Meghan Morris

President

Meghan is a proud and lucky member of the Western Montana community for the past 26 years. With some brief excursions to other areas of the state (Helena and Havre), Meghan has felt fortunate to be able to return to Missoula, where she has been a nurse, a lawyer, an executive, and a musician. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science and Nursing from Montana State University in 1997, a Juris Doctor from the University of Montana School of Law in 2002, and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Montana in 2010. Meghan likes to say, ``I am 2-parts Grizzly and 1-part Bobcat.``
In her own words, Meghan states, ``I am blessed to have three children in my life and a husband, who also sees the challenges children face in his law practice. When we are not busy with all that life throws at you, we try to escape to the outdoors for a nice camping trip or hit the open road for a good old American road-trip.``

Why did you join the CASA Board of Directors?:
``As a health care professional and an attorney, I have witnessed and worked directly with children caught in the middle of impossible situations and challenges. They are truly the most innocent of victims. CASA provides a voice to these children and can help them navigate through the system and their world, and turn seemingly impossible barriers into something that is surmountable. The resiliency of children is amazing, but the children CASA supports need every possible resource we can give them. I am also always amazed at the generosity and caring nature of our community members who volunteer and being part of the CASA Board of Directors reminds me to do the same. Spread love and kindness.``

Andrew Thorness

Board Vice President

Andrew grew up in central Montana and moved to Missoula to attend college. He met his wife in 2005, they married in 2009, and he graduated college in 2011 with a degree in Accounting. After co-founding a successful Accounting business with his brother, Andrew moved on to work at Clearwater Credit Union (formerly Missoula Federal Credit Union). He moved through several positions before ending up as the Accounting Supervisor, where he currently serves.

Andrew has been involved with a few other non-profits in town, including Clark Fork School. His children attended Clark fork from about 2013 until now, and he has put in countless hours volunteering in maintenance projects, fundraising, and classroom help. Andrew has a passion for helping children grow into healthy, stable adults. He lives that passion by serving and giving to various non-profits whose focus is primarily on children.

Why did you decide to join CASA's Board of Directors?
``I was recommended to the CASA board by a former college classmate. Before that, I knew very little about the organization. Since then I have absorbed everything I can about our mission, work, and goals. I have made it my personal goal to do everything I can to support the program. The impact that this program has on our future, through the children it helps, cannot be overstated.``

Tom Kerr

Treasurer

Tom Kerr has worked in the financial services industry for over 25 years.  Currently he is a Senior Investment Specialist at WestPac Wealth Partners in Missoula, MT. Prior to that he was Chief Investment Officer and Director of Research of SGL Investment Advisors. He was also a Portfolio Manager and Equity Analyst for a $4 billion investment firm in Los Angeles, CA.   There he was the co-manager of the Smallcap Value strategy and RCB Smallcap Value Mutual Fund as well an Equity Analyst covering consumer products, business services, retail and media industries.   At RCB he was instrumental in developing an innovative and original research process and investment philosophy for the firm.  Prior to that he was a financial analyst at a large international bank as well as at one of the world’s largest corporations.   Mr. Kerr has also been a contributing writer to TheStreet.com and RagingBull.com.  Mr. Kerr is a CFA charterholder and obtained a B.B.A in Finance from Texas Tech University.  He serves on the board of CASA of Missoula, the Montana State Parks Foundation and is also a member of the Montana Snowbowl Ski Patrol.

Sarah Nurse

Board Secretary

Sarah Nurse is a native to Missoula and has been fortunate to live and work in Missoula nearly her entire life. She has been with Providence for over 27 years in a variety of roles beginning as a RN at St. Patrick Hospital and now serving as a Senior Program Manager in Clinical Analytics for the Providence St. Joseph Health Care System. She has used her education and experience in a variety of leadership positions in healthcare Quality and Safety as well as various hospital operational roles such as Senior Director of Surgical Services.
Sarah graduated from Big Sky High School in 1988 and Montana State University in 1992. Yes, a Missoula born proud Bobcat! In 2003, she completed a Masters in Healthcare Administration from University of Minnesota.
Sarah enjoys spending time with her family especially her two children ages 21 and 16. Her most favorite activities include hiking, camping, and playing in the water at any of our nearby lakes. In addition, she enjoys watching her kids compete in their chosen sports.

Why did you decide to join CASA's Board of Directors?
``I am honored to serve CASA of Missoula as a board member. I am passionate about supporting advocacy for children who are in situations of abuse and neglect in our own community. As an adult child of a mother who had mental illness and substance abuse, I appreciate the vulnerability of kids in difficult situations. Advocating for basic needs such as permanency of home is foundational to the overall well-being of each child and our community.``

Matt Gehr

Board Member

Matt was born in Missoula, grew up in Spokane, but moved quickly back to Missoula as a young adult. Missoula is his home and his community - one that he is grateful every day to be a part of. By day, Matt works as a mortgage lender at First Security Bank, but when he's not at work you can find him at one of the many fun events around town.

