Thursday, May 30, 2024

Stratford Crier Editorial Board, 2024


The mission of the Stratford Crier is threefold: to provide high-quality local journalism to our community through unbiased reporting; to educate and inform the citizens of Stratford on issues that affect their lives; to encourage civic engagement.

David Chess, Board Chair: Internist and geriatrician; has built multiple health care companies, public and private; founder of Stratford Forward, Stratford Volunteer Corps and the Stratford Crier; strong and active advocate for vital local paper because local policies matter. Stratford resident for 40 years.

Andréa (Andy) Byrne, Board Member, Copy Editor: Former professional actor (20 years); former professional photographer (13 years): wrote and produced monthly newsletter for the New England Photographic Workshop for two years; wrote and produced two monthly newsletters for the ALS Association CT Chapter for fourteen years; deep believe in the value of unbiased local news and civic engagement. Stratford resident for 29 years.

Tucker Chase, Board Member, Vice-Chair: Practicing Architect; director and producer of Shakespearean plays for children and teens for twenty years; Peace Corps Volunteer; family of five; a continuing interest in zoning matters and how they can positively impact quality of life in one’s community if written correctly; believes a strong, locally sourced and locally focused press is a key supporting spoke for keeping the community wheel round. Stratford resident for 25 years.

Thomas Newman, Board Member, Arts and Lifestyle Editor: Lawyer; advisor to boards and senior management of for-profit and not-for-profit entities; active participant in the arts; strong advocate for the importance of building community. Stratford resident for six years.

Walter Owusu, Board Member, Health Co-Editor: Health Educator for the Town of Stratford; B.S. in Biology (SUNY Polytechnic Institute); pursued MPH with focus on Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Public Health Advisor for CDC (contract) and New York Health and Hospitals; worked on diverse range of public health initiatives including COVID-19; strong interest in the health and well-being of communities. Stratford resident for three years.

Orna Rawls, Board member, Health Co-Editor: Stratford-based psychotherapist; previous regular contributor to the late Stratford News; columnist and editorial board member of Connecticut Self Health Networker; editor of a number of professional newsletters; playwright; co-founder of SquareWrights playwriting group and SheSpeak; vocal advocate for transparency in news and government; avid community builder; a veteran of Israel Defense Force; and an indulging grandmother. Stratford resident for 50 years.

Rachel Rusnak, MPA, Board Member, Treasurer: Project Manager for Connecticut’s Office of Health Strategy; former public policy researcher at University of Connecticut; participant in a variety of community organizations; active and vocal in promoting government transparency and accountability, and creating an informed and engaged constituency in Stratford. Stratford resident for eight years.

Mike Suntag, Board Member, Education Editor: A.A. in Journalism; B.A. in English; Master’s in Teaching; secondary school English teacher (19 years); priority grant manager; Acting Executive Director of Bridgeport Futures Initiative at the Annie E. Casey Systems Change Initiative; consultant to State Department of Education/Vocational Technical System. After 39 years in education, co-developed Breakthrough Education Strategies LLC, working to transform urban high schools and middle schools; chair of C.A.R.E. (Citizens Addressing Racial Equity); board member of Stratford Partnership fo Youth and Families; member of Stratford Board of Education’s Planning Committee and Plant Planning Committee; active advocate for truth in factual news, and for fostering today’s youth with the knowledge and skills to create their own futures. Stratford resident for 48 years.

Amy E. Wiltsie, MS, Board Member: Director of Development, Central Connecticut Coast YMCA; BS in Human Services from UCONN; MS in Nonprofit Management from Post University; elected member of the Stratford BOE, 2019 – 2023; Vice-Chair, BOE, 2019 – 2021 and Secretary and Finance Committee Chair, 2021 – 2023; Strategic Operation Planning Committee for Stratford Public Schools; Stratford Rotarian, Secretary and Vice President Elect; Youth and Family Partnership Commission; Juvenile Review Board Member; Vicki Soto Memorial Fund Board Member; committed to the betterment of the Stratford community. Stratford resident for 35+ years.

Gladys Avila Ramos, Board Member: Born in Maricao, Puerto Rico; BA – University of Bridgeport, Housatonic Community College, Sacred Heart University; retired Spanish teacher, St. James School, St. Mark’s School, Board of Education, Bridgeport, CT; founder and member of The Stratford Hispanic Heritage Community; member Stratford C.A.R.E. Committee; Board Member, Stratford Public Library; Stratford resident for over 35 years

Olga Peña, Board Member: Puerto Rican descent; active advocate for educational equity for all children; co-chair of the Stratford Hispanic Heritage committee; member of Stratford C.A.R.E. Committee; graduate of Fashion Institute of Technology, degree in Interior design; independent representative for Alliance Promotional Products; Stratford resident for over 35 years


Barbara Heimlich, Editor-in-Chief: Former reporter for the Connecticut Post newspaper; former professional topical research analyst for new business and new product development.

Sara Chess, Social Media


  1. I’d like to get in contact with Thomas Newman, or any member of the Board willing to hear a pitch for article ideas. I’m 23, Stratford resident since 2007, recently graduated from UConn with a degree in English, Film, and Creative Writing. Please let me know who I can speak with!


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