Meet the Staff

Dr. Michelle “Shelly” Lakly


Shelly is the President of Noah’s Ark. As President Shelly will help position Noah’s Ark as a world-class animal sanctuary by maintaining and expanding our current programs, providing leadership for fundraising, growth and providing a personal dedication to conservation and animal welfare. Shelly has an outstanding record of achievements and her addition to our Staff demonstrates and organizational commitment to the future of Noah’s Ark as a premier destination for our visitors, and a forever home for our animal residents. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Ecology, a Master of Science, Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development, and a Bachelor of Science, all from the University of Georgia, Institute of Ecology-Athens. Her accolades include a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Award and a U.S. Department of the Interiors Partners in Conservation Award.

Jay Allen

Vice President & Director of Operations

Jay does it all! With more than 35 years of experience building zoo exhibits, public aquariums, and museums, Jay brings the highest level of expertise and professionalism to Noah’s Ark. In addition to building animal habitats, Jay has dedicated 40 plus years to conservation work from Madagascar to Southeast Asia, working to conserve and protect big Cats, crocodiles, snakes, turtles, birds, and primates. He has completely rebuilt and redesigned the Noah’s Ark silver fox habitats, built naturalized water features for our porcupines, and been a part of the team renovating the primate building and enrichment program. The animals at Noah’s Ark are lucky to have a champion like Jay working for them every day!

Meet the Board

  • Glenn Ross, Board Chair
  • Marty Allen
  • Jo Costanzo
  • Lynn Henkel