CASA of Contra Costa County Board 

CASA of Contra Costa County Board Members have the responsibility to ensure that the program does the best work possible in pursuing its mission of recruiting, training and supporting volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system. Board Members are expected to govern CASA of Contra Costa County while judiciously providing support for programs and initiatives (in concert with management staff).

The Board of Directors is comprised of no fewer than 7 and no more that 15 voting members who assume governance and fiduciary responsibility for the organization. Board Members are elected to a term of 3 years and may serve no more than 3 consecutive terms.

CASA of Contra Costa County seeks motivated and dedicated Board Members who will serve as knowledgeable ambassadors of our mission, make informed decisions, and provide the necessary support to advance that mission. Commitment to this concept is as desirable as is a commitment to attendance and meaningful productivity.

Board Member Job Description
Board Application


Dr. Phillip W. McLeod, President Dan Ashley              Janinne Franke
Malcolm Sher, Vice-President Dr. Judy Castro Mark Hughes
Mindy Murphy, Treasurer Kelly Connelly Robin Pearson
Jennifer Johnson, Secretary Sherina Criswell  


Dr. Phillip W. McLeod, President

Dr. Phillip W. McLeod is a retired consultant with over 30 years of experience in the areas of utility economics, economic damage assessments, and expert testimony. Dr. McLeod has advised clients on a wide range of market design issues in restructured energy markets. He has prepared expert reports and testified on a wide range of policy issues, developed complex damage models and testified in a number of civil litigation cases involving breach of contract in the energy markets, copyright infringement involving software developers, and anti-trust cases involving energy developers. Dr. McLeod has taught courses on managerial finance, economics and decision analysis at California State University at Hayward, and Saint Mary’s College. He was an original member of the California Power Exchange Board of Directors and a member of the World Affairs Council Board of Directors. Dr. McLeod holds a Ph.D. in Engineering Economic Systems and a Masters in Operations Research both from Stanford University and a B.E.E., cum laude from Pratt Institute. 

Malcolm Sher, Vice-President

Malcolm has served on the Board of Directors of CASA since 2001 and was its president for four years. He is passionate about the need for competent representation of foster children and youth in the juvenile justice system, and particularly those who have become “dependents”. Before joining the Board of Directors, Malcolm completed the entire CASA Volunteer Initial Training so he could fully appreciate the wonderful work done by the CASA volunteers extent to which the CASA volunteer, “independent” and separate from the lawyers and social workers, advocates only for that child or youth and is their “Voice in Court.” In 1998, the Contra Costa County Juvenile Justice-Delinquency Prevention Commission honored Malcolm with its Annual Juvenile Justice Award as “Outstanding Community Volunteer.” Born in Zimbabwe, (formerly Rhodesia) Malcolm obtained his law degree from London University in 1969 and practiced law in the U.K. before immigrating to California in 1975, where he litigated for thirty five years before becoming a full-time mediator. He has been married to his wife, Kathy since 1976. They have one son, a grandson and a sweet little Maltepoo dog.

Mindy Murphy, Treasurer

Mindy is a non-practicing CPA who received her public accounting experience with Deloitte & Touche LLP, and worked in accounting and assistant controller positions at Xerox Financial Services and Veterinary Companies of America. She earned her B.S. in Accounting from Binghamton University in New York. Mindy’s prior board experience includes having served for many years on both the Board and Executive Board of the Contra Costa Jewish Community Center and Beth Chaim Congregation. Originally from New York, Mindy has lived in the East Bay with her husband and two daughters for the last 32 years. Her interests include yoga, traveling, reading and being with friends and family. 

Jennifer Johnson, Secretary

Jennifer spent her educational career in a variety of areas including a first grade teacher for Pittsburg Unified, Director of Instructional Technology for Lincoln Unified in Stockton and as an adjunct professor at Delta Community College in Stockton. Seeing firsthand the importance of working with underrepresented youth, led Jennifer to have a passion for advocating for children. She earned her BA in Elementary Education from the University of Montana and her Masters in Education from Cal State East Bay. Jennifer lives with her husband and two daughters.

Dan Ashley

Dan is an anchor of ABC7 News at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. In his 30 years on television, Dan has reported on a wide-range of issues and events that affect our lives. As a journalist, Dan has covered stories all over the Bay Area, the country, and the world. Dan reported from Poland on the "March of the Living" with Bay Area holocaust survivors, and before that, reported from Marine Corp basic training at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. Other notable assignments include reporting live from New Hampshire and South Carolina for the state primaries and from Iowa for the state's caucus. As an active member of the community, Dan serves on the boards of directors of many other worthy organizations in addition to CASA including The Commonwealth Club, President of the Bam Music Foundation, Friends of Camp Concord, The Bay Area Red Cross, The Oakland Symphony, The Contra Costa County Crisis Center, The First Tee, among others. Additionally, he hosts the annual "Dan Ashley's Friends of Camp Concord Golf Tournament" which raises money to send under-served youngsters to summer camp. Dan also created the non-profit "Rock the CASA Foundation" to raise money through an annual concert to benefit the CASA organization. Dan is a graduate of the University of North Carolina with degrees in English and Speech Communication.

