Jennie Stahler, Founder/Director of Development


Jennie Stahler was born and raised in western Pennsylvania in a fun-loving home with her parents and five siblings. In 2004, she graduated from Allegheny College with a B.A. degree in Managerial Economics and worked in the real estate and residential building industry. After marrying her husband, Kevin, they opted to relocate to North Carolina in 2009, looking for warmer weather. Although they love to go back to visit and will always be die-hard Pittsburgh sports fans, North Carolina quickly became home. 

Jennie and Kevin have two, sweet girls, Claire and Elliette. It was because of them and the desire to ensure that their foundation was built on Christ's love that the vision of Starboard was born. 

Jennie lives with her family in Denver, NC and attends the Church at Denver. In her free time, Jennie enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, puzzles, sewing, and DIY projects. 

"In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." Proverbs 16:9

Abby Keener, Founder/Director of Operation


Abby Keener is a mother, wife, and animal lover.  Born and raised in Marietta, GA  she then ventured to Clemson University where she met her husband Paul.  She obtained her B.S. Degree in Psychology from Clemson in 2007.  Since then, she has been involved with training service dogs for individuals with disabilities, becoming a preschool teacher, and raising her children.  Abby and her family are members at Denver United Methodist Church.

She was drawn to the University-Model® type of education as it offers focused intentional time to talk with our children about Christ while also equipping them with solid education. 

Lead Teachers

Gloria Akins, Kindergarten


Mrs. Akins is originally from Florida, but has lived in North Carolina for the last 10 years with her husband, Troy, and their four children.  Their daughters, Emily and Lauren are 14 year old identical twins. Their son Luke is 13, and his younger brother Colt is 5. 

She attended high school at Warner Christian Academy in Daytona Beach, and went on to earn a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from The University of Florida.  She specialized in early childhood, and has enjoyed teaching young children ever since.  Most of her experience is in kindergarten, although she has taught first grade and pre-school as well.  Gloria has nearly 20 years of education experience in public, private, and University-Model (R) Schools.  Her  own children attended a University-Model (R) School, so she has gained perspective as at teacher and a parent.  

"The University-Model (R) is a great education option that I have truly enjoyed. I love that this model also allows us to integrate Godly values, and a Biblical word view into our children's education." 

In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family doing anything outdoors!

 "I am excited about teaching at Starboard!"

Catie Beard, 1st Grade


Mrs. Beard has grown up in Lincoln County and will serve as an elementary teacher. She received her teaching degree from Appalachian State University and has taught at a University-Model School (R) for 6 years.  Mrs. Beard has been married for over 18 years, with 3 children. She and her family attend Covenant Church in Lincolnton. 

Deborah Templeton, 2nd and 3rd grade


Mrs. Templeton grew up in Missouri and has lived in Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. She married her husband, Bob Templeton, the day of his college graduation in 1975. They began their journey in ministry to young people the next week. They started as youth director and wife and moved to the Christian day school ministry as head of school and assistant or teacher for thirty-five years. 

Mrs. Templeton, has taught every grade from Pre-K to 12th. She has spent the majority of her career as an assistant to or teaching 3rd-8thgrade. She returned to college after her son and daughter finished high school to finish her degree in education. She holds ACSI certification and a Bachelors degree in Education and Psychology from Liberty University. Her students over the years have lovingly referred to her as Mrs. T and she has had the privilege of serving students and their families in Christian education for 37 years. 

The Templetons returned to Hickory two years ago to be closer to their grandchildren and enjoy the beauty of North Carolina. They attend Harvest Bible Chapel Hickory.

Assistant Teachers

Angela Ballard, Assistant Teacher and Music Teacher


Mrs. Ballard joined Starboard's team in September 2018.  She has lived in Lincoln County since 1969.  She received her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education and is a certified K-6 Teacher.  Mrs. Ballard has been a teacher assistant for 16 years before returning to UNCC and obtaining her teaching degree in 2007.  Before coming to Starboard, she was a first grade teacher at Pumpkin Center Primary School before retiring in 2016.   

Mrs. Ballard has been married for over 46 years to Ray Allen Ballard.  They have 3 children; Brian who is in the wood business and an assistant coach at Bandy's High School; Deanna, who works for Samaritan's Purse and is a State Senator for the 45th district; Phillip who is presently serving in the US Navy.  Mrs. Ballard has 3 grandchildren (all boys).  She and her husband attend Lake Norman Baptist Church.   

Twila Santaniello, Assistant Teacher


Mrs. Santaniello joined Starboard’s team in 2019. She grew up in rural South Carolina next door to her grandparents farm. After high school she received her Bachelor's Degree in Music with a Minor in History from Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. Before coming to Starboard, she was a 911-Police and Fire Dispatcher in Charlotte, NC for 15 years. Over the past four years, she has been a stay-at-home mom to her two young children. 

Mrs. Santaniello has been married for almost 10 years to her husband, Mark. They have 2 children; Lillian, 6 years old and Christian, 4 years old. In her free time, Mrs. Santaniello enjoys music, photography and studying her Bible. 

She and her husband attend Church at Denver.