The Board of Directors of TJ Arts is made up of TJ alumni and community, business, and educational leaders who are passionate about the arts and dedicated to helping the arts flourish in the schools and communities of West Jefferson Hills. Our board expectations are available here.
Board of Directors
Carolyn Bourgeois (TJ 1980)
Carolyn is very active in school district, community, and church activities and groups. She has been with TJ Arts for 10 years. She and her husband Bob (TJ 1979) have three children.
Katie Conaway (TJ 2007)
Katie Conaway is a proud 2007 grad who participated in the TJ Drama Club during her high-school years, including roles in the productions and serving as ITS President. She currently serves as the Director of Marketing for Global Travel Alliance and resides in Pleasant Hills with her husband, Craig, a fellow ’07 alumnus.
Kathleen Goettler (TJ 1979)
Kathleen is a graduate of TJ and was active in the Drama Club, which became Theatre Arts in her senior year. She has remained active in many community groups and organizations throughout the years. She raised three beautiful, diverse, and successful children and is a Postmaster with the United States Postal Service.
Julia Malecki (TJ 2005)
Julia was very involved in the theatre and music programs at TJ as a performer in 10 productions, member of Drama Club, ITS, marching band, jazz band, and symphonic wind ensemble. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2009, Julia has worked for a variety of arts organizations in public relations, marketing, development, and leadership roles and is currently Associate Director of Development for the Peabody Institute at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She is proud to be a founding board member of TJ Arts and to serve alongside her parents, from whom she inherited her love of the arts.
Rockie is an Ohio native who moved to Jefferson Hills in 1996 after accepting a position with PNC Bank in Pittsburgh. She retired from PNC in 2019, after working for 42 years as AVP, PNCCS Controller, and Finance Manager. Rockie’s son Andrew is a 2009 TJ graduate and a 2013 Pitt graduate with a double major in Theatre Arts and English Lit. While at TJ, Andrew performed in five plays. At Pitt, he honed his sound design skills on eight plays. He is currently the resident sound engineer at Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Rockie currently resides in West Mifflin with her cat Henry.
Jay has maintained a lifelong love of the arts. In addition to his career teaching literature, film history, and humanities classes at Peters Township High School, Jay has, over the years: published various pieces on the local arts scene in Pittsburgh Magazine; been a film critic for WYEP-FM; and co-hosted (along with Dawn Walters) the TJ Artscast, interviewing leading arts figures in the Pittsburgh area. Museums and cultural activities remain favorite things to do, particularly when traveling, as the arts are the best ways to flex one’s mind.
Karen Suszynski (TJ 1968)
A lifelong resident of West Jefferson Hills, Karen taught literature, communications, and theatre classes at TJ for 36 years, where she co-founded the theatre program with Virginia Shew and Ruth Weingart. Upon retirement, Karen founded TJ Arts in 2009, continuing the legacy of supporting the arts in WJH as a full-time volunteer. Together with husband Jay, they raised their daughter Julia immersed in the arts, sharing their importance in all of our lives.
Dawn Walters (TJ 1979)
Dawn was a four-year member of TJ’s choir and a member of Vocal Arts her senior year. She participated in every aspect of Theatre Arts while a student at TJ, including acting, stage crew, and business committees. She currently is the sales team coordinator/project manager at burkeMICHAEL+ contract furniture company. She has been in the furniture industry for 15 years and prior to that, performed the same duties in the signage industry. Dawn attended Community College of Allegheny County, majoring in child development, which has served her well in her customer service duties. A lifelong resident of the West Jefferson Hills School District, Dawn has served on the planning committee for the Cystic Fibrosis annual event “Penguins At Your Service” dinner, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Penguins, for 10 years. She is an avid reader and makes an annual pilgrimage to New York City to see the latest shows on Broadway. Her love of theatre began as a child when she attended her first play, “You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown,” at the Stanley Theater!
Advisors to the Board
Dayna Liberati DiRienzo (TJ 1979)
Dayna is a TJ Theater Arts alum and one of the founding members of TJ Arts, having served in a variety of board positions, including marketing, PR, and fundraising, during the organization’s early years. She is chief creative officer and owner of inTandem Communications LLC, a small marketing communications firm based in Wexford, PA. Dayna received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Ohio University. She and her husband, Guy, have four children.
Amy Heathcott (TJ 1990)
Amy was involved in theatre at Thomas Jefferson High School both as a student (winning the Weingart Theatre Award in 1990) and later as a volunteer and staff member for five years, including directing five main stage productions. Amy holds a M.Ed. in School Leadership from California University of PA and bachelor’s degrees in theater and secondary education from Point Park University. She is currently the Director of Education at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland, Beaver County. She spent three years as the educational programs director at Pittsburgh Musical Theater and has been the stage manager or production manager for more than 25 professional productions, including two national tours. Amy has taught theater in public schools in Maryland and Virginia and was previously the Maryland state director for the Educational Theater Association. Amy is also a freelance education writer and has written for ARTSEDGE with The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, StageNotes, and Camp Broadway for the United Nations Foundation. She lives in Shaler with her husband, Chad, and their two children, Colin and Madeline.