Meet our Festival Team

 Vivian Rutherford, Artistic Director

Vivian Rutherford, is a storyteller who inspires through vivid tales and commands attention and affection from rapt listeners of her stories. A retired Children’s Librarian of 20+ years, Vivian enjoys sharing stories with audiences of all ages, presenting workshops, and mentoring youth from the Heart of Texas Storytelling Guild/Waco. She has worked actively with TSA since 2006, including being a past board member. Vivian enjoys being a wife, mother, and Mimi to five.

Janet Bickel-Burton, Managing Logistics Director

Janet “retired” in 2018 after 27 years working at Texas Woman’s University medical library and as an instructional designer. Janet still teaches research strategies and skills at SMU’s Business Library. During her journeys to earn a master’s degree in library science, a class assignment led to discovering the Texas Storytelling Festival in Denton, TX. She is the recipient of the TSA Volunteer Service Award. Janet and high school sweetheart and husband Wilgus have returned each year since 1991.

Elizabeth Ellis, HOT Funds/Grants Director & Festival Advisor

Elizabeth is Tejas Storytelling Association’s first president, and during the organization’s 32-year history, she served on the board for 15 years. A recipient of both the Circle of Excellence and Lifetime Achievement awards from the National Storytelling Network, she is most proud of receiving the award in honor of John Henry Faulk from TSA. She is the author of From Plot to Narrative and Every Day a Holiday, and co-author of Inviting the Wolf In: Thinking About Difficult Stories. Her newest work is Prepare To Scare, available from Parkhurst Brothers.

Kim Lehman, Marketing Director

Kim Lehman, of Smithville, is an educator, storyteller, musician, workshop presenter, and author. Currently on the Texas Commission on the Arts Touring Roster, she has performed at hundreds of festivals, schools, libraries, and museums. Kim is in demand throughout Texas as an effective workshop presenter with practical, inexpensive program ideas for librarians, teachers and parents. Kim is honored to be a recipient of TSA’s John Henry Faulk Award.

Youth Events Director – Sue Kuentz

Sue excites youth audiences with her folktales and fairytales from around the world. An elementary school educator for 32 years, she has conducted many workshops. Sue not only continues her youth storytelling club in the schools, empowering each child involved, but has been the organizer for the Texas Storytelling Youth Challenge each year. Sue has been honored with H-E-B’s Lifetime Excellence in Teaching, NEISD’s teacher of the year, a featured Texas Teller at the Texas Storytelling Festival, as well as emceeing and storytelling on their various stages.

Dalton Gregory

Dalton retired after 36 years as a teacher and principal. He has worked with students Pre-K through college seniors. He was introduced to storytelling by the founders of this festival. He has told in schools, churches, civic clubs, scout groups, barber shops, and campfires throughout the Weminuche Wilderness in Colorado.

Michael Brundy, Volunteer Coordinator

Michael Brundy retired from the Southwestern Bell/AT&T after 40 years of service. He is currently the president of the Dallas Storytelling Guild and is a member of the North 40 Storytelling Guild. He is a new member of the Texas Storytelling Association Board. He has a passion for public speaking and storytelling and is in the Toastmaster International Hall of Fame. Michael enjoys telling personal and historical stories. His goal is to inform, inspire and entertain his audiences. His latest book is Make a Point, Tell a Story

Jaye McLaughlin, Festival Advisor

Jaye has been attending the Texas Storytelling Festivals since 1986. Now retired from many years as a children’s librarian, Jaye is now very involved with many storytelling organizations including TSA, Tarrant Area Guild of Storytellers, and L’il D Storytelling Guild. She is also a founding member of Tipi Tellers. Her many years of service to the storyteller community was recognized when she became a recipient of the Marvin Brown Volunteer Service Award in 2012.

Rick Davis, TSA Program Director

From Woodville in Southeast Texas, Rick Davis escaped to Austin where he earned degrees, worked for the state, and now welcomes storytelling as a friendly alternative to “truth.” Admiring recordings and writings of Doc Moore, Rick performs many of Doc’s favorites, from chilling ghost stories to humor-filled Jack Tales.

TSA Office Manager – Carol Barrow

Carol joined TSA as office manager in 2021 just in time for the first virtual festival in TSA history. She has been married to her husband Mike for 41 years and they have 3 great children. After 23 years as an elementary school secretary, she retired and enjoys spending as much time as she can with her 2 granddaughters. Carol is looking forward to meeting everyone face to face with TSA and the festival.

ScheduleTicketsLocations and LodgingTale Spinner Dinner – Silent Auction – Story StoreFeatured StorytellersFringeLiars ContestStory and Poetry SlamsMaster ClassesWorkshopsYouth EventsSponsorsFestival Team