Creative Advisory Council
The Delmarva Free School’s Creative Advisory Council is a service position responsible for the creation, study, and application of our wellness curriculums.*
Bri Chavez, Female Mentor
Bri will be leading our virtual women’s circles this year, sharing her exploration of how to have strong relationships by beginning with the one you have with yourself.
She is a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate in California. Currently she works on a ranch in Nevada City for adolescent males who have dropped out of foster care. While she is not on the ranch, Bri enjoys practicing aerial silks and dancing. She recently spent a year in Colorado, enjoying the beauty of the land and doing some soul searching.
Jonathan Hurteau, Male Mentor
Jon will be leading our virtual men’s circles this year, sharing his exploration of how to have strong relationships by beginning with the one you have with yourself.
Jon set out on his spiritual path a decade ago, and it has led from deep in the mountains of Northern California to the high elevation deserts of Northern New Mexico. Jonathan took part in a vision quest led by the School of Lost Borders. He fasted alone for 5 days under the stars. In the years to follow, he attended numerous sweat lodge ceremonies, and breath workshops, including holotropic breath work. Jonathan completed the first of two 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreats in 2011, and went on to complete a month long energetic body-healing work study program at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, in 2013.
Jonathan’s work led him to develop a passion for holistic personal training, a method for personal health centered upon spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing. He is committed to creating and sustaining a holistic lifestyle and community. He lives in Oakland, CA, and enjoys writing, practicing martial arts, and cooking decadent meals with his girlfriend of many years.
Sepideh Hakimzadeh, MA, LMFT, Clinical Consultant
Sepi works closely with Kelly and Bri in a mentorship capacity, providing clinical feedback and commitment to strong relationship building.
Sepideh was born in Iran, and her family immigrated to the United States as refugees when she was five years old. Throughout her formative years, her family moved around quite a bit, and she was exposed to a variety of American cultures in different regions of the country. She brings a unique perspective as an Iranian-American woman, having always straddled two different worlds. Sepi had to learn how to carve out space for her dreams and aspirations outside of any rigid socio-cultural, gender-based, or familial demands. She understands all too well how our cultural heritage and social conditioning can influence, limit, support, and impact us.
Sepi continues to experience what it takes to create one’s own narrative and mythology and understands that her individual actions and choices have a louder, broader, deeper collective reverberation. She has immersed herself in the pursuit of self-discovery through dance (5 Rhythms and Soul Motion), yoga, meditation, and shamanic initiations. Sepideh has traveled and lived abroad extensively — in India, France, Ecuador, and many other Latin American countries — experiencing different cultures, traditions, and ways of life firsthand.
Sepideh’s approach to therapy reflects her approach to life. It is filled with curiosity. She believes the therapeutic process works best when a somatic (body-centered) approach is used in tandem with depth therapy and psychodynamic psychology (interpretation of behavior, feelings, and emotions), rather than when one is utilized to the exclusion of the other.
Board of Directors
The affairs of the Delmarva Free School shall be managed by its Board of Directors.*
Kelly J. Johnson, Board Treasurer
Kelly Johnson’s decade of bookkeeping, accounting, and business management experience contributes to the strong financial and operational foundation of our organization. Her spiritual life and worldview are rooted in a connection to the natural world nurtured by childhood camping trips, early morning fishing, and barefoot summers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This love of the natural world, and a desire to protect it, led Kelly to pursue a BA in Environmental Policy from Warren Wilson College in the mountains of North Carolina. She credits her eight years in Asheville with initiating her to numerous spiritual practices and ideas, including Kundalini Yoga, esoteric Christianity, and good old fashioned dirt worshipping. She carries these practices in her daily life today.
Kelly returned to Maryland in 2010 to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English and, after a few years in the classroom, returned to the business world. Kelly’s professional philosophy is that every business has the power to be a force for good and that social entrepreneurship is a mentality that we can all bring to our work, regardless of what it is. In her free time, you can find Kelly expressing her love of food through cooking or seeking new and interesting grub spots, hanging out on her back porch staring at the woods, or spending quality time with her loved ones.
Brooks Long, Board Creative Advisory Council Representative
Brooks Long is the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation Community Arts and Programming Fellow at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore City. Brooks passion as a musician is for bringing old school to today’s music lovers in a style all his own. He and his band have shared the stage with such varied acts as Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band, Lucero, Ben Lee, Low Cut Connie, Caleb Stine, Cris Jacobs, and LaFayette Gilchrist.
In 2014, his band was named “Best Real R&B” in Baltimore City Paper. The same year Brooks began a year-long Maryland Traditions apprenticeship through the Maryland State Arts Council, with Wendell Holmes of the blues/roots band, The Holmes Brothers. Following Wendell’s passing, Brooks began playing guitar and singing with Sherman Holmes, Wendell’s dear brother and bandmate. Brooks lives in Baltimore, and plays all over with his band The Mad Dog No Good.
Erika Robuck, Board Secretary
Erika Robuck is the national bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl, Call Me Zelda, Fallen Beauty, The House of Hawthorne, and Receive Me Falling. She is also a contributor to the anthology Grand Central: Postwar Stories of Love and Reunion, and to the Writer’s Digest essay collection Author in Progress. #Hockeystrong, as E. Robuck, is her first satire. She has her own blog, Muse, and is a member of the Hemingway, Historical Novel, and Millay Societies. In 2014, Robuck was named Annapolis’ Author of the Year, and she resides there with her husband and three sons.
Laura Walsh, Board Vice President
Laura has spent her career in the legal publishing field. With a focus on digital offerings, she is required to wear many hats simultaneously. Her day-to-day involves simple, old fashioned editing, conducting fact-checking research, creating and evolving web-based applications, doing customer outreach for new product concept testing, and managing the workflow of offshore contractors. She is part of a close-knit team — it’s not just what you do, but who you do it with. Laura received a B.A. in English Literature from Washington College in 2002, and is a devotee of striking the balance between urban and natural landscape experiences.
*from our Non-Profit By-Laws