Oversees all departments and executive decision making for the organization.
As executive director since 2013, Jody Hanet has overseen the growth of Kids’ Orchestra from 65 elementary students to 800 elementary students, developing the program into the largest afterschool music and academic enrichment opportunity of its kind in the United States.
Jody has spent more than 25 years working as a music educator and grassroots music programming instigator in New Jersey, Arizona, and Louisiana. She has been a public and private school teacher and children’s choir conductor, including with the Phoenix Boys Choir and the East Baton Rouge Parish Junior Choir. Jody holds a Bachelor’s degree in vocal music education from LSU and a Master’s degree in Education Leadership from Bank Street College in New York City. She became a certified Kodaly specialist from the Kodaly Musical Training Institute in Hartford, Connecticut.
In addition to her work with Kids’ Orchestra, Jody serves on the Board of Directors for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce and for the A. C. Lewis YMCA in Baton Rouge. Jody recently was selected to serve on the arts, culture, and leisure committee of the Mayor’s transition team.
Dr. Louie Eckhardt holds a Bachelor of Music Education and Trumpet Performance from Hastings College, a Master of Music in Trumpet Performance from The Pennsylvania State University, and recently completed a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Trumpet Performance at Louisiana State University. From 2007 to 2012, Dr. Eckhardt taught instrumental music in Nebraska, serving as the Associate Director of Bands at Hastings High and Middle Schools, and the Director of Bands at Grand Island Senior High.
Dr. Eckhardt is a freelance trumpet player in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, specializing in orchestral music, chamber music, and early music. He currently serves as a member of the Monroe Symphony Orchestra, the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, and the Chimes Street Brass Quintet. He also appears regularly with the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, Rapides Symphony Orchestra, and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra.
Oversees the content, quality, and implementation of music curriculum for all sites.
Sam holds a Bachelor of Music Education from Murray State University and a Master of Music in Percussion from Louisiana State University. He has studied percussion with Tom Vanarsdel, John Hill, and Jim Corcoran. Sam is currently studying with Brett Dietz while finishing his Doctorate of Musical Arts in Percussion Performance at Louisiana State University.
Sam hails from Kentucky where he was active with the Kentucky Center for the Arts and the Governor’s School for the Arts as the Western Kentucky recruiter and as a teaching assistant. He currently performs as a freelance percussionist in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, specializing in contemporary percussion, drum set, and chamber music. He also teaches privately throughout the region.
Manages Site Coordinators, student artist enrollment, student artist behavior, correspondence with parents, and instruments and site supplies for traditional sites.
Jowava received her Bachelors of Science Degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Southern University and A&M College. She worked in the School and Home Settings around the San Antonio and Houston areas for 14 years assisting in child development. Her professional experience includes working with economically disadvantaged families, children with autism, mentally challenged students, children with speech-language delays, and facilitating conversations between doctors and parents.
She is a member of the Promised Land Baptist Church where she is a member of the Combined Choir and works with the youth department of her church. She is a dedicated member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. where she has been a member since 2000.
Manages Site Coordinators, student artist enrollment, student artist behavior, correspondence with parents, and instruments and site supplies for traditional sites; coordinates snack and nutrition for all sites; records Honors concerts.
Phil Shapiro earned his Master of Music degree from LSU and a Bachelor of Music degree from Tennessee Tech University. Outside of Kids’ Orchestra, Phil is a freelance trumpeter and a private instructor in the Baton Rouge area, including Parkview Baptist Fine Arts Academy, Denham Springs High School, and Juban Parc Junior High School.
Phil has performed with the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra, the Bryan Symphony Orchestra, the Brass Arts Quintet, the Chimes Street Quintet, and the Swing Street Big Band. Phil has also freelanced as a sound designer and sound engineer on productions of Stephen Soundheim’s “Into the Woods” and “Sweeney Todd,” Heather Hach’s “Legally Blonde,” Ken Ludgwig’s “Lend Me a Tenor,” and David Mamet’s “Oleanna.” Phil has recorded every Kids’ Orchestra Honors performance since May 2015.
Responsible for organizing and directing Kids’ Orchestra sites and camps which are funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant.
Dr. Brian Gallion holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in tuba performance from Louisiana State University, the Master of Music Degree in tuba performance from LSU, as well as the Bachelor of Music degree in music education from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
Prior to joining Kids’ Orchestra, Gallion held various teaching positions in secondary and higher education throughout Georgia and Louisiana. In addition to working with Kids’ Orchestra, Dr. Gallion currently holds the position of principal tuba with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra (Alexandria, LA), the Lake Charles (LA) Symphony Orchestra, and the Gulf Coast (MS) Symphony Orchestra. He is also an active chamber musician with the Chimes Street Brass Quintet and the Lautes Tuba Quartet.
He currently resides in Zachary, LA with his wife and their two children, Renée and Liam.
ELIZABETH BOUTTE ARGÜELLO - 21ST CENTURY PROGRAM MANAGER
Manages academic curriculum for sites and camps which are funded by the 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant.
Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Political Science from LSU and a Bachelor of Criminal Justice from Loyola University in New Orleans. After completing the Alternative Teaching Certification Program with the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, she taught 3rd and 5th grade in East Baton Rouge Parish public schools. Elizabeth also has experience with the LANDers after-school program in Denham Springs, serving at-risk children.
Elizabeth was born in Houston, Texas to a deeply rooted Louisiana family. After living in Norway for four years as a child, Elizabeth developed a love of culture, music, and learning, which she brought back with her to Louisiana where her family inevitably landed. She fulfills this passion for music as a member of the Young Artists’ Academy in Denham Springs, teaching piano lessons to children who lack financial resources to take private lessons.
Handles corporate and individual giving as well as Kids’ Orchestra’s keystone annual breakfast.
After graduating from Loyola University in Public Relations, Kristy has lead many professional fundraising campaigns for organizations such as Greater New Orleans Area United Way, Capital Area United Way, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center and The Runnels School. In the sales and training arena, Kristy has worked for Bristol Myers Squibb Company and Dale Carnegie Training. As an avid volunteer, she is skilled at bringing resources to help meet the needs of many organizations throughout the Baton Rouge area. She is a member of the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Handles public relations, social media, grant management, and community partnerships.
Jessica Ottaviano is a graduate of the LSU School of Music, earning a bachelor’s degree in music education. Prior to her role with Kids’ Orchestra, she has held development and programming positions at both the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. She is a graduate of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation Development Fellowship program and of the Emergent Method Next Wave Non-Profit Leadership course.
In addition to her work as an arts administrator, Jessica is an active freelance trombonist in the Baton Rouge community. She manages and performs in the local chamber-folk ensemble, Minos the Saint.
Handles scholarships and tuition, maintains office services.
Puja Thapa was born and raised in Nepal and moved to the United States in 2012 to further her education. She received her bachelor’s degree in Health Education and Promotion from Southeastern Louisiana University. During her last semester at Southeastern, she interned at Lexlee’s Kids, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the community through safety education.
Handles targeted development and marketing initiatives.
Nicole holds a Bachelors of Arts in Communication from the LSU Manship School of Communication, through the honors program. Her professional experience includes marketing and communication positions with Renewable Biofuels in Houston, TX, with the Academic Distinction Fund in Baton Rouge, and with Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre. She is a graduate of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation Development Fellowship program and of Forum 35’s John W. Barton Sr. Community Leadership Program.
Nicole is currently an active member of her church, serves on the Public Education Project Committee for Forum 35, is a member of the Public Relations Association of Louisiana, and a member of the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.