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Established in January 2016 when Holly Jones and Katie Knickrehm wanted better options in the area of STEM for their homeschooled children.  Holly stepped down in May 2017 as Co-director since both of her children were enrolled in school.  Holly was pivotal in the success of STEM Classes of the Triad.


STEM Advisory Board

Director: Katie Knickrehm

Katie spent five years as a high school special education teacher in a public school, and eight years in the corporate world as a pharmaceutical sales representative.   After moving to North Carolina in 2007, Katie and her husband Mark made the decision to homeschool their six children. STEM grew out of an educational need for her children to take quality, hands-on classes that inspire!  She loves spreadsheets, horses, and tries to stay active.

Angela Dierking

Angela earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology. She worked at an consulting engineering firm before choosing to stay home with her children. She and her husband, Dan, have ten children whom they have homeschooled from the beginning.

Maria Hanna

Maria Hanna graduated from Malone College in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, Kindergarten through eighth grade, with a focus in Spanish.  She is wife to Terry of 27 years and mother to 4 sons and 2 daughters.    Maria taught first grade in a Christian school before their children were born.  With two graduates and four more kids in progress, homeschooling is an endurance journey which she trusts the LORD to help her accomplish.  Her hobbies are fitness and nutrition as well being active outside with family and friends. 

Shannon Wooten

Shannon Wooten, instructor and board member at CENTRAL STEM, has been teaching with STEM now for 3+ years, director and instructor for the AIM program for three years, and has been homeschooling her three children for five years. She has worked in children’s ministry for 20+ years in various roles such as children’s church, VBS, youth group, etc. and just all around has a love for children. A people person, who comes alive in the classroom, she gets great joy from the opportunity to come alongside parents in their homeschooling journey. 

She holds an AAS in Healthcare Management Technology and most recently graduated with her BSBA in Business Administration and Law from Western Carolina University. She plans to continue her education having realized that she is a lifelong learner and is always looking for something new to take on. 

Shannon, her husband of 17 years, and their three children enjoy spending their time outdoors exploring new places. She loves spending time with friends, reading, and a good cup of coffee.

Emily Neel

Emily Neel is a software engineer who grew up in central NC and graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. She graduated with a BS in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina in 2004. She and her husband have been homeschooling their 2 children since 2013. Emily is passionate about software and efficiency, but when she's not on the computer or driving, you can probably find her making something with yarn or fabric!