Board of Directors

Per the organization's bylaws, the Writers' League of Texas is governed by a Board of Directors. The current Board of Directors consists of twelve (12) members (full bios below). For information on board service or to connect directly with one of our board members, feel free to contact us at


Executive Committee

Rodney Sprott

Rodney Sprott, a communications graduate of the University Of Texas at Austin, is retired following a 35+ year career in the field of health and human services. He spent many of those years as an administrator in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps), and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Marcy. Aside from writing mysteries, he spends much of his time chasing after their dog and his super-energetic grandson, Ryder. Prior to becoming board president, Rodney served a four-year term as the League’s treasurer. Current second term expires December 31, 2019.


Chip Dameron 
Vice President

Chip Dameron is the author of seven collections of poems and a travel book. His poems, as well as his essays on contemporary writers, have appeared in numerous literary magazines and journals around the country and abroad. A two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters, he lives and writes in Georgetown, Texas. Current second term expires December 31, 2021.


Anna Marie Dempsey

Anna Marie Dempsey is a partner in the Corporate and Securities section of Thompson & Knight LLP. She regularly advises clients on public and private offerings of equity and debt securities, private equity fund formation, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, corporate governance, and compliance with securities laws, exchange rules, the Investment Company Act, and the Investment Advisers Act. Anna Marie received her J.D. and her B.S.B. in Accounting and Business Administration, with highest distinction, from the University of Kansas. Current second term expires December 31, 2019. 


Marc Hess

Marc Hess lives, works and raises his family in Fredericksburg, TX. Raised in Hawai’i, and educated in the northeast, Marc has held publisher-level roles with iconic titles such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Yankee magazine (yes, that is a lower case “m” in magazine), Aloha and Alaska Magazine (yes, that is a cap “M” in this case.) He has also served as editor of such obscure titles as Schutzhund USA and Gardening South Texas. As founding publisher of The Insider’s Guide to the Texas Hills, Marc leads a talented editorial team that dug into the soul of this recently discovered region and contributed to the early development of the tourist industry here. As publications morphed into websites Marc morphed into a techie and now works with Hill Country Telephone Coop where he gets paid to figure out how to bring optical fiber networks into small towns out in rural Texas. Current second term expires December 31, 2019.


Board Members

Dreux Carpenter 

Dreux Carpenter was born in Washington, DC, grew up in Maryland, and lived in Virginia, Colorado and California before arriving Austin in 2009. He holds a BA in Art, and an MA and MFA in Writing and Consciousness. He has over 25 years experience as a Graphic Designer/Art Director. Current first term expires December 31, 2021.



Richard Cunningham

Richard Cunningham is a freelance science writer based in Houston, Texas. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Oklahoma State University and a master’s degree in Science and Technology Journalism from Texas A&M University. He has been writing magazine articles and books for industrial clients for more than thirty years. Maude Brown’s Baby is his first novel. Current first term expires December 31, 2020.



Heather Holland

Heather Holland is a Jane of all trades. She is the creator of the story project Hunting for Chocolate, and blogs for Sanctuary Yoga in support of the Amala Foundation (a local Austin non-profit empowering youth from all walks of life). She served the US Army on Active Duty for nine years in scientific fields (first as a Field Artillery Meteorological Crewmember and later as a Medic), and endured two deployments in Iraq. She separated honorably in 2013 to pursue writing and work in the fight against modern slavery. Her philanthropic involvement has taken her to the Peruvian Amazon, Nepal, Costa Rica, and Ghana. Heather is a native Texan raised in Colorado. She is a volunteer of the Writers’ League of Texas, which lured her to root down in her southern origin. If you received a hand written thank you note with shotty penmanship it may have been from her. She believes the way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. Current first term expires December 31, 2021.

