Traditional Arts in Upstate New York. Traditional Arts of Upstate New York
53 Main Street
Canton, NY 13617
(315) 386-4289

Board of Directors

A nonprofit incorporated organization, TAUNY is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The Board meets bi-monthly, usually on the third Friday of each month.

President Jackie Sauter, Canton, is Program Director at North Country Public Radio. She is a member of a variety of community groups, with a special interest in the arts and in assisting individuals with disabilities and their families. Her particular interests include world, traditional, and folk music, which she features on her own public radio program, Music for a Monday Afternoon.

Vice President Ruth McWilliams, South Colton, co-owns and manages Catamount Lodge & Forest LLC with her husband Joe. She is a native of St. Lawrence County, raised on a family-owned dairy farm in Lisbon. Ruth is interested in sustainable approaches to community development and natural resource management. She recently retired from the US Department of Agriculture after 30 years of public service; she last served as the Forest Serviceís National Sustainable Development Coordinator in Washington, DC. She also currently serves as president of a local family foundation created in honor of her parents. Ruth and Joe have a grown son who lives in Virginia.

Treasurer Peter Beekman, Canton, is retired director of principal gifts at Clarkson University. Prior to joining Clarkson, he worked at St. Lawrence University and the University of Vermont. He is a member of numerous professional organizations and values community service. He enjoys spending summers at Trout Lake with his wife Barbara and their two children.

Neal Burdick, a seventh-generation Northern New Yorker, grew up in Plattsburgh and is a Phi Bata Kappa graduate of St. Lawrence University; he also holds a Ph.D. in American Studies. A long-time resident of Canton, he recently retired as senior writer / editor at St. Lawrence, where he continues as an Advanced Writing professor. Burdick is editor of Adirondac, the magazine of the Adirondack Mountain Club; a columnist for NNY Living magazine; and a frequent contributor to Adirondack Explorer and Adirondack Life magazines. He is also a husband, father and grandfather.

Chris Covert, Jr., Saranac Lake, joined the TAUNY Board of Directors in 2019, after serving for 5 years on TAUNY's Advisory Board. Chris is the broker, owner, and founder of Guide Boat Realty, LLC, which he opened in 2000 after working full time in the field for 15 years. During two terms as president of the Northern Adirondack Board of Realtors, Chris was instrumental in expanding the board's territory substantially and oversaw the Board's first implementation of a computerized multiple listing system.

Alan Hersker is the Director of the General Education Program, and Associate Professor of Applied Anthropology at SUNY Potsdam. His research interests include organizational anthropology, heritage management, Gender and LGBTQ studies. He and his partner, Eric King, live in Oxbow with several large rescue dogs, a few cows, some goats, and Sulli the Llama. He also serves on the boards of the Oxbow Historical Association and the Oxbow Volunteer Fire Company.

Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, Canton, is Distinguished Service Professor Ermerita, recently retired from the Anthropology Department at SUNY Potsdam. Having earned her PhD at McGill University (Linguistics, 1984), she has spent over 30 years researching the language and culture of the Amish, focusing in particular on Amish family life and education. She is the author of Train Up a Child. Old Order Amish and Mennonite Schools (2007, Johns Hopkins) and New  York Amish. Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State (2010; 2nd ed. 2017, Cornell University Press). Karen is also a co-author (with Donald Kraybill and Steve Nolt) of The Amish (2013, Johns Hopkins). She is currently working on a book about Amish women.

Madeline Snell Pennington, Parishville, retired from her position as Executive Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Saint Lawrence County in 2005 after years of working for the Cornell Cooperative Extension in various roles starting in 1983. She also has a background in teaching and received her Masterís in Education from SUNY Potsdam in 1988. Currently Madeline is Regent of the Nihanawate Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, President of the Parishville Hilltoppers Senior group, and Vice President of the Parishville Historical Association.  

Madeline loves the North County, especially its rural heritage, which she feels a part of since her family arrived in the area in the early 1800ís. She is passionate about the farmland, forests, wildlife, and rivers and believes we must preserve and protect these aspects of our rural life for the next generation.


TAUNY's advisory board contributes their expertise and strategic thinking to the organization.

Hallie Bond, Long Lake

Linda Casserly, Canton

Fred Hanss, Potsdam

Melissa Hart, Peru

Sue Ellen Herne, Hogansburg

Allan P. Newell, Hammond

Carol Smith Pynchon, Canton

Tracy L. Robertson, Theresa

Ginny Schwartz, Canton and Upper Saranac Lake

T. Urling Walker, Watertown

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