The StoryArk Family
All of our Mentors, Volunteers, and Board Members Chosen hand picked with love
Founder & Director
Stephani Atkins works as the Executive Director for StoryArk, publishes The Boom Site Magazine and serves as Executive Producer for all the podcast and film projects. She also hosts the StoryArk Network. As an artist, Ms. Atkins works on literary art projects that are realized on multiple formats (video, audio, web, print and other media). She is a freelance writer of marketing and advocacy materials and has produced short films through StoryBoard Films. 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 Phi Beta Kappa from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois with a liberal arts degree that focused on journalism, American culture and secondary education. Check out her TEDx Talk or see other articles including:
Head of Operations
Jenna is the head of Operations and Production. She teaches in Podcast Production, Recording, and Editing. She has been with StoryArk since it’s inception recording and producing the first ever podcasts. Prior to StoryArk, Jenna worked for Stillwater’s local radio station, KLBB, as an Office Manager, Operations, Traffic, & Billing manager, as well as oversee all audio production and work as on air talent. She graduated from Brown College with an Associates in Radio Broadcasting in 2010.
Consultant & Acting Coach
Leah Fein is the sketch comedy mentor for Vitamin C, an original StoryArk web series created by middle schoolers and works on StoryArk’s absent-narrative podcasting project. Ms. Fein is back in Minnesota after a stint in Los Angeles that included live storytelling at The Moth, working in production on the feature film “Get on Up” along with other short films and performing at the LA Fringe Festival. While in LA, Ms. Fein participated in screenwriting workshops at The Writing Pad, studied sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade and improv at IO West. Now in Minneapolis, she maintains her skills through workshops at the Loft.
Ellen recently retired from Stillwater Public Schools after teaching for 30 years. She has taught all grade levels at some point in her career and has received the “Excellent Educator Award” from the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth. She also earned the District 834 Teacher Recognition Award. She has received numerous grants from major corporations like Toyota, Qwest, and AT&T. Ms. Eigner has served on a curriculum committee at Science Museum of Minnesota for opening of Catalhoyuk archaeological exhibit, created language arts curriculum at the request of author Lisa Westbrook Peters for her picture book, Our Family Tree, and written award winning interdisciplinary curriculum for ToyotaTime, combining chess, math, music and movie-making. She has also written award winning interdisciplinary curriculum for Computer Learning Foundation contest and presented at multiple professional workshops on the topic of “Unit Design for Curriculum Differentiation” She has been published several times in educational publications and is working at publishing her first children’s novel, titled “Lost and Never Found.”
Calyssa Hall is the Artistic Director for the Zephyr Theater in Stillwater and has worked for many years as a freelance director, stage manager, musician, production coordinator, lighting designer, and technicial for professional and community theaters throughout the greater Twin Cities area. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in music and musical theater from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls. Ms. Hall has taught drama in the Stillwater Area School District and has directed community education theater programs in Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul. In 2013, she founded the company that is now known as Only a Dim Image Productions and will further its mission through the creation of The Zephyr Theater.
Cassidy Hall graduated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls with degrees in Creative Writing, Music, and Musical Theatre. She works as a director and instructor for The Zephyr Theatre, and a director for ACT Theater in the South Saint Paul Tri-District. She is also a professional photographer and a creative writer. She worked as a writing tutor for UW-River Falls in the past, and currently volunteers as an editor. Cassidy has been actively involved with theatre for many years, performing with the Phipps Center for the Arts, CB Productions, Stillwater Community Theatre, Woodbury Community Theatre, and various companies in the Twin Cities. She is trained in acting, singing, and dance, including ballroom, jazz, contemporary, and tap. In addition to performing on stage, she has also worked backstage for many productions as stage manager, director’s assistant, deck captain, light/sound board operator, and prop master.
Randal Berger (SAG-AFTRA/AEA) has worked professionally as an actor, director, producer and educator since 1988. He received his BFA from Texas Christian University and thereafter began his career in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Since moving to the Twin Cities in 1991 Randal has performed on stage at The Old Log, The Ordway, The Fitzgerald, The Music Box, Pillsbury House, The Margolis Brown Company, The Minneapolis Theatre Garage, and The Playwright’s Center. He has also produced, performed and directed productions for the MN Fringe Festival. He is a founding member of The Burning House Group Theater Company (BHG) and has performed, directed, produced and taught with them since 1994. In addition to his teaching capacity with BHG, Randal has taught classes for Upstream Arts; Randal’s voiceover credits include the lead role of Kyle Katarn in Star Wars: Dark Forces audiobook trilogy series. He has performed in numerous on-camera and voiceover commercial campaigns for Hardy’s, Best Buy, Home Depot, and Mall of America, to name a few. His feature films credit include Herman USA and Ode to Joy, as well as starring in the 48-hour Film Festival’s “Best Film” – Buddy Buddy.
Producer & Foley Mentor
Alan Frechtman worked with Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion as far back as its origin as American Radio Company of the Air (ARCA). For Prairie Home, his responsibilities included a number of technical roles including VIP of Special Projects, Producer, and even a little writing and performing. He toured internationally with Prairie HomeCompanion while freelancing as a Live Producer for Minnesota Public Radio. He currently works as the Stage Manager and Head Carpenter at the Fitzgerald Theater and as Stage Manager for the Minnesota State Fair at the Carousel Park Stage. In addition, since 2000, Mr. Frechtman has worked with students at Wayzata High School on their theater productions.