Our Team


Kesha Shipe – Executive Director  

Kesha has been with CASA of the TN heartland for more than 6 years. First as a Board member and currently as Executive Director. She has a heart for service and a passion for helping and empowering the helpless, especially our children we serve. Kesha is active in our community by mentoring young women also by serving on several boards as well as volunteering with community organizations with bake sales, clothing drives, or fundraisers. Kesha has Associates Degree in Business and is currently pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Business.

Maura Vespie– Operations Director

Maura was born and raised in Florida for the first 13 years of her life but has called Oak Ridge, TN home ever since. As a young mother she jumped right into the workforce. At the age of 22 she took over as the Director of Programs within the Anderson County Probation Department. She went on to become the Project Coordinator to the Buildings and Grants Department at Anderson County Government. Her previous job up until taking the Director of Operations with CASA of the Tennessee Heartland Maura was the Vice President of Sales Support at A.I.W., Inc. Maura is excited about this opportunity with CASA of the Tennessee Heartland and hopes to help make a lasting impact on the kids of CASA.


Donika Lee-Scott County Advocate Coordinator

Donika is a Scott County native. Prior to her job at CASA of the Tennessee Heartland, she was the Office Manager and Director of Marketing at Brimstone Recreation, LLC where she was very instrumental in developing the Adventure Tourism plan for the county, which has made Scott County the adventure tourism capital of Tennessee. She hopes to bring that “for-profit” knowledge to the non-profit world here at CASA. She serves on many boards in Scott County including the Chamber of Commerce and Appalachia Habitat of Humanity for Scott and Morgan Counties. She has a Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. Donika cannot wait to grow and revitalize the program in Scott County for the greater good of every child in foster care.

Kathrynn Walker-Blount County Advocate Coordinator

Kathrynn has lived in Maryville for most her life. She graduated magna cum laude from Pellissippi State in 2016 and was a member of both Phi Theta Kappa and Gamma Beta Phi. Kathrynn has a background in social services, fostering children for nearly five years. She has a passion for giving back to the children in our community and has assisted the local foster care association with projects such as Angel Tree, community clothing closet, and other fundraising events. Kathrynn is very excited about her opportunity at CASA of the Tennessee Heartland and hopes to make CASA well-known throughout her community.

Board of Directors

  • Jeremy Shipp-President
  • Kent Strunk-Treasurer
  • Stephanie Zuleger-Secretary
  • John Willis-Immediate Past President
  • Karen Henson-President Elect Co-Chair
  • Ron Shelton-President Elect Co-Chair
  • Cathy Warmbrod
  • Kaia Gordon
  • Alayne Bowman
  • Brandon Pelizzari
  • Stephanie Applegate

If you are interested in serving on the CASA board, please feel free to contact any of the current board members or the administrative office at 865.425.0888.

Board Member Forms and Information

Board Member Application

Board Member Responsibilities

Board of Directors Pledge

Expectations of a Board Member

Mission, Vision and Purpose Statement

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