Dr. Judy Castro

Judy is a Leadership and Change Management Consultant. With over 25 years of demonstrated success in leading organizational teams to achieve their strategic objectives, Dr. Castro brings a diverse set of skills to any client engagement. Her experience in higher education, telecommunications, financial sector and bio-manufacturing are invaluable. Her core competencies include leadership development, strategic planning, team building, and conflict resolution. Dr. Castro is principal of the firm and her goal is to help organizations come to understand that leadership can also be developed by strengthening the connection between, and alignment of, the efforts of individual leaders and the systems through which they influence organizational operations. Her most recent assignments include engagements with PG&E’s Professional Academy supporting a company-wide Safety Initiative and curriculum review and development of the Supervisor Leadership Program. Dr. Castro has also done work for the Hispanic State Chambers of Commerce and the Center for Judicial Excellence. She has held various leadership positions in the public and private sectors, including the University of San Francisco, Alumni Board of Directors. She is presently the Vice-President of  the Board of Directors for CASA, State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center. She holds an Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco and Certificates of Completion in the Purchasing Executive Program and in Management Development for Entrepreneurs from UCLA Anderson School of Management. Dr. Castro was born in El Salvador, Central America. She is a naturalized US Citizen and she is fluent in the Spanish language.

Sherina Criswell

Sherina “Rina” Criswell was born and raised in San Francisco, in the Bayview Hunters Point community, currently living in Contra Costa County. She studies Social Work at Eastern Gateway Community College, and will be graduating in December 2021. Her goal is to earn her Master’s Degree in Social Work. She has been newly-elected Vice President for the Online Campus for over 48,000 students, and is a member of the Beta Phi Kappa Honor Society and The National Association of Black Social Workers, Bay Area Chapter. She is responsible for starting the first ever Black Student Union (BSU) at Eastern Gateway Community College. Sherina also is an active coach with Bay Area Girls On the Run, an empowerment organization directed toward girls from low-income families. Sherina has been a grassroots community worker throughout the Bay Area. She has worked at San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD), Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD), and the City of Concord Parks and Recreation Department. While working for the San Francisco Health Department as a Case Manager, she learned to become an advocate for children for the Black Infant Health Improvement Project, which focused on reducing infant mortality and healthy living within the Black community. With over 20 years of advocating experience, no issue is too big or too small when it comes to serving our children in the community. 

Janinne Franke

Janinne is a retired Cyber Security Specialist with over 30 years of experience in the IT Industry specializing in the oil and gas industry. Janinne was born and grew up in Zimbabwe, went to college at Rhodes University in South Africa, gaining a degree in Computer Science and Accounting. Awarded a Gold Fields bursary resulted in working in the mining industry implementing software at the mines and integrating the disparate systems into the Head Office Financial reporting. Janinne then moved into ERP software implementation and spent the majority of this time implementing and consulting for SAP. Specializing in Finance and Controlling modules resulted in implementing SAP in 17 companies globally including sites in Pakistan, the UK and Kenya. In 2005 she moved to Chevron and took on the management of the Project Management Office in Cape Town for their Eastern Hemisphere region. Janinne was transferred to the US in 2008 and moved into an Advisory position and finally into Cyber Security. She was an active member of the Black Employment Network at Chevron, on the Board of Cake4Kids and part of the Grant Committee of East Bay Impact 100

Mark Hughes 

Mark has served the Phillips 66 San Francisco Refinery in Rodeo since 2006 as Manager of Public Relations, where he continues a long and distinguished career in government, media, and community relations. Over the past couple of decades, Mark has made community service and steady leadership a guiding principle of his career – and his life. He dedicated eight years to the Martinez Planning Commission; prior to that he was elected to the Martinez Unified School District’s Board of Trustees, where he served for five years. Mark is also a Past President of the East Bay Leadership Council. Currently, on behalf of the Leadership Council, Mark chairs the “Social Responsibility Task Force” whose mission it is to “strengthen the partnerships between for-profit and not-for-profit businesses.” While at the Phillips 66 San Francisco Refinery, Mark has developed many exceptional community outreach programs, including the annual “Walk of Honor for Our Veterans”, and the John Swett High School Careers Academy Charity Golf Tournament. Both events have raised well over one million dollars. So impressive are Mark’s leadership efforts that, for 2013, Phillips 66 is recognized as the East Bay’s “Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist”. Mark earned a BA in economics from UC Davis. He lives in Martinez with his wife, Cha-Cha and two children, Hunter and Marcella. 

Robin Pearson

Robin is a founder and owner of Pearson & Schachter. She is an experienced trial lawyer effectively litigating cases involving a broad range of commercial matters including contracts, unfair business practices, real estate, insurance, employment, professional liability, construction disputes and creditors rights in federal bankruptcy. She is also an accomplished negotiator with extensive mediation experience. She has authored articles on real estate, employment and insurance issues. Robin has served as President of the Contra Costa County Bar Association (CCCBA, the fifth woman and first person of color to hold this position), and has been Chair of the CCCBA Diversity Committee since 2002. She served as a member of the Board for Family Support Services of the Bay Area, and currently serves on the Board of the National Kidney Foundation (and is a kidney transplant recipient), and is the current Diversity Liaison to the State Bar Litigation Section Executive Committee. Robin is a Past President of Black Women Lawyers of Northern California and is currently Vice Chair of the State Bar Council Access & Fairness (COAF). Ms. Pearson received her BA from the University of Virginia and her JD from Boston College Law School.