gcm staff

Marian King


Raised by parents who were very committed to community service, I can honestly say I love working with board and committees. I am a true nonprofit geek with a career focused on youth development and leadership organizations. I am a native of Greensboro with an undergraduate degree from UNC-CH and a graduate degree from ASU. I am a Tarheel through and through much to the dismay of my NC State grad husband. Things that make my heart pound are gardening, UNC basketball, a great sale on shoes and of course my husband Jim!

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 301
e: mking@gcmuseum.com

Stephanie Ashton

Education and Edible Schoolyard Director

I came to Greensboro from my home state of Ohio by way of UNC – Chapel Hill where I received my Masters of Public Administration. I transitioned from working in economic development in the areas of business retention and entrepreneurship to my current role as the Director of The Edible Schoolyard and Education at GCM. I love seeing first-hand how inspired kids are while working in the garden or in cooking classes. When I’m away from the Museum, you’ll find me cooking, playing with my two young children, and enjoying three out of four of the seasons.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 320
e: sashton@gcmuseum.com

Stephanie Clifford

Birthday Party Coordinator/Development Assistant

As a mother of two children, I have enjoyed visiting and playing in the Museum for many years. In my role, I get to bring the excitement of learning through play to many more children and families in our community. I am typically busy at work helping to celebrate kids’ special days or raising funds to ensure everyone has access to the Museum’s offerings.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 309
e: sclifford@gcmuseum.com

Rachel Diaz

Garden Educator

My fascination with plants and my love of good food began at a young age. At age 7, I discovered endangered orchids in the woods behind my house and decided to conduct my own scientific study to survey the population. I went on to study horticulture at Virginia Tech and discovered the joys of teaching through internships at the US Botanic Garden and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Working at the Edible Schoolyard is a dream, as I get to combine my loves of growing and nourishing and share them with an amazing community!

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 321
e: rdiaz@gcmuseum.com

Susan Girdner

Weekend Manager

From the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, I found my way home to the Carolina Piedmont in 2005. From childhood through my college years, I wanted to grow up and be like Mr. Rogers, but …life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans. My first career, in public education, took a different path and eventually raising my own brood of kiddos took over my days. In 2010, landing at GCM, I found my way home. Week after week, it is my joy to be part of the weekend fun, interacting with families and celebrating the diversity of our Greensboro “neighborhood” in an atmosphere focused on discovering, exploring, and learning.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 303
e: sgirdner@gcmuseum.com

Gabrielle Howell

Operations Director/Facility Rentals

I currently hold the title of most seasoned employee! I have been at GCM for 17 years in various positions. I started as a Program Leader, then led the Education Department before landing as the Operations Director. In my current role, I can say without a doubt…there is never a dull moment! I love that about my job! I am fortunate to have seen the Museum change and grow so much over the years. I believe that is why this place is so special! I look forward to the future and what it holds. When I’m not at the Museum, I love the beach and everything about it! Especially, Carolina Beach Music.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 305
e: ghowell@gcmuseum.com

Amy Jernigan

Field Trip and Summer Camp Coordinator

I love connecting children and caregivers with all the fun and exciting opportunities at the GCM! As a mother of two littles, I fully understand the importance (and joy!) of encouraging learning through play, and I feel very fortunate to facilitate this process as the museum’s Field Trip and Summer Camp Coordinator. When not at the museum, you can spot me chasing around my girls at a local park or finding other ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 302
e: ajernigan@gcmuseum.com

Heather Maness

Museum Educator

I am an evolving educator who is discovering new passions every day!  As a former kindergarten teacher, I have learned to follow my heart and dive into a world of spreading awareness through self-discovery, whether this be in a garden, on a yoga mat, or simply using our all-inspiring imagination!  With a degree in elementary education from Appalachian State, I have a deep love for the mountains and outdoors. When I’m not educating children, you can find me on my mini-farm chasing chickens, growing my own food and finding beauty & happiness through the simple things in life!

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 311
e: hmaness@gcmuseum.com

John Richardson

Facilities and Maintenance Manager

I joined the museum staff in 2018 to oversee the physical condition of all aspects of the Museum in order to help promote entertaining, inspiring, and stimulating experiences for families. The smiles on the children’s faces as their imaginations take them to different worlds makes it all worthwhile. When I’m not at the Museum, I operate a craftsman business and spend most of my leisure time in outdoor activities, cooking, and trying to keep up with my new rescue puppy.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 314
e: jrichardson@gcmuseum.com

Joe Rieke

Development Director

Like Whitney, I believe that children are our future. Creating equitable & accessible educational experiences is a life mission; so working at GCM is a dream come true! I have lived in every state on the West Coast and am therefore qualified to say it is empirically the ‘Best Coast’. When not trying to meet new people to be friends with, you can find me toiling in a kitchen, running in a street, or in the Cook-Out drive-thru line over-ordering.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 313
e: jrieke@gcmuseum.com

Ilyasah N Shabazz

Marketing Manager

I love making connections. At GCM, I get to connect children, parents and the community with new learning experiences and friends through play by sharing the Museum’s story online and with the media. I’m Tar Heel born and Phoenix bred. When I’m not at the Museum, I love watching movies and eating snacks with my 12 nieces and nephews.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 306
e: ishabazz@gcmuseum.com

Sandy Shuler

Finance Director

I am a life-long North Carolinian and a lover of numbers. I enjoy being outdoors, doing yoga, traveling, and spending time with my dogs Truman and Niles.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 307
e: finance@gcmuseum.com

Asia Thompson


 I love being able to greet everyone as they enter the building. If you are having a good or bad day, a smile and a ‘how are you?’ can go a long way. Sitting at the front desk, I get to interact with each child that enters the Museum. I am a die hard Carolina Panthers fan! When I’m not at work, I enjoy shopping and spending time with my two boys.

p: 336.574.2898
e: athompson@gcmuseum.com

Sara Thompson

STEAM Educator

Growing up, my sister and I would always play school and do crafts together. My passion for education at a very early age led me to get a bachelor’s in elementary education at Pfeiffer  University. As a former K-2 teacher, I love allowing students to learn using their imaginations and hands-on experiences. Being able to see children create and explore daily at GCM is a dream for me. When I’m not at the Museum, I’m usually outside with my husband and cuddling with my dog, Taco, and cat, Oliver.

p: 336.574.2898 ext. 316
e: sthompson@gcmuseum.com

2020 gcm board of directors


Tom Guerrieri, Board Chair

Rosemary Kenerly, Chair-Elect

Skip Corneliussen, Treasurer

Alison Durham, Secretary

Members at Large

Bill Bullock
Bryan Clemmons
Jillian Crone
Bert Davis
Jeff Davis
Danny Gatling
Chris Heffner
Maria Hicks-Few

Clay Johnson
Robert Johnson
Matt King
Jodi Knox
Simone Langley
Michael Mahoney
Chuck Mattina
Vanessa McCutchen
Carolyn McGovern

Parrish Peddrick
Amy Pendergrass
Mary Clare Reich
Michele Slaine
Tara Thacker
Martha Thompson
Skotty Wannamaker
Meade Willis