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Story Stage seeks to create experiences that engage, empower, and equip students for the classroom and beyond.
© 2021 Story Stage.
All Rights Reserved.
Jovane has his B.F.A. in Theatre with an emphasis in Musical Theatre from Texas Christian University. He first got connected with Story Stage during his senior year at TCU, acting in Story Stage’s performances at the end of those semesters. He has always had a passion for helping young people by encouraging them to trust that their voices are unique, powerful, and important and by empowering them to be unafraid to express those voices. It was clear to him immediately how very special Story Stage and the work they do are. Story Stage’s focus on giving a voice to children who have difficulty articulating theirs and seeing the faces of the students and their reactions during and after the performances was incomparable and inspiring. All of this, along with the very unique combination of theatre and education seemed a perfect fit for Jovane, and he knew he wanted to be a part.
Since then, Jovane has become one of Story Stage’s lead teachers for all of its classes: in-school, after school, and throughout the summer. He has also performed a variety of other tasks for Story Stage, including assisting in the creation of curriculum and directing and acting in a majority of our plays.
When he’s not at Story Stage, Jovane can often be found acting on professional stages throughout DFW, reading comic books, walking through his neighborhood park, or rewatching one of his favorite shows.
Beth Finley is a speech-language pathologist with nearly 25 years of experience. She has worked with clients of all ages in a variety of settings including private practice, hospitals, schools, university, as well as hippotherapy. What she loves most about being a speech-language pathologist is getting to know her clients and their families. She strives to listen and learn their stories, so that they can work together on their speech, language, or communication. Currently, Beth is part of a fantastic team of teachers at Story Stage. She also provides speech therapy in her private practice and supervises graduate speech-language pathology students as a clinical educator at TCU.
Otherwise, Beth gets to be a mom to her sons. Beth and her family can often be found laughing, cooking, hanging out, and traveling together. One of her sons happens to be on the autism spectrum and he has taught Beth and her family to look at life with a sweeter and more interesting perspective. His outlook is almost always optimistic and happy. This perspective is something that Beth tries to internalize in all aspects of her life: there is always something good out there to see.
Jenny remains a lifelong advocate for kids, especially for those in need of extra support. After graduating from Saint Edwards University, in Austin, Texas, she began on this journey as a Juvenile Probation Officer. While raising three boys of her own, she sought out ways to keep advocating for kids – be it working in the Child Protective System as a court appointed advocate; editing children’s workbooks to help them learn; or teaching children how to stay safe as an abuse prevention teacher. She now continues her passion by teaching the kids she works with that they have a story to tell, through Story Stage.
Jenny spends the rest of her time in the outdoors and perhaps the best part is being in them with her husband and sons. She was also born and raised into a South Texas ranching family. She currently chairs the Board of Managers to run her family business to ensure that they can continue as a successful ranching family while preserving the land and their heritage for generations to come.
Madi is a recent graduate of the TCU BFA Musical Theatre program who has always had a passion for the arts. A Kansas City native, she relocated to Fort Worth in order to pursue her degree and fell in love with the city and the community she found here. After graduation Madi spent her time volunteering in the children’s ministry at her church as well as nannying four awesome kids, and she began to wonder if she could combine her love of arts with her love of influencing the younger generation. In the Fall of 2016 she answered a call for actors at Story Stage, and the minute she read the first student’s script she knew she had stumbled upon something special.
Since then Madi has spent her time with Story Stage performing a variety of tasks, from teaching to transcribing to performing to organizing costumes. She also runs our social media accounts and handles much of the communication. She feels at home amongst the camaraderie of the office and is passionate about growing Story Stage and making it the best it can be for our students and clients.
Madi also performs professionally across the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, gracing the stage at Shakespeare Dallas, Theatre Three, Lyric Stage, and others. In her free time she loves playing with hair and makeup, having spent four seasons as a Wig Assistant at the Fort Worth Opera, and is an avid reader. You can often find her working or chatting with friends at one of her favorite coffee shops around Fort Worth.
Leigh is a born and raised Fort Worth girl. For as long as she can remember, she has looked for opportunities to help others or bring a smile to another’s face. Leigh spent her early years training in both dance and theatre, and enjoyed the camaraderie of performing in musical theater across Fort Worth. She continued to pursue her love of the arts while in college, joining The University of Oklahoma’s School Chorus and the Musical Theatre Program. Leigh graduated with a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Oklahoma and then pursued a Master’s degree in Counseling at Dominican University of California.
Leigh worked many years with Pfizer Pharmaceuticals helping people live healthier lives. She found great success at Pfizer winning several national sales awards, being selected as a member of Pfizer’s sales advisory team and as a member of the Women In Leadership initiative.
When Leigh became a mother in 2008, she quickly found that her true passion was working with children. She began a teaching career at a private preschool in Fort Worth where she helped three and four year olds build academic and social skills for the next 7
years. During this time Leigh also began a new personal journey. Leigh found that her own daughter struggled with a learning difference. Leigh became a passionate advocate for her daughter’s educational and socio-emotional needs and developed a desire to help others find the best learning environments and professionals for their children.
In an attempt to help her own child and others, Leigh took numerous continuing education courses and trained as a Academic Language Therapist through The Academic Language Therapy Association and the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council. She currently continues to work toward Certification as an Academic Language and Dyslexia Therapist.
In Leigh’s free time she can be found playing with her daughters, spending time with her husband and extended family, walking and riding bikes in Tanglewood Park, going to the gym and, when time, reading a good book. Leigh looks forward to seeing the joy in children’s eyes and the spark in their step as they work to boost academic and language skills at Story Stage.
Rebekah created the Story Stage program while earning her M.Ed. in Mind, Brain, Education at the University of Texas at Arlington. She partnered with Cook Children’s Hospital to pilot the program, and won UTA’s Provost Award for graduate research in 2015.
Many moons before that, Rebekah earned a B.A. in Drama from the University of Texas at Austin. She loved theater, but was probably better at writing plays and sewing costumes than acting. She also couldn’t find a job, so she promptly went back to UT for a Master’s degree. Over 25 years later, she still thinks it’s one of the best decisions she ever made. She loves being a speech-language pathologist and helping people of all ages communicate better, especially children.
When Rebekah’s children were little, she began collecting children’s picture books. Sam, Lucas, and Alice have all outgrown them, but Rebekah never has. Her very favorite is The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater, because it celebrates our differences and reminds us that some problems don’t need to be “fixed” … just looked at from a different perspective.
Rebekah lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, Brian, 3 kids, 3 dogs, 2 chickens, 2 snakes, 1 lizard, and the only cat she’s ever NOT been allergic to.