BOARD & STAFF
Jeanne CasteenExecutive Director
JEANNE CASTEEN has just joined the Secular AZ team in October 2021 as Executive Director. She has a bachelor’s degree in human communication and history from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU and a master’s in education, also from ASU. Jeanne has over eleven years of experience teaching in Maricopa County’s public schools. In 2011, Jeanne completed the Emerge Arizona program, and in 2012, she became a school board member of the Creighton School District. She served as Board President from 2016 through 2020. In 2020, Ms. Casteen ran for Maricopa County School Superintendent, and came within 12,000 votes of winning. She has been awarded the Arizona School Public Relations Association Award for Excellence in Advocacy and Political Contributions to Education as well as the Arizona School Board Association’s All-Arizona School Board Member Award.
PHILIP LENTZ retired after thirty years as a senior manager with the Boeing Company and its various subsidiaries. He served as the Mayor of Greendale, Missouri and on several non-profit boards including the University of Missouri Alumni Association, the Arizona Quality Alliance, the Harris Park Homeowners’ Association and the FFRF Valley of the Sun Chapter in Arizona. He was a volunteer with the Valley Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization and an adjunct professor for the National Graduate School. Philip holds an MBA in technology management, a bachelor of science in physics, and a bachelor of fine art in design.
RT JusticeVice Chair
RT Justice is a 5th generation Arizona native and a 4th generation member of the management team that owns and operates the Justice Brothers Ranch in Waddell, Arizona. He is active in agricultural advocacy, serving as a delegate during policy conferences. R.T. is a graduate of the University of Arizona, with bachelor's degrees in business management and entrepreneurship. During his studies at the University of Arizona he was an active member of the local Secular Student Alliance affiliate, and served as Events Coordinator from August 2013 to January 2015. A member of Secular AZ's Board since 2016, he looks to continue serving the Arizona secular community.
JOE BLANKENSHIP has been a Board Member of Secular Coalition for Arizona and Secular Communities (the 501(3)c affiliate of the Secular Coalition) for nearly three years. He had a successful career as a business professional with responsibilities for Strategic Planning for two Fortune 500 companies. He was CFO of a subsidiary of one of the Fortune 500 companies. He was also the President and CEO of a public company that addressed recycling and recovery of household and commercial waste. With the Secular Coalition, he has recruited speakers for the successful Secular Studies program presented at the Arizona Legislature. Joe writes on public policy issues and presents his conclusions to interested audiences. Current topics of interest are Quality Education and Separation of Church and State.
MARTHA O'CONNOR received her Ph.D. from Georgia State University in 1990. BS and MS degrees were earned at the University of Wisconsin Madison and Milwaukee respectively. She was a tenured professor of Occupational Therapy and Graduate Studies at The Medical University of Georgia, Augusta, GA. She became the Director of Accreditation for The American Occupational Therapy Association, MD, the Director of Examination Development for The National Board for Occupational Therapy Education, Gaithersburg, MD. Martha Moved to Arizona to become the Executive Director of the Council on Chiropractic Education, a national accreditation agency. Martha did Home Health for a few years and worked at Gompers school. Phoenix, AZ. On retirement Martha became involved with the League of Women voters, Indivisible, The Humanist Society, Secular Coalition and Americans United. Most recently serving as liaison between Secular Coalition and Americans United to report on the legislative activities of the Phoenix legislature. She is dedicated to the separation of church and state and the protection of the rights of non-theists.
Sami Al-AsadyMember at Large
SAMI AL-ASADY is a first-generation college student and a child of war refugees from Bosnia and Iraq. He realized that religious faith can be used for violence. As such, he studies political science to one day emerge as a leader in foreign and domestic politics. Outside the classroom, he is an activist fighting for the civil liberties of marginalized communities in the United States, especially secular and LGBTQ+ communities. At the state and federal levels, he campaigned for State Representative Judy Schweiebert and interned for Congressman Ruben Gallego. He is a member of American Atheists, the Secular Student Alliance, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. His goal is to transform public perception of secularism and uphold the Constitutional separation of church and state.
Keirsten AndersonMember at Large
KEIRSTEN ANDERSON was a civil rights investigator for sixteen years at the Davenport Civil Rights Commission, and recently moved to Arizona. Keirsten has been an ardent supporter of secular government since she was shockingly exposed to school prayer and Bible discussion at her elementary school in Illinois. She has volunteered for several organizations in the past, and she is excited to explore what endeavors need her time and talent in Arizona. She also volunteers for ACLU of Arizona’s Smart Justice Campaign.
Adriana ClarkMember at Large
ADRIANA CLARK is a second-year law student at Arizona State University. Originally from New Mexico, Adriana moved to Arizona in 2015 and graduated from ASU in 2019 with a degree in Business Law and a minor in Spanish Language and Cultural Studies. She is on the executive board of ASU’s chapter of the American Constitution Society and works as a legal writing teaching assistant. Adriana initially got involved with Secular AZ as a legal intern. She is passionate about equitable, science-based education and advocating for marginalized communities.
Linsay EvansDirector of Development
LINSAY EVANS is Secular AZ's Director of Development. She is committed to — and passionate about — the benefits that secular values offer for all, with a special interest in the areas of education, reproductive rights and non-discrimination. Linsay holds a master's in library and information science and a master's in social anthropology; her research focused on the effects of religiously driven population policies on women's access to reproductive health care in the Global South. She's worked in development for non-profits and foundations, as a copywriter, and in community relations.
Mary GanapolMember at Large
MARY GANAPOL's interest in Arizona politics was cemented when she attended her first Secular Day at the Capital in 2018, part of a group of Freethought AZ members who brought a busload of Tucson folks to Phoenix. That day, Mary also found out about Period.org at the Planned Parenthood table and was inspired to start a Tucson chapter. Mary describes herself as an enthusiastic, optimistic volunteer who closely follows both local and national politics and understands how being vocal about local issues is critical to the political process. Now retired, Mary sees this chapter of life as a time to give back and be of service to the community. In addition to delivering free hygiene products to agencies throughout Tucson, she is passionate about bringing a death with dignity law to Arizonans through her work with the all volunteer, nonpartisan, non-sectarian grassroots organization Arizona End-of-Life Options.
Whitney "Whit" JohnsonMember at Large
WHITNEY "WHIT" JOHNSON has held secular values his entire adult life. Even before he discovered there was a label for his belief system—Humanism. He was an early member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the AHA, and recently the Secular Coalition for Arizona. Whit is a retired Air Traffic Controller and currently owns two small businesses in Phoenix: JCN, LLC an independent Apple Consulting technology company, and HighGround Images, LLC, the first FAA sanctioned drone videography/photography company in the Phoenix area.
Dianne PostLegal Director & Member at Large
DIANNE POST received her J.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1979. She was a family lawyer in Arizona for 18 years, representing mostly battered women and abused children, before beginning a career in international law primarily doing gender-based violence work. On the international level she has worked for the U.S., O.S.C.E., and the U.N. in Russia, Mongolia, Algeria, Cambodia, Kenya and other places. She coordinated the group in Russia that drafted the first trafficking law and worked with the former head of the Constitutional Court in Kenya to create a manual to train prosecutors to prosecute cases of sexual violence against children.