JoAnne spent 27 years of her professional life in the insurance business before becoming an entrepreneur. JoAnne returned to her hometown of New Orleans in 2007 after being gone for 31 years. She discovered that living in New Orleans meant becoming an animal lover as New Orleans is a huge dog city. Rescue organizations are very active but are always struggling for funds. So in 2018, she founded the NOLA Dogs Race to the Rescue 5K and in 2019 founded NOLA Girl Charitable Giving a 501 (c)(3)
non-profit to raise money to improve the lives of animals, women and children. JoAnne owns Alice and Amelia, a gift boutique on Magazine Street. When not working, JoAnne enjoys traveling with her husband Dan, facetiming with her grandchildren and taking too many pictures of Daisy, her four legged fur baby.
Maribel Castro has over 25 years experience in education, libraries, and information technology. Her career started as a reading and English as a second language teacher. She has a deep passion for stories, storytelling, and literature. After five years in the classroom working with inner city Hispanic students in Houston, Texas, she went back to school and earned her masters degree in library and information science. Mrs. Castro went on to have an accomplished career serving school and academic libraries across Texas. She served as the first, and only, Hispanic elected president to the largest state library association in the country, the Texas Library Association. She has also held board positions for the American Association of School Librarians and the American Library Association. Currently, she serves as the Director of Technology at the
Louise S. McGehee School in New Orleans, LA.
Mrs. Castro loves living in New Orleans with her husband of 23 years, Joel Castro, who is also an accomplished educator. They have three dogs, two high-strung dachshunds, Che Guevara and Diego Rivera, and a clownish basset hound, Alma Rosa. She enjoys giving her time and energy to causes that are dear to her heart, animals, literacy, and women’s issues.
Jody has served as the Executive Director for Girls on the Run New Orleans since 2013, where she has truly been a catalyst for change and drives the organization’s tremendous growth and positive impact in the New Orleans Community. Jody has been invested in the greater New Orleans area since 2000, deeply investing in transforming the Jewish community through roles at The New Orleans Jewish Community Center, New Orleans Hillel, Birthright Israel Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans. Jody currently serves on the board of the Greater New Orleans Jewish Federation, National Council of Jewish Women and serves on the Anti Defamation League (ADL) education committee. Jody is actively involved in the first cohort of the Women's Leadership Academy at Loyola University, designed to enable women in the region to achieve their greatest professional potential through leadership training, personal development, and one-on-one mentorships. Most recently, Jody is honored to be chosen as a 2019 Young Leadership Council (YLC) Role Model. Jody is married with two sons and enjoys volunteering and coaching Heart & Sole at their school, Bricolage Academy. When Jody is not busy volunteering or crafting or spending time with friends and loved ones, she enjoys cheering her boys on at Carrollton soccer and baseball games.
Dan was born and raised in Connecticut and has had a long and distinguished career in public education. He received his BS degree in Biology Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational Research and a degree in Public School Administration. His career started as a teacher and after a few years he moved on to high school administration and served as Principal of a Nationally Recognized Blue Ribbon High School for many years. He then accepted the position of Director of Education Services at the Connecticut Academy for Education where he led the work of the Academy’s technical assistance & professional development programs to enhance greater access, equity, participation, and success in mathematics, science and technology for all students.
In 2007, Dan and his wife JoAnne made the decision to leave the winters of the Northeast and move to New Orleans, JoAnne's hometown. Dan moved to New Orleans with the intention of continuing his commitment to the education of children. Once in New Orleans, he accepted a position at Benjamin Franklin High School. The position fell into his primary areas of interest and expertise which include mentoring school administrators and teachers. After seven years as a Special Consultant at Franklin, Dan was named interim CEO of BFHS. Dan joined the Krewe of Thoth and has been an active member for thirteen years. Dan is also a certified tennis instructor (retired) and an avid golfer. He and JoAnne have five adult children combined and four grandchildren. He's also enjoys taking Daisy, their four legged child for long walks at City Park. Daniel is excited to bring to the NOLA Girl Board his organizational skills that will assist the Board in successfully achieving its goals.
Joel Castro is a professional educator, having served public school communities for just under 30 years. His professional experience includes work as a bilingual and general education teacher at the elementary and middle school levels, as well as holding administrative positions at the high school and central office levels.
Joel was the founding principal of East Early College High School in the Houston Independent School District. Within five years, the school was designated as a National Blue Ribbon School and received the designation of Texas Exemplary School for each of the five years he served as principal. He later served as associate superintendent for the Lubbock Independent School District, managing 24 schools and 12 “turnaround” campuses. Joel now serves as CEO of New Orleans College Prep Charter School, which serves children from birth through 12th grade.
Joel is currently a doctoral candidate in Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin. In his spare time, he spends time with his wife, Maribel, enjoying the New Orleans culture and cuisine as well as traveling. He also enjoys making his 2 dachshunds and his basset hound howl while plucking on his guitar and his upright bass.