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.
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.
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. He currently resides in Zachary, LA with his wife, Sarah, and their three children, Renée, Liam, and Claire.
Melissa has over a decade of nonprofit experience including Capital Area United Way, Baton Rouge Epicurean Society and Audubon Louisiana. Her roles have included annual giving, special events, management and major gifts.
In addition to working for nonprofits, she has served on the boards of Forum 35, Junior League of Greater Baton Rouge, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Manship Advisory Board and Maison Des Ami. She was recognized as Baton Rouge Business Report’s Forty under 40, Forum 35 Member of the Year and Forum 35 Inaugural Young BR Original Award.
Melissa earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from Louisiana State University. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive and has participated in the Baton Rouge Leadership Program and Next Wave program for nonprofit leaders.
Responsible for assisting and managing fundraising efforts, building strong relationships, maintaining communications with donors and patrons, and collaborating with staff for fundraising events.
As Development Coordinator, Clay brings an energetic perspective to the Kids’ Orchestra team along with new and creative fundraising ideas.
After graduating high school in his hometown of Ruston, Louisiana, Clay attended college at Ruprecht-Karls Universität in Heidelberg, Germany. He has 2 years of fundraising and grant writing experience, and he is also a proud new member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).
ERIKA L. LADD – GRANT MANAGER, 21ST CENTURY COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTERS
Oversees day-to-day operations of the Kids’ Orchestra 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) grant program and all participating sites, as well as developing and overseeing the curriculum for participating students and professional development for site staff.
Responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of the Kid’s Orchestra 21st CCLC program at all participating sites. This position provides leadership in creating an inviting and safe environment for extra-curricular and academic opportunities for students. Erika is also responsible for assuring high-quality program services and support to enrolled students and their families over multiple sites.
As 21st CCLC Manager, Erika brings an abundance of insight to the Kids’ Orchestra team. With 17 years of experience as an English Language Arts teacher and after school learning specialist, managing and implementing curriculum is her area of expertise.
Erika is a 1998 graduate of Grambling State University who earned a Bachelors of Liberal Arts with a concentration on English.
Oversees day-to-day operations of the Kids’ Orchestra Traditional Sites, transportation, and professional development for site staff.
Erica was born and raised in a small Indian village in Iberville Parish. She earned a Bachelors in Political Science from Southern University A & M and certification in Paralegal Studies from Baton Rouge Paralegal School.
Erica is a former Kids’ Orchestra Parent (2013-2017). Her two daughters Madeline and Brianna studied two instruments while at KO and are now middle school band members. While her daughters were enrolled at the Mayfair site, she was hired as a site coordinator overseeing 2 sites. After nearly 3 years of working as a site coordinator, she was promoted to Program Manager. She is now responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of the Kids’ Orchestra Traditional Program sites. She is responsible for assuring the high-quality program services and support to enrolled students and their families.
Besides being a wife and an active parent of two girls, she enjoys being “The Koolaid House” in her neighborhood and spending time with her family. She also enjoys walking with her walking group, reading, spectating drag races and visiting family in her hometown of Bayou Goula. She values home and family. “I think it’s always important to go back home.”
Responsible for the care, maintenance, and distribution of the instruments and musical equipment utilized at all sites.
Wilbert holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree and a Master of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from Louisiana State University. He has studied the clarinet primarily with Deborah Chodacki.
Before accepting his position as Instrument Inventory Manager, Wilbert worked as a Teaching Artist for Kids’ Orchestra teaching clarinet and flute. Additionally, Wilbert is an active performer in the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas, performing with Versipel New Music Ensemble as well as several other chamber ensembles. He also teaches clarinet privately in Baton Rouge.