CASA of Northeast Oklahoma Undergoes Planned Leadership Transition

CASA of Northeast Oklahoma is undergoing a planned executive transition this summer. After more than 20 years as Executive Director, Angela Henderson, CASA’s current Executive Director, is leaving her post, Assistant Director Emily Bowling has been named Interim Executive Director.

Bowling is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science: Child and Family Services and a minor in Business Administration. She began her career with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, serving as an intake child welfare caseworker and a permanency caseworker. She was hired by Henderson in February 2012 and was promoted to Assistant Director in 2014. She has been instrumental in the expansion efforts into unserved and underserved counties in the region.

Henderson began serving the organization as Executive Director on March 15, 2004. Henderson’s son had just been diagnosed on the autism spectrum and she was looking for a way to contribute to the well-being of children while also being available to care for the needs of her own child.

“Angela has done so much for CASA of Northeast Oklahoma in her 20 plus years of service, including putting together a very competent team to take over.  The Board wishes Angela the best in her new endeavor.   The Board also looks forward to and fully supports Emily as Interim Executive Director,” said Julie Sellmeyer, Board Chair, CASA of Northeast Oklahoma. 

 “I remember my first day on the job,” Henderson said. “We were in four cramped offices at the front of Bill Shaw’s law office on First Street. Georgi Bruce and Mary Klassen, both long-time supporters and board members, hired me to run the program and I set to work doing whatever I could to help children. It has been a career well-spent, I believe.” Today, CASA of Northeast Oklahoma is located in Doctor’s Park in Claremore, just south of Hillcrest Hospital. Henderson has grown the organization from a small organization serving one judicial district and three counties to a regional program serving three judicial districts, six counties, and a tribal court.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to put into words what Angela has meant to and the impact she has made on the growth and success of CASA of Northeast Oklahoma, providing a voice to children in need.  I look forward to carrying on the CASA mission to speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children in northeast Oklahoma as the Interim Executive Director,” said Bowling.  “Personally, I have worked with Angela for the past 12 years.  I know that I speak for the CASA staff and volunteers when I say thank you and wish her the greatest success in her new position.” 

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Executive Director of CASA of Northeast Oklahoma,” Henderson said. “I will continue to support CASA with my time and monetary contributions. It is a fantastic, well-run nonprofit organization and I have no doubt that will continue under the leadership of Emily Bowling and the current Board of Directors. I’m so grateful for the community’s support of this organization. We’ve done good work together and the children of northeast Oklahoma are the better for it.”

About CASA of Northeast Oklahoma:  Incorporated in May 1995, CASA (then Tri-County CASA) was formed serving Rogers, Mayes, and Craig County.  It is now a regional program serving six counties (Craig, Delaware, Mayes, Ottawa, Rogers, and Washington) in Oklahoma, plus the Shawnee Tribal Court.  CASA of Northeast Oklahoma envisions a world where every abused and neglected child has a CASA volunteer appointed to represent his or her best interests, a world where all children have a safe, permanent home and where children experience improved wellbeing.

For more information about volunteer opportunities and how you canhelp “Change A Child’s Story”, please visit or call (918) 923-7276.  To make a donation by mail, please write it to CASA of Northeast Oklahoma, 1222 N. Florence Ave., Suite A, Claremore, OK 74017.

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