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.

Contact Jody at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 102.


Directs administration for all Kids’ Orchestra program sites.

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.

Contact Brian at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 111.



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.

Contact Sam at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 103.


Provides ongoing professional development and assistance to teaching artists, oversees community performances. 

Jena Vangjel holds a Master of Music degree in Trumpet Performance from The Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA, and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory. She has performed with the New World Symphony, the Alabama Symphony, the Charleston Symphony, the Louisiana Philharmonic, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, among others.

Vangjel has been a music educator for many years, teaching in a variety of settings across the country. She is incredibly passionate about community engagement and education and, in addition to her work at Kids’ Orchestra, works extensively with Street Symphony, a Los Angeles-based non-profit that brings high-level classical performances to the city’s most underserved citizens. Vangjel is a founding member of the Los Angeles Brass Quintet and is a member of the internationally acclaimed Fountain City Brass Band.

Contact Jena at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 107.



Manages Site Coordinators, student artist enrollment and behavior, correspondence with parents, and instrument and supply distribution; coordinates snack and nutrition for all sites; manages student transportation. 

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.

Contact Jo at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 105.


Manages Site Coordinators, student artist enrollment and behavior, correspondence with parents, and instrument and supply distribution; directs all technology.

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.

Contact Phil at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 104.


Handles professional development for staff with the Kids’ Orchestra 21st Century Community Learning Center grant, as well as developing and overseeing the curriculum for participating students. 

Stephanie is a 3 time graduate of the LSU College of Education, earning a bachelor’s degree in History Education and master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction & Administration and Supervision.  She has over 20 years of experience in the field of education as a teacher and school administrator.  Prior to joining Kid’s Orchestra / 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) she was the Director of a Department of Defense STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Program.  She intends to integrate STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) into the current Kid’s Orchestra (21st CCLC) curriculum.

Contact Stephanie at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 108.


Handles corporate and individual giving.

Dr. Brian Dunbar, a native of St. Augustine, FL, performs as a soloist, orchestral performer, and chamber musician, in addition to his activities as a music educator. He earned a Doctorate in Musical Arts from Louisiana State University, a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan, and a Bachelor’s degree from Stetson University. From 2014-2017, he was Adjunct Professor of Woodwinds at Southern University and A&M College.

Prioritizing engagement in the broader community, Dr. Dunbar is a Teaching Artist for and is a member of several dynamic organizations, including The National Flute Association, Baton Rouge Music Club Auxiliary, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Music Teacher’s National Association, and of the globally recognized Sphinx Organization, which aims to promote inclusion and diversity in the arts.

Contact Brian at or (225) 922-4656, ext. 101.


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.

Contact Puja at or (225) 922-4656 ext. 100.