Board of Directors
Tracy Simmons, MA, JD – President
Tracy Simmons is the Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She received her J.D. from Golden Gate University School of Law and her M.A. in Education from San Diego State University.
Tracy has worked in law school admissions, financial aid and diversity initiatives for over 19 years. Prior to attending law school and prior to working in law school administration, Tracy worked as a social worker for FamiliesFirst, Inc. in Northern California.
Tracy has been active with the Law School Admission Council on a variety of committees. She is currently serving on the Board of Trustees. Past committee work includes Services and Programs Committee twice, being a member of the Forum Review Work Group, Diversity Initiatives Committee, Finance and Legal Affairs Committee twice, served as a member of the Annual Planning Work Group and served as chair of the New Admission Personnel and Faculty Members Workshop Planning Group.
Previously, she served as the Law Chair for the Access Group Advisory Board and the Access Group Advisory Committee. Additionally, Tracy serves as a consultant for the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Achieving Success in the Application Process program for over 9 years. She is a member of Association of American Law Schools (AALS), recently completed her second term as Chair of the Pre-Legal Education and Admissions to Law School Section and is Chair Elect for the Part Time Section. Tracy has also served on the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Consumer Information and Law Student Information Task Force.
Tracy has serves on the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) since March 2014 and is currently the Board President.
Benush Venugopal, MBA, ME – Vice President
Benush is a Principle with Deloitte and serves as lead partner of Deloitte’s California and Washington strategic accounts. He specializes in large scale technology enabled government transformation initiatives and is instrumental in delivering a number of award winning and successful client engagements. He is passionate about programs that support vulnerable children and has led a number of events to raise money to support at-risk kids.
Benush holds an MBA and a Masters in Economics. He lives in Sacramento with his wife and two daughters.
Eric Jones, CPA – Treasurer
Eric Jones is the Office Managing Partner of the Sacramento Office at CohnReznick, LLP—a national accounting, tax and advisory firm. He has more than 16 years of public accounting experience. Eric specializes in providing domestic tax, financial accounting, and tax consulting services in several industries including: multi-family affordable housing, commercial real estate, business real estate, not-for-profit, and hospitality. He manages Federal and state compliance with partnership tax allocation requirements; tax planning; and tax compliance reviews for partnerships and corporations. Eric also has significant experience in planning and supervising tax engagements for multi-tiered partnerships, limited liability companies, and syndicated real estate funds.
Eric is passionate about volunteering and helping in the community and he supports organizations such as WEAVE, The Child Abuse Prevention Center and Habitat for Humanity to name a few. He feels it is critical to give the children of CASA a voice that they may not have otherwise.
Diane Koellen – Secretary
Diane Koellen is the President of White Star Construction Inc., a commercial general contractor in the Sacramento area established in 1995 that is committed to constructing quality projects. White Star has been the contractor of choice for such projects as The Falls Event Center Elk Grove, Paychex Headquarters, Level One Communications/Intel, GEICO Insurance, California Correctional Peace Officers Memorial and the California Department of Corrections. White Star has business and professional clients that range from high profile technology companies to local entrepreneurs.
Feeling that it is important to give back to our community and help others, Diane has been involved with several local non-profit organizations. She is a past Board Chair for Make a Wish of Sacramento & Northeastern California, a founding member of the Circle of Red for the American Heart Association, a 100+ Women Who Care member, a Red Rover volunteer, a Pet Partners volunteer and a Sutter Paws on Call volunteer.
Diane has been a CASA Board member since 2018 and is currently the Board Secretary. Diane believes that CASA provides structure, guidance and mentorship in the life of an at risk child; something she strongly supports.
Diane has Bachelor of Science degrees in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and has a California Contractor’s B license since 1995
Jeanne Reaves entered the banking field when professional opportunities for women were few. From a secretarial position at Wells Fargo, she soon showed the desire and aptitude to succeed. She welcomed the challenge of learning new responsibilities and forming new relationships. In her tenure at Wells Fargo, Jeanne’s role advanced from secretary to Note Department Supervisor to Assistant Vice President/Loan Team Leader, to Assistant Vice President/Commercial Loan Officer and finally to Assistant Vice President/Assistant Manager.
The Bank of Alex Brown recruited Jeanne in 1983. There, she rose from Vice President/Loan Administrator, to Senior Vice President/Loan Administrator, to Executive Vice President/Loan Administrator. In 1989, The Bank of Alex Brown merged into First Interstate Bank, where Jeanne served as Vice President/Real Estate Manager, covering territory from Bakersfield to the Oregon and Nevada borders. She joined River City Bank in 1990 as Senior Vice President/Credit Administrator. River City Bank’s board of Directors appointed Jeanne President and CEO in 1998.
Jeanne was the CEO of River City Bank for a decade; under Jeanne’s leadership, the bank’s assets grew to one billion dollars, making River City the largest locally-owned bank in the Central Valley. Equally adept in the board room and the break room, Jeanne fosters a familial company culture. She personally demonstrated that every employee, regardless of position, was valued as a contributor. Following her example, the bank became a respected leader in sound business practices and in Sacramento’s philanthropic community.
Her accomplishments and prominence in corporate and nonprofit sectors have been widely recognized and honored. Named one of Sacramento Magazine’s “Fifty Most Powerful People” and honored by the Sacramento Metro Chamber as “Sacramentan of the Year” in 2009, Jeanne draws upon her vast business talents to help many organizations succeed.
Mitchell is a Practice Area Director with Public Consulting Group (PCG), a company that provides expert management consulting services to the public sector. PCG focuses on government clients and supports agencies and departments in delivering services that improve the outcomes for those they serve. An international company, Mitchell’s Practice Area is based and served out of the Sacramento office for the past 21 years.
