Krugh

Office Support

Elaine Wilcox

Office Support

MARLA WILLIAMS

Office Support