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KnowHow is a community organization with a mission to support leadership development and community engagement among Knoxville’s youth, celebrating art, culture, and media as vital tools to cultivate a deep sense of agency in youth, to amplify their voices as they engage with challenges that affect quality of life for all the city’s diverse residents, and to support them in forming lasting commitments to each other and the world at large. We seek to support youth in learning from each other and active community groups about issues that affect them, their families, and their neighborhoods to develop solutions and contribute to efforts to effect positive change in Knoxville. Threaded throughout this work are the mediums of visual art, writing, music, and performance to provide a communication platform and engaging, interactive tools for young people to explore and share their viewpoints and experiences.



Kristi Maxwell is a writer and educator who currently lives in East Knoxville and teaches in the University of Tennessee English Department. She has organized community programming in Cincinnati, Tucson, and Knoxville. Along with a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing, she also holds a graduate certificate in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and her research interests include theories of representation and difference and writing for social change and social justice. Of late, her go-to karaoke song is Juice Newton's "Angel of the Morning." 

Elizabeth Wright is co-founder of KnowHow and serves as co-chair of its Board of Directors. An artist, writer, and musician dedicated to social justice, Elizabeth holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. She currently serves as the Education Team co-coordinator at the Highlander Research and Education Center and was the former Executive Director for Fair Taxation, Editor of the Knoxville Voice, and served as an Advocate at the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of East TN. Elizabeth is also a member of the City of Knoxville Public Art Committee and is a co-founder of Showing Up for Racial Justice 865. She plays bass, drums, and guitar in several local bands and loves to sing karaoke, be outdoors, take photographs, and spend time with friends family and pets.

Board Members

Sarah Bounse joined KnowHow's board in 2016, but had worked with the non-profit on their Vine Middle School programming in the 2015-16 academic year as the youth examined and discussed community health. Sarah has worked for the Knox County Health Department as a Public Health Educator in health equity since 2014. She primarily works within East Knoxville using community engagement and outreach efforts to address barriers to health. Sarah has a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from the University of Tennessee.

André Canty is a native of Knoxville and a graduate of South Doyle High School. He began his undergraduate work at Middle Tennessee State University and later transferred to the University of Tennessee and graduated with degree in English Literature. He was the instructor for the Odd Fellows Scholars Program in Knoxville, where he teaches students in grades 7-12 to illustrate Black history in the East Knoxville area through written material and digital storytelling. He serves as President the 100 Black Men of Greater Knoxville. He is a writer with publications in the Knoxville News Sentinel, Knoxville Writers’ Guild, Huffington Post,  and various other sources. His interest in social justice started as a junior at Middle Tennessee State University.

Carly Dorsey is a native Knoxvillian who graduated from the University of Tennessee where she studied English and Art. Previously she worked as a photographer for Jewelry Television and Eva Mag. Currently she is employed as an accountant for PolyPac, Inc. She is as a coordinator for Knoxville Girls Rock Camp and is working to see young people of all varieties feel empowered. In her spare time she enjoys reading, writing and horseback riding.

CharLee Howard is a native Knoxvillian dedicated to investing in the youth of Knoxville. CharLee is an alum of South-Doyle High School and Maryville College. CharLee has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. CharLee is committed to social justice as a pursuit of dismantling systems of oppression that affect identities across the intersections of race, class, queerness, disability, and gender.   CharLee is a musician, artist, a deep lover of the Appalachian mountains, and above all a cat parent.

Charice Starr is an Alabamian by birth and Knoxvillian for 13 years. She believes that there are systems that disenfranchise Black, youth, Queer, Native, Trans, Hispanic, Latinx, and those with disabilities’ lives. Charice aims to address the educational system’s role in oppressing intersectional identities with her work with Know How and by promoting representation in her community. She is a UT Social Work alum that currently works at Inskip Elementary teaching food justice, nutrition, and urban gardening. She works with University Assisted Community Schools for community engagement and Hispanic family representation in the Inskip community. She plays guitar and drums in local bands and first volunteered with Know How’s Girl Rock Camp as a guitar instructor before becoming a board member in 2014. She dedicates her work and passion for social change to her late father and uncle "Bubba".

Jamila Williams is from Nashville and currently lives in Blount County. Jamila is an alum of Nashville School for the Arts and Maryville College.  Jamila is also part of Blount County's Volunteer Action Civitan International and serves as President-Elect for Young Professionals Civitan Knoxville. Jamila recently joined Blount County Young Democrats andserves as Director of the Foothills LGBT Center in Maryville, TN. Jamila is taking lessons to learn the bass guitar.