A lifelong Californian and resident of the Sacramento area over the past 25 years, Mitchell understands the community value that CASA and similar programs provide to underserved youth. A firm believer that outcomes are positively impacted by active participation, Mr. Dobbins and PCG have been CASA sponsors for over seven (7) years and recently joined the CASA Board of Directors.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from California State University, Stanislaus and Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degrees from Georgetown University (Washington D.C.) and ESADE Business School (Barcelona, Spain). Mitchell is married and has one daughter.
Lauren Barton is an independent solutions architect specializing in large scale public sector automation projects, primarily in Health and Human Services. She has worked in the Information Technology field for over 40 years. Previously Ms. Barton was the director of Child Welfare Services/ Case Management System, an automated solution used by California county case workers to manage child welfare cases. In that role, she was able to ride along with several Case Workers and experience firsthand the challenges foster children face. Ms. Barton strongly believes it is the community’s responsibility to give every child the opportunity to succeed.
Ms. Barton holds an MBA. She lives in Sacramento and is the proud grandmother of two beautiful and talented grandchildren.
Michael Alcalay serves as the President and Creative Director overseeing all campaign development for Alcalay Communications. Alcalay opened his agency in 1998 specializing in public relations and communications. Since then, the business has grown into a full-service marketing, advertising and communications agency. Since the company’s inception, Alcalay has worked with local, state and national companies, nonprofit agencies and government to provide an array of marketing and communication services. He is a
Alcalay is passionate about his service to the community. He has served on and held leadership positions on several boards of directors including the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Sacramento Business Roundtable, Mission Oaks Recreation and Park District, Families First, San Juan Unified School District FTF Committee, The Sacramento Zoological Society, Congregation Beth Shalom, CASA, among many others.
Michael has served on the Sacramento Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board since October 2017. Helping to create a better environment for kids that have had a harder time getting a start in life is something he cares deeply about.
Alcalay holds a BA Degree in Business Communications. He and his wife live in Sacramento and have three grown children.
Alan Wolf is the Division Manager leading the Sacramento Division of Swinerton Builders. He made the move to join Swinerton from the Midwest in 2003 with his wife of 33 years and two daughters. Alan has worked in the construction industry since 1983 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign Urbana.
Under his leadership, Swinerton has successfully completed several high-rise construction projects in the Sacramento region including The Sawyer Hotel at the Sacramento Downtown Commons CalSTRS and the 2020 Natomas Gateway building. As a dedicated construction professional, Alan strives to enhance the Sacramento Division with exceptional service to clients while becoming their trusted partner.
He has been active with many local organizations including: Sierra Forever Families, American Heart, Make a Wish, Sacramento Tree Foundation, Region Builders and Design Build Institute of America (DBIA).
Alan is very excited to be a part of the CASA Board, helping children in long-term foster care to have a voice. Alan hopes his efforts at CASA will help to afford other children and adults alike the opportunity to experience adventures and endeavors that only a family can bring. Alan states “I have been very fortunate in my life and want to do what I can to give back to my community.”
Elizabeth Leet Jackson, Esq.
Bio coming soon.
Bio coming soon.
Bio coming soon.
Vince Jacobs, Esq.
H. Vincent Jacobs graduated from California Polytechnic State University in 1965 with a B.S. in Mathematics and in 1967 with an M.A. in Education with a concentration in mathematics. Vince graduated from McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific in 1971 with a J.D. degree and became a member of the California State Bar in January 1972.
Vince was a founding member in 1973 of Hiroshima, Jacobs, Roth and Lewis, a law firm specializing in civil litigation, business transactions, estate planning, probate, and family law. Vince practiced in the areas of criminal trials, bankruptcy, estate planning and family law until he limited his practice to family law when he became a Certified Family Law Specialist, California Board of Legal Specialization in 1981. He retired from this practice to become a solo practitioner in 2007 specializing in mediation, collaborative practice, and privately compensated judging, all limited to family law. He served as a Temporary Judge in Family Law for the Sacramento County, Placer County and El Dorado County Superior Courts for more than twenty years until 2017. He became an Inactive Member of the California State Bar in January 2018.
While practicing law Vince assumed many leadership positions, including President of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists, Chair of Family Law Advisory Commission, California Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California, and Chair of the Family Law Executive Committee, Sacramento County Bar Association,
Vince has been active with various boards including Trustee and Treasurer of Sacramento Country Day School, President of the Alumni Association of California Polytechnic State University, Board member of McGeorge Law School Alumni Association, and Chair of the Sacramento Public Library Foundation.
Vince has been a frequent lecturer on family law in Continuing Legal Education Seminars.
Vince has been honored as Alumni of the Year at California Polytechnic State University, Super Lawyers of Northern California 2007 to 2018, and recipient of the Sacramento County Bar Association Kobayashi Award for “outstanding contributions to the Sacramento Family Law Legal Community, most specially for the creation of the listserv, which has revolutionized the way we practice with each other”.
Currently, Vince has been on the Board of Directors of the Riverwood Homeowners Association for several years and has served as President for three years, and is on the Board of Directors of The Community College Foundation.
Vince lives in Sacramento County with his wife Cecilia Delury. He has three grandchildren, and enjoys being grandpa with Cecilia’s five grandchildren.
Carol Noreen, JD – Executive Director
Carol has served as executive director of CASA Sacramento since June 2006. She is a graduate of UC Davis and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She has practiced law in both the public and private sectors, with emphases in insurance and employment litigation. Carol is a former fellow of Sierra Health Foundation’s Health Leadership Program, Class X. She currently serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children and young adults in the foster care system.
Carol is committed to focusing the agency’s efforts in the areas of permanency, educational advocacy and preparing our young people for safe and supported transitions to adulthood.