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 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.


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 Service’s 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.


Secretary William Holland, Pierrepont, works as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York in Canton. William moved to the North Country from New York City with his wife after she accepted a professorship at SLU. He grew up in rural Minnesota, a place similar in many ways to St. Lawrence County. His first time at TAUNY was spent painting a barn quilt in the lower level and he looks forward to becoming more involved.

Treasurer Fran Moore, Saratoga Springs, is retired from the corporate life of Information Technology at IBM, and finally able to express her creative side in pursuit of fiber arts: knitting and spinning; and food-as-art, having delivered several “Tea Talks” and demonstrations at TAUNY and other organizations in Northern NY. Fran’s other volunteer experiences include grant writing; awareness building and fund raising; governance; and program development and delivery.

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.


Judith DeGroat, Madrid, is an Associate Professor of History at St. Lawrence University, with interests in cultural history and commitment to providing her students opportunities to learn about and meet North Country residents during their university years. She has partnered with TAUNY on several student projects over the years, which has allowed students to participate in program planning and documentation of traditional arts at TAUNY, and welcomes the chance to expand that relationship.

 

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.

 
Kate Newell, a native of  St. Lawrence County, currently makes her home in Canton. She is a former elementary school teacher, has served on numerous North Country community boards, and is a co-founder of the Sweetgrass Foundation. She’s been involved with TAUNY since the beginning and continues to be a strong supporter of the organization.


Jackie Sauter, Canton, is retired from her position as 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 featured on her own public radio program, Music for a Monday Afternoon.


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