Publisher and Executive Editor: Dave Wheelan was born and raised in Winnetka, IL, Over the last thirty years, he has worked in the fields of communications, institutional development, and strategic planning with the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, Washington College, The Nature Conservancy, Trust for Public Land, and the University of California, Berkeley. He founded Spy Community Media in 2009, which currently supports three e-newspapers on the Eastern Shore.
Chestertown Spy Editor James Dissette is the founder of monthly community newspapers in Oregon, Michigan and on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He is the 1971 winner of the Sophie Kerr Award for Creative Writing, and most recently published Fierce Blessings, a collection of poems in 2008. He is a partner at Chester River Press and recently designed their current publication, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey as translated by Alexander Pope and is currently working on his book, A Hungry Moon.
Arts & Culture Editor: Val Cavalheri is a recent transplant to the Eastern Shore, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 20 years. She’s been a writer, editor and professional photographer for various publications, including the Washington Post.
Art Editor: Jean Dixon Sanders has been a painter and graphic designer for the past thirty years. A graduate of Washington College, where she majored in fine art, Jean started her work in design with the Literary House lecture program. The illustrations she contributes to the Spies are done with watercolor, colored pencil and ink.
Contributor Julian Jackson, Jr. is a native of Cambridge. A graduate of Cambridge-South Dorchester High School who attended Chesapeake College. Julian began interning at WHCP in 2019 and continues to work with the community radio station on public affairs programming. In addition, Julian works with Mid Shore Graphic Learning and was an early advocate for alternative forms of transportation, including the use of downtown e-bikes.
Contributor Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.
Contributor Mary McCoy is an artist and writer who has the good fortune to live beside an old steamboat wharf on the Chester River. She is a former art critic for the Washington Post and several art publications. She enjoys the kayaking the river and walking her family farm where she collects ideas and materials for the environmental art she creates, often in collaboration with her husband Howard. They have exhibited their work in the U.S., Ireland, Wales and New Zealand.
Contributor Steve Parks is the former arts and entertainment reporter for Newsday.
Contributor Cecile Storm is a native of Cambridge, with a college degree in Contemporary Theatre & Film from the number one drama school in London, and successful tenures at the Avalon Foundation and Rise Up Coffee, Cece has owned and operated her own photography studio since 2015.
Columnist J.E. (John) Dean worked for more than 30 years as an attorney and advocate for clients with interests in federal education and social services legislation. A lawyer, Dean also served as a Counsel to the Committee on Education and Labor of the U.S. House of Representatives. He also served as national chair of the National College Access Network and KnowledgeWorks Foundation. Today he is a writer focusing on politics and federal domestic policy. His interests include politics, photography, nature, travel and the Chesapeake Bay.
Columnist Howard Freedlander retired in 2011 as Deputy State Treasurer of the State of Maryland. Previously, he was the executive officer of the Maryland National Guard. He also served as community editor for Chesapeake Publishing, lastly at the Queen Anne’s Record-Observer. In retirement, Howard serves on the boards of several non-profits on the Eastern Shore, Annapolis and Philadelphia. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in political science and journalism and a master of science degree in strategic intelligence from the Joint Military Intelligence College. He lives in Easton with his wife, Liz, and a Yellow Labrador Retriever named Sandy, the subject of periodic Spy columns.
Columnist Craig Fuller served four years in the White House as assistant to President Reagan for Cabinet Affairs, followed by four years as chief of staff to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Having been engaged in five presidential campaigns and run public affairs firms and associations in Washington, D.C., he now resides on the Eastern Shore with his wife Diane.
Columnist Dennis Forney has been a publisher, journalist and columnist on the Delmarva Peninsula since 1972. He writes from his home on Grace Creek in Bozman.
Columnist Jamie Kirkpatrick is a writer and photographer with homes in Chestertown and Bethesda. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Washington College Alumni Magazine, and American Cowboy magazine. “A Place to Stand,” a book of photographs and essays about Landon School, was published by the Chester River Press in 2015. A collection of his essays titled “Musing Right Along” was released in May and is already in its second printing.
Columnist Laura J. Oliver is an award-winning developmental book editor and writing coach, who has taught writing at the University of Maryland and St. John’s College. She is the author of The Story Within (Penguin Random House). Co-creator of The Writing Intensive at St. John’s College, she is the recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Fiction, an Anne Arundel County Arts Council Literary Arts Award winner, a two-time Glimmer Train Short Fiction finalist, and her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Columnist Angela Rieck is Caroline County native, received her PhD in Mathematical Psychology from the University of Maryland and worked as a scientist at Bell Labs, and other high-tech companies in New Jersey before retiring as a corporate executive. Angela and her dogs divide their time between St Michaels and Key West Florida. Her daughter lives and works in New York City.
Columnist Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al recently published Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.
Commentator Maria Grant: Maria Grant was formerly Principal-in-Charge of Deloitte Consulting’s Federal Human Capital practice and Chief Talent Officer of Deloitte’s Federal practice. She also served as Human Resources Director for Search for Common Ground, and as Associate Editor for Think Magazine with IBM. Maria has led projects for clients in the public and private sectors in the areas of leadership, workforce transformation, communications and culture building, performance management, and learning and development. Maria also served on the Boards of the Women’s Economic Club and the Music Hall in Detroit.
Contributor Amelia Blades Steward is founder of Steward Writing and Communications, a public relations firm in Easton. Her company focuses on copy writing, editing services, and communications plans for nonprofit and for profit companies, small businesses, and local governments. She has written nonfiction articles for national, regional, and local publications for over 33 years. A lifelong storyteller, Steward published her first book in the spring of 2014, a memoir which she co-authored with Charles H. Thornton, entitled “Charles H. Thornton: A Life of Elegant Solutions.”
Commentator Tom Timberman is an Army vet, lawyer, former senior Foreign Service officer, adjunct professor at GWU, and economic development team leader or foreign government advisor in war zones. He is the author of four books, lectures locally and at US and European universities. He and his wife are 24 year residents of Kent County.
Consulting Editor: Kathy Bosin is a master gardener, hobby photographer, writer and food-lover, Kathy captures her observations about life in Talbot County on A Chesapeake Journal as well as the Spies. With a Masters Degree in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, Kathy’s career has ranged from psychiatric social work in the inner city – to pioneering urban gardens as a platform for community development, and creating large scale public art on display in cities across the country. She lives in Bozman with her husband, artist/master printer Kevin Garber.
Technology Director: Derek Beck is a UI designer and front-end developer for user interface design and branding. He works primarily Photoshop, Espresso, jQuery, WordPress, and Google Chrome. He is the founder and owner of abovecreative.com.