Meet the Leaf

Our People

Shirley Johnson Cate, Founder and Publisher

Shirley Johnson Cate is the founder and publisher of the Leaf magazine. Her genuine interest in people’s stories, coupled with her love of music and the arts, migrated into a small-town paper back in 2007. The community of McCalla/Tannehill enthusiastically welcomed the Tannehill Trader, which was the first (and only) in the area at the time.

Shirley previously “lived the dream” of any music lover – she owned and operated the store Beanstalk Music for 12 years. It was there that the tenderling sprouts began to grow into the Leaf. As the popularity of the paper grew, so did the distribution area. It became apparent to Shirley that it was time to rebrand in order to fulfil the niche of the paper. She knew that changes could mean the death of the publication, so it was a slow and careful process.

It was necessary to signify this expansion with a new name. Shirley’s inspiration came in the form of a leaflet – a growing, organic, and spiritual pulsing entity; the Leaf – Local Entertainment Art Features. Shirley’s twist was to make this everyone’s local paper. Whether you are in Greystone, Tuscaloosa, McCalla, or Southside, you are encouraged to submit announcements and accolades. While some may still call it the Tannehill Trader, Shirley doesn’t mind – her passion and purpose is simple: know who we are, and enjoy your read.

Shirley thrives on producing this paper, on and offline. Her mission is to yield support of local writers, musicians, photographers, and artists – and she loves the challenge. the Leaf is a positive, vibrant, and colorful publication put together by a unique variety of passionate individuals. Shirley has a rare and special bond with each and every person that contributes to this publication.

When not wearing the many hats with the Leaf, this native Alabama publisher can be found out and about at local music venues or strumming her guitar. She is the mother of 2 daughters, 1 granddaughter, and is awaiting the arrival of a second bundle in October 2016. Most recently, she has taken up target shooting, and guess what – she’s really good. Shirley is still living the dream.
Twitter: @ShirleyJohnsonC

Kelli Dailey, Layout Designer

What is a Layout Designer?

Layout designers, also known as visual concept designers, are responsible for creating the overall look and design for print and Internet publications, such as magazines, blogs, advertisements, books and newspapers. Creating fresh-looking pages while maintaining the publication’s unique style is an important goal to achieve for layout designers.

Starting in August of 2012, I was given the opportunity to become the Layout Designer at the Leaf which has been a wonderful experience for me.

Besides being the Layout Designer, I am one of the ad designers & graphic designers on staff, as well as a monthly columnist. I enjoy freelance graphic design in my spare time.

I am very involved in my church family. Following Christ & serving others is my number one priority in life. When I’m not working or designing you can find me transporting kids to basketball, baseball, or softball practices and games. Sometimes you may find me transporting sick animals to the vet. And other times I am the “lovely assistant” to my hard-working, part-time cowboy on the farm. We live on a small cattle farm in the country where we raise Brangus & Angus cattle, we also have bottle calves, donkeys, chickens, goats, dogs and a cat.

My husband is the full-time Shop Manager at Vance Tire & Alignment. We have two amazing hard-working homeschooled kids who happen to be boy-girl twins and are nothing alike. You can also find my Farm Life & Recipe column under the pen-name Cornbread Mama with more online at
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Our Writers

Tammy Blue

Tammy is a recent Boston transplant to The Ham, making her an official “Damned Yankee.” Originally from small town Pennsylvania, she’s lived all around the United States and currently attends UAB as an English/Writing major.

Tammy is a staff writer and monthly columnist at The Leaf. She likes to think of herself as a storyteller with no brain to pencil filter. She is unable to write anything in pen.

Hobbies or Spare Time:
Tammy is Twitter-pated, and has an unhealthy addiction to Boston sports. She is searching for the world’s perfect coleslaw.

The smell of fresh cut grass in the summer and the air after a good thunderstorm. Having absolutely nothing to do but relax with a cocktail.

Having nothing to do, rude behavior, and people who talk really loud thinking somehow that will magically cure my hearing impairment.

Astrological sign:
Scorpio — pretty much the ruler of the world.


Tammy’s Website
Twitter: @bostonbluebird

Heather Wyatt

Heather Wyatt is an instructor and tutor at the University of Alabama and lives in Tuscaloosa. When she’s not writing, teaching, or enjoying college football, she’s glued to the TV, making a mental wish list of the items featured on QVC, especially from the show In the Kitchen with David. During the jewelry and clothing segments on QVC, Heather switches to the Food Network in hopes to find an episode of Chopped or Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that she hasn’t seen yet. She loves live music, her dog, and orange flavored drinks.
Twitter: @heathermwyatt

Killer Beaz

Bio pending

Brandon Eisenman

Brandon Eisenman is a small-town writer that hails from Dothan, Alabama. He is a 2014 graduate of Wicksburg High School. Brandon found his passion for writing just before graduating high school.

What Brandon Does at The Leaf: Brandon is the sports writer for The Leaf. He covers anything from college to professional sports, mainly football and basketball.

Hobbies: Listening to Metallica and watching sports.

Likes: Funny Vines, Buzzer-Beaters and Game-Changing Plays.

Dislikes: People who don’t know how to drive properly, and your favorite team.

Angie Bell

Angie Bell was born in Georgia, grew up in Florida, and has been living in Birmingham since April, 2014. She has been married 37 years, is the mother of four, grandmother of two, and a former teacher (22 years) who now substitutes, thus having all the fun of hanging out with kids without taking papers home to grade. Angie loves exploring her surroundings, taking photos, and writing about her discoveries. She also blogs on various topics including faith, family, and all things bookish. Her biggest writing goal is to finish her middle-grades book set in Jacksonville, Florida, circa 1970. You can read some of her ramblings at

Michelle Wilson

Michelle is the quirky writer behind the must-read blog, A Southern Ruckus. Forever an Alabama-native, she was originally from Mobile and her current home is in Birmingham. Credential-wise, she has a B.S. in Early Childhood & Elementary Education as well as a Master of Library and Information Science. Additionally, Michelle is an Education Specialist in Library Science and even has her National Board Teacher Certification.

The ruckus surely doesn’t stop there. She’s also an orphan care advocate, a middle school librarian, an adoptive and foster mommy, and an enthusiast of technology, travel, the arts, emotionally-charged literature, and SO much more. Above all loves, Michelle’s priority is family— the man of her dreams AND her three lovely daughters in particular, who also happen to be princesses (the latter, not-so-much the former).

Jilda Watson

Bio pending

Rick Watson

Bio pending

Matt Hartzell

Bio pending

Dee Williams

Bio pending

Matt Kilgore

Bio pending

Jerry Henry

Bio pending

Lyn DiClemente

Bio pending

Clint Davis

Bio pending

Mike Mayfield

Bio pending

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