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MaryAnn Blue, President

Mary Ann Blue lives in San Antonio and is a retired Spanish teacher with forty-five years of experience in the classroom.

Mary Ann is also a storyteller and a storytelling teacher of youth tellers. She has given keynotes and workshops at language conferences on using storytelling in language acquisition. She has been a featured teller at the Texas Storytelling Festival, the George West Storyfest, and a storyteller at the first annual Dobie Dichos in Oakville, Texas.

MaryAnn is a former board member of the Tejas Storytelling Association, and a present board member of the San Antonio Storytellers Association. Mary Ann has served several times as Assistant Director of the Texas Storytelling Festival, Artistic Director of the Festival, Director of the Texas Storytelling Conference, and Program Chair for both Conference and Festival.

She is a recipient of two awards from the Tejas Storytelling Association, the John Henry Faulk Award for her outstanding contribution to the art of storytelling in the Southwest and the Colson-Herndon Educators’ Award in appreciation for her advancement of storytelling in education. She continues to work as a Spanish tutor, storytelling and public speaking coach, and consultant. She is married to David Coffman, and together they have nine grandchildren, ranging in age from three to twenty-two.

KRISTINA DOWNS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/Secretary-Editor

Kristina Downs, Ph.D.Kristina Downs is an assistant professor of English and folklore at Tarleton State University, the host institution of the Texas Folklore Society. Before joining the faculty in 2021, Kristina worked with the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and Northern Virginia Community College.

Kristina is the daughter of a Texan and a Louisianian but grew up all over the United States courtesy of the United States Air Force. She explored various disciplines and careers before discovering she had been looking for folklore studies all her life. She holds a Ph.D. in Folklore from Indiana University, an MA in Folklore from George Mason University, and a BA in Latin American Studies from the College of William and Mary.

Kristina was managing editor of the Journal of Folklore Research for five years and is co-editor of the edited volume Advancing Folkloristics (Indiana University Press, 2021), which considers current issues in the field of folklore studies. Her research focuses mostly on legends, particularly how legends interact with history, literature, news, and digital culture. Her dissertation examined representations of Indigenous heroines in the United States and Mexico.

Amanda Jenkins, office manager

Amanda JenkinsAmanda Jenkins has been on staff at Tarleton State University since 2018 when she signed on as an executive assistant. She previously worked as a community journalist in Stephenville, Glen Rose, and the surrounding communities. During her journalism career, Amanda garnered numerous press awards including being a three-time Journalist of the Year with the West Texas Press Association and being awarded the best small news website by the Texas Press Association. She is also an awarded feature and headline writer, with accolades from various press associations across the state of Texas.

Born in Kentucky to a Texas cowman, Amanda’s family moved her to Texas at six months old - as quickly as they could. She has since identified as a Texan. She considers El Paso her hometown and has a love for border culture and the region’s native flavors. Her family has deep roots in East Texas, primarily in Anderson County, where some of her family still resides.

Amanda has been called a lot of (mostly good) things, but her favorite moniker is storyteller. Her love for the craft comes from her father’s shared memories (maybe a few tall tales) of growing up in a poor farming family in rural East Texas.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

2023–2024
Executive Team

PRESIDENT. . . . . . . . . .MaryAnn Blue (San Antonio)

VICE-PRESIDENT. . . . . . . . . .Jo Virgil (Austin)

TREASURER. . . . . . . . . .Blaine Williams (Dripping Springs)

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/SECRETARY-EDITOR . . . . . . . .Kristina Downs (Stephenville)

PAST PRESIDENT. . . . . . . .Meredith Abarca (El Paso)

OFFICE MANAGER. . . . . . . .Amanda Jenkins (Stephenville)

DIRECTORS

Dina Lopez (Lubbock) 2025

Lucy Fischer West (El Paso) 2025

Justin Swink (Watauga) 2026

Jim Matthews (San Antonio) 2027

Heath Dollar (Fort Worth) 2027

Gayle Modrall (Lubbock) 2025

Kaitlyn Chacon (Laredo) 2026

Linda Spetter (Eastland) 2026

Richard Orton (Nacogdoches) 2027

John Pelham (Granbury) 2027

Complete list of TFS Presidents