Meet our Board Members
Stephani Halleen Atkins
Stephani Halleen Atkins is the founder and former Executive Director of StoryArk. In her professional life, Stephani serves as a freelance grant writer and is the President of SummerSnow Publications, a multimedia company that publishes and produces stories that entertain and ignite. As an artist, Stephani works on literary art projects that are realized on multiple formats (video, audio, web, print and other media). Prior to StoryArk, Stephani worked as a marketing director, substitute taught middle school English, and served as a director of student programming for both large and small non-profit educational programs. She graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. In both her personal life and in her professional life, she has seen the power of stories transform individuals, communities and systems as they build empathy and understanding of the human experience and is inspired daily by the students at StoryArk.
Dan Ajak is a recent graduate of the FSU Aslo Conservatory where he earned an MFA in acting. Born in Kenya, he immigrated to the United States as a child and currently lives in Chicago pursuing his craft. He believes the arts are an integral part of developing an empathetic, caring, imaginative, resilient society and a great way to build community. Dan is so lucky to be a part of StoryArk, an organization that truly gives voice to the marginalized and the voiceless.
Kim Gualtieri is a Certified Public Accountant (inactive) and currently does consulting in financial reporting, tax and operations management. As a former CFO of a private investment company, she specializes in refining business processes and leveraging technology to increase profitability and productivity. Through a consistent focus on process improvement and innovation, she identifies operational strategies for scalable growth. Kim’s background includes roles in financial reporting, operations, treasury management and tax structuring.
Cornelius Rish is considered a genuine, outgoing, caring, passionate, and creative educator, Cornelius is grounded in 26 years of experience in education as a Teacher, Theater Director, Athletics Coach, Consultant, Principal, and now Equity Specialist. Principal Rish earned his BA from Lawrence University, Appleton,WI and his Masters’ Degree in Educational Leadership from Concordia University, Portland, Or. As an award-winning educator, Cornelius believes that student engagement drives learning. “A school that is ‘Alive’ thrives!” Cornelius believes that students should be “active” learners and the classroom should be a safe space where our students’ academic and social-emotional needs are met. Cornelius has received the Minnesota Peace Prize and other recognitions for his equity work in schools. In addition, Cornelius has been featured in both local and national publications and has presented to professional conferences throughout the country.
LaTwanna Williams is a multi-medium artist and educator that produces works in theater, film/video and photography. LaTwanna has a BA in Theatre, a MBA and a MAT. In her 10 year teaching and directing career, LaTwanna taught students the importance of self awareness, critical thinking, and artistic vision through theatre and film. She developed engaging, student centered lesson plans to enhance academia and created opportunities for authentic learning through rigorous programming which allows students to become culturally and self aware, teaches students to think independently while showing evidence to justify their ideas and communicate their ideas effectively, through media. Additionally, LaTwanna sat on and continues to serve on state level arts committees through the Minnesota Department of Education and Perpich Center for Arts Education to ensure students across our state are given equal access to arts education.