In the past, he has done board work with Zootown Arts Community Center, committee work with United Way of Missoula County, and volunteered in a variety of roles. Matt believes that good communities don't happen on accident and they don't happen without hard work.

Why did you join CASA's Board of Directors?:
``I decided to join the CASA organization because good communities take a lot of work. Investing in the future of Missoula is important to me and I believe that providing resources to people in need can lift entire communities. CASA does a wonderful job of advocating for children in positions of great need. By showing children that we care about them and their future, CASA can help to provide hope. That hope can, in turn, provide children with a reason to invest in themselves and their futures.``

Tracey Neighbor Johnson

Board Member

Tracey is a shareholder at Boone Karlberg, P.C. where she represents municipalities around the state, along with other businesses and individuals in a variety of civil litigation matters. In her free time, she enjoys spending time traveling with her husband Will and playing with her two young children, Liam and Amelia. Over the years, she has enjoyed serving the community as a member of Kiwanis, Church at the Gates and on the Habitat for Humanity of Missoula Board of Directors. She is excited to serve on the Board of Directors for CASA of Missoula and help support CASA's important mission.

Why did you join CASA's Board of Directors?:
``Having two small children myself, CASA's mission is dear to my heart. Serving children in a most difficult time in their young lives is very worthwhile and necessary work. The fact that CASA volunteers roll up their sleeves to advocate for children in the community is inspiring and helps motivate me to do my share to fulfill CASA's mission to provide consistent, long-term advocacy until every child resides in a safe, permanent home.``

Jacob Wright

Board Member

Jacob’s life began in 1982 in a small logging town in Oregon's Willamette Valley about half an hour from the coast. At the age of eleven Jacob’s family moved to Baker City on the far Eastern side of the state. Growing up in rural communities fostered a love for the outdoors where he spent most of his free time mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and exploring. From there, he attended college in Moscow, Idaho at the University of Idaho. As a freshman majoring in architecture he met his partner Kasey in an art class were she was pursuing her BFA. After they graduated from college they got married and moved to Missoula where they have been ever since.

As an intern Jacob’s career began in 2005 at OZ Architects where his most memorable project was the Missoula Readiness Center for the Montana National Guard. In 2013 he obtained his professional license and shortly after he and Kasey were blessed with their twins Abby and Gus. Two years later he transitioned to MMW Architects where he is now a Principal Architect. Here, Jacob has continued his passion for sustainable design which has lead to an emphasis in mass timber construction. Presently he is using mass timber on a project for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

When not at work Jacob and his family are continually exploring the outdoors and enjoying life. This last year has included their annual trips to the Oregon Coast, Eastern Oregon, and Sandpoint for the 4th, but they were also lucky enough to go on their first Smith River trip. Now with kids in first grade they are busy with gymnastics, ninja training, scouts and the occasional hunting trips on the weekend.

Why did you join CASA's Board of Directors?:
``CASA's mission ensures children live in healthy environments were they can thrive. This is why I am thrilled to be board member for this outstanding organization. Life experiences define who we are, and spending two months with our kids in the NICU has been a huge part of what has defined my life. Thankfully everything worked out for us, but during our stay, we saw firsthand how some of these very vulnerable infants did not have the support of a loving family. The doctors and nurses were amazing and did everything they could to support these infants and advocate for their welfare, but this only lasted while in their care. We do not know what happened to these babies. Hopefully, with a little luck, they are happy little six-year-olds like ours. In some cases, I am sure CASA advocates have touched their lives, giving a voice and protecting their best interests. This is what motivated me to join CASA and do everything I can as a board member to support this wonderful cause.``

Kim Klages Johns

Board Member

Paige Pavalone

Board Member

Originally from the Endless Mountain region of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Paige attended East Stroudsburg University where she obtained bachelor's degrees in both Political Science and Communication Studies. Paige served as a research assistant in Ghana, West Africa at that time studying women grassroots political participation. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2004. Paige then moved to Missoula, Montana and attended graduate school at the University of Montana, studying International Relations. Between 2007 and 2015 Paige worked in law enforcement and focused on areas including Cadet training, Search and Rescue operations and Public Information. In 2015, Paige worked as a contractor for Missoula Economic Partnership and the Missoula Airline Revenue Guarantee. In 2016 Paige took a position of Executive Director at Missoula Works where she continues to test new lines of revenue and expand employment opportunities to marginalized Missoulians. Paige and her partner, Cody, enjoy spending time fishing and camping with their three awesome girls, Delaney, 13, Makenna, 12 and Francesca, 5.

