Jeanne CasteenExecutive Director
JEANNE CASTEEN 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 11 years of experience teaching in Maricopa County’s public schools. In 2011, Jeanne completed the Emerge Arizona program and in 2012 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.
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.
Sami Al-AsadyMember at Large
SAMI AL-ASADY is a proud child of Bosnian and Iraqi war refugees studying political science at Arizona State University's Barrett Honors College. He has interned for Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona's 7th Congressional District and served the Biden-Harris Administration in its first class of the White House Internship Program. In Arizona politics, Sami has served on the board of Secular AZ since 2021 and was a campaign volunteer for Representative Judy Schwiebert. A prolific writer, Sami's opinions have been published by the Arizona Capitol Times and the Arizona Republic. He currently writes a column for OnlySky. Sami feels a debt of gratitude for the freedoms afforded by the United States Constitution and is eager to continue repaying it through honorable contributions to public service.
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.
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.
Kevin "Hondo" HickmanMember at Large
KEVIN “HONDO” HICKMAN’s previous experience as an Operations Manager with non-profit organizations, second chance employers, and a decade long employment with Maricopa County government makes him uniquely suited for the Secular AZ board. His introduction to the importance of secular government started over 15 years ago, when he joined the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and began to notice the one-sided nature of the programs offered to incarcerated individuals. All available support lead to some faith-based program, specifically Christian. As a lifelong atheist, Hondo knew there were others of all religions who wouldn’t have access to programs that fit their needs. During the next decade, he championed access to more diverse programs by challenging Program Managers to include a more diverse offering of support, especially those without faith-based association. He took his secular values into his work with incarcerated populations, helping them to access college courses. Hondo has been an active member of the secular community as an Assistant State Director for American Atheists, and as a Founding Member and current National Director of the Reason Riders Atheist Motorcycle Association.
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 American Humanist Association, and is currently the Vice President of FFRF-VS, the Freedom From Religion Foundation - Valley of the Sun Chapter. Whit is a retired Air Traffic Controller and currently owns two small businesses in Phoenix: JCN, an independent Apple Consulting technology company, and HighGround Images, a drone videography company. Additionally, he is an elected Precinct Committee Person in his legislative district (LD) and sits on his LD's board as Vice Chair of Digital Resources. He is very engaged politically and devotes substantial time, talent, and treasure to reason-based candidates and initiatives.
Karen McClellandMember at Large
KAREN MCCLELLAND grew up in Europe, Canada and the U.S. She attended Cornell University, worked in banking, finance and retail management, and moved to Sedona in 1987. She served on multiple Sedona PTA and school boards, has been on the Governing Board of the Sedona-Oak Creek High School District since 2002, and has been active with SOSAZ. Karen is active in advocacy at the State Legislature, and serves on the Board of Directors for the ASBA as the Yavapai County Director, where she’s been honored with a gold star Master of Boardsmanship, County Director of the Year, Advocate of the Year and as an ALL Arizona School Board member. She was a member of the Planned Parenthood Advocates of AZ Board of Directors and currently is a member of the Leadership Council of Arizona List. She was also on the Board of the Democrats of the Red Rocks from 2007 to 2021, is currently an elected PC and a member of the ADP State Committee and the Copper State Leadership Council, and is an individual member of American United, Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Atheists, American Humanist Association and Sedona Rationalists group.
Martha O'ConnorMember at Large
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.
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.
Vanessa TorreMember at Large
VANESSA TORRE has been politically active for many years with activity increasing greatly during the 2020 election cycle where she volunteered steadfastly on many campaigns. As a community manager and trustee with Community Associations Institute, she have worked to track legislation to keep harmful bills from passing, often lobbying or working with legislators to rewrite such bills. In the spring of 2018, she worked with John McCain’s office to remove an amendment regarding HAM radio towers from the National Defense Authorization Act. It was a very long process, resulting in McCain pulling the amendment at the last minute, about a week before his passing. Our industry called it “nothing short of a miracle.” Vanessa is a firm believer in separation of church and state, and felt compelled to get involved with Secular AZ in 2022.