Michael Hurd

Michael Hurd is a historian, author, and freelance writer who was born in Texarkana, Texas and grew up in Houston, where he graduated from Evan E. Worthing High School in 1967. He is managing editor for the Texas Black History Preservation Project which is documenting almost 500 years of African American presence in Texas as an online encyclopedia. However, his career includes an eight-year stint in the U.S. Air Force as a medic, serving one year (1971) at Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in May 1976 with the Air Force Commendation Medal. He is a graduate in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and has worked as a sports writer at the Houston Post, the Austin American-Statesman, USA Today, and Yahoo Sports. He has authored two books, including “Black College Football, 1892-1992,” the only book that comprehensively documents the legacies of football programs at historically Black colleges. For more than a decade, he served as a member of the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court for Divisional Players, the group that selects small college players to the College Football Hall of Fame, and he currently serves on the selection committee for the Black College Football Hall of Fame. He recently began working on a book, "Thursday Night Lights," for UT Press about the history of football programs at black high schools in Texas before integration, 1920-1970. In the fall of 2015, he became director for the Texas Institute for the Preservation of History and Culture at Prairie View A&M University, a historically black college northwest of Houston. The institute focuses on documenting the almost 500-year history of African American presence in Texas. Current second term expires December 31, 2021.

Terry Sherrell

Terry Sherrell is a native Texan with a BLA. in English and a CMBA from the McCombs School of Business. In her lifelong personal and professional crusade for literature she encourages and promotes authors and publishers in Texas. As an Account Manager at OneTouchPoint, she specializes in books and publications. Terry is a member of the Writers League of Texas and the Travis County Archaeological Society. She is advisor to St. Edward’s journals, Austin Community College’s Rio Review, Festival Hill’s Poetry at Round Top and the Library of Congress Center for the Book among others. Current second term expires December 31, 2019.


Gina E. Springer Shirley 

Gina E. Springer Shirley is an avid reader and passionate writer. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and the University of Texas at Austin. After a career in educational publishing, she is now a romance and women’s fiction writer. She was a finalist in the 2015 Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in the Romance category. You can read her short fiction at or follow her on Twitter at @GESSwrites. She is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas, Romance Writers of America (local and national), Editorial Freelancers Association, and Capital City Scribes. She grew up in Panamá and Seattle, and now makes her home in Austin, Texas, with her husband, daughter, and dogs. Current first term expires December 31, 2021.


Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz is a poet, photographer and punster who landed in Austin 25 years ago by way of Michigan, Colorado, Virginia and Washington, D.C. During her tenure as an award-winning creative director at GSD&M Advertising, she led national campaigns for brands such as Zales, John Deere, Texas Tourism and Hallmark. Her creative work has won industry acclaim from the Cannes Lions, Addys, Clios, and the Communication Arts Advertising Annual. In 2016, she published Haiku Austin, a book of poetry and photography that pays tribute to the Texas capital through witty, 17-syllable poems and vivid pictures. She's currently working on two new titles in her haiku series, Hill Country Haiku and Haiku 'Hooville, a tribute to Charlottesville, Virginia, where she earned a B.A. in English at UVA. In 2003, Carlotta won the O. Henry Pun Off World Championship, much to the delight or chagrin of her two daughters. She is also a fervent Instagrammer -- follow her at @HaikuAustin and @lottapalooza. Current second term expires December 31, 2019.


Mia Zozobrado

Mia Zozobrado is an admission counselor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX; she enjoys working with young adults to help determine their college paths, and has always maintained a passion for higher education. She was first introduced to the League as an intern, became a member in 2017, and joined the board in January 2018. An avid consumer of literature, Mia particularly enjoys reading and reviewing young adult novels; she wrote her undergrad thesis on the presence of the domestic novel and representation of female characters in contemporary young adult literature. Mia received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Southwestern University in May, 2017. Current first term expires December 31, 2020.



Becka Oliver - Executive Director
Michael Noll - Program Director
Samantha Babiak - Member Services Manager & Project WISE Coordinator
Catherine Gregoire - Administrative Assistant


Board of Directors Monthly Meeting

3rd Wednesday each month, 6:30 PM
All members are welcome.
If you'd like to attend a board meeting, please call 512-499-8914 for details.