Why did you join CASA's Board of Directors?:
``The health and safety of Missoula's youth is of paramount importance. I value an upstream approach to helping families thrive while valuing the best interest of a child.``

Reid Perkins

Board Member

In his professional life, Reid is external legal counsel for a number of business throughout the state. Similar to the role that in-house counsel would provide for a single company, Reid works with multiple companies, owners, managers, and human resource specialists in a variety of fields to resolve business, contractual, and employment related matters for those clients. In that capacity, Reid has a very wide breadth of knowledge and expertise. In addition, Reid also litigates a variety of cases and has litigated throughout the state of Montana.

Reid graduated from The University of Montana Law School (J.D. with Honors), and is admitted to practice in the State of Montana, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, and the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Reid has been recognized on numerous peer-reviewed lists, including ASLA – Recognized Top 100 Litigation Attorneys®, Best Lawyers in America®, and Super Lawyers.

Why did you join CASA's Board of Directors?:
``I previously served on the board of Child Start, Inc., which is the local Head Start. I served as a board member for Head Start for a number of years, but no longer sit on that board. By virtue of that experience, I recognize the need for organizations like CASA. As an attorney, I have also attended many hearings in which I have witnessed the impact that drug and/or alcohol addiction can have on children as their parents are going through the court system. I have also seen many dependent neglect cases. CASA of Missoula helps those kids, who are some of our most vulnerable children. In addition, CASA may make the difference between those kids following in their parent's footsteps or learning a different way to live in society. That is a noble cause that should be supported by everyone.``

Jaime Rauch

Board Member

Jaime lives in Missoula with her husband and their rescue kitties. They own Big Sky Breakout, a company that specializes in live interactive escape rooms and puzzle hunt experiences for all ages. They love working with many organizations in Missoula, and Missoula families, to help find creative ways to play and puzzle together. Jaime has a degree in Visual Media Arts and Film Making from Emerson College in Boston, MA. After working for many years in the film industry as a camerawoman she and her husband fell in love with Missoula's beauty and its caring community and have been calling Missoula their home since early 2014. Jaime designs games, functions as a liaison for community events and private event organizing, and trains employees to be successful game masters. She is also on committee for the Missoula Downtown Association. Her and her husband are excited to jump into the Dan Fox Foster Care Training Program in early 2020. When she isn't busy with her work duties she enjoys hiking, travel, writing, dancing, live music, and exploring new corners of Montana with her friends and family.

Why did you decide to join CASA's Board of Directors?
``I decided to join the CASA board after a previous sitting board member approached me to apply. I was at first embarrassed that I did not know what CASA was. Soon I learned the importance of CASA's role in the community and at-risk children's lives. I was immediately committed to help in anyway I could, especially educating everyone I know about the organization. I was shocked by the serious difficulties these children face on a day-to-day basis, but was hopeful when I discovered that anyone can volunteer to help, by donating their time, whether that be as a CASA advocate, fundraising for CASA, or applying to the CASA board. I believe if I did not know what CASA was a few years ago then there are 1000's like me that could be educated about the reality and seriousness of helping children in need in their community. The CASA advocates that support and help children navigate the most difficult time of their lives, with love and support, are true angels. The children are our future community members. We need strong healthy children to foster a strong healthy community. It is all of our responsibility to ensure the children in this community have a voice and CASA advocates are just that. I am proud that I can help in the anyway that I can as a board member and a hopeful mother to be.``

Ann Douglas

Board Member

Dr. Ann Douglas is a psychologist and director of the Missoula Native Connections youth suicide prevention program with the All Nations Health Center. She is an enrolled member of the Blackfeet tribe located in Northern Montana. Dr. Douglas is passionate about working with youth and their families. She has been an advocate, therapist, and mentor to Native youth for over 15 years. Dr. Douglas holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Montana. She has experience working with tribal communities as well as urban Native communities. Dr. Douglas has taught parenting classes with Families First. She has also worked as a school counselor for the Missoula County Public Schools. Dr. Douglas enjoys spending time with her four children, touring Montana ghost towns, and she is an avid reader.

Why did you decide to join CASA's Board of Directors?
``I decided to join the CASA board because I support CASA's mission and would like to be an advocate for youth in Missoula.``

Interested in joining our Board of Directors? We’d love to hear more about you! Please fill out the application below and a member of our team will follow up with you accordingly.

Board Member Application

For current Board Members:

Board Member Bio Form