Meet our Star-Studded Staff!

Our Departments

Faculty and staff are the foundation of daily operations at Westinghouse Arts Academy. Our faculty assists students in developing themselves into young arts professionals and critical thinkers. As a community, we advocate for the advancement of arts education in Western Pennsylvania.

Leadership Staff

Student Services

School Operations

Liberal Arts

Creative Arts

Performing Arts

School Leadership Staff

Dr. Kelly Lombard


412-646-1718 Ext. 7032

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Gregory A. Beal

Executive Director

412-646-1718 Ext. 7024

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Dr. Debra Lehew

Director of Special Education

412-646-1718 Ext. 7019

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Anna Very

Dean of Students

412-646-1718 Ext. 7034

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Alex Boyd

School Operations & Production Manager

412-646-1718 ext. 7028

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Student Services

Shirley Brynda

Student Services Administrative Assistant

412-646-1718 Ext. 7013

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Rebecca Black

School Counselor

412-646-1718 Ext. 7025

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Alicia Schmidt

School Counselor

412-646-1718 Ext. 7011

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Caitlin Weaver

School Couselor

412-646-1718 Ext. 7005

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School Operations

Select a tab for the department you would like to view contact information. Click on each staff member’s email address to message them directly.

Dawn Kapolka | School Operations Coordinator/Assistant to Principal | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7000

Christina Branch | Marketing & Recruitment Coordinator | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7030

BethAnn Utz | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7007

Kathy Parello | Director of Food Services | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 7027

Sheri O’Leary | Food Services Supervisor | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7006

Dave Simpson | Maintenance Personnel | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7020

Gary Farrell | Chief of Campus Security | | 412-646-1718 ext. 8101

Walter Boyd | School Security Officer | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7022

Cologero Coppola | Director of Technology | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7008

Amber Hinkle | Business Manager | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7018

Adam Barbee | Business Coordinator | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7001

Liberal Arts

Select a tab for the department you would like to view major-specific faculty. Click on each faculty member’s email address to message them directly.

Amanda Bateman | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7300

Rhonda Olshanski | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7204

Erin Wrisley | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7302


Savannah Bruno | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7004

Chris Estadt | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7305

Will Kobily | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7303

Marianna Wolf | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7313

Mariah Yushinski | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7307

Gretchen DeLopez | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7202

David Graham | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7304

Will Kobily | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7303

Lindsey McDivitt | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7309

Kate Best | | 412-6464-1718 ext. 7206

Courtney Bold | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7207

Paige Parshall | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7301

April Balsomico | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7311

Kimberly Kunkle | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7311

Creative Arts Faculty

Select a tab for the department you would like to view major-specific faculty. Click on each faculty member’s email address to message them directly.

Alea Del Prete | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 5209

Rob Schultz | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 5221

Jon (Rob) Shultz’s design aesthetic revolves around a pinch of a retro flair mixed in with a bit of an art-deco and industrial influences. His work ranges from graphic design to product and mixed media design to painting and sculpture. Shultz has worked with major brands/clients including Harley-Davidson, Coca-Cola, Playboy, Littlearth, RUE 21, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Spencer Gifts, REI, Hobie, Eyetique, and MTV. His work has evolved and has taken front and center on a world wide stage. His work for bands including Nine Inch Nails, Front 242, Depeche Mode, and The Clark’s helped cement his gutsy, industrial edge. From the runways of New York Fashion Week to showrooms and stores all over the world, Shultz’s creations have sold in the millions. Now an instructor at Westinghouse Arts Academy, Shultz has found a great home where he brings a cornucopia of experience and a lifetime of real world success.


Adam Ahlgrim | | 412-646-1718 ext. 7203

Adam Ahlgrim received his BA in English and Education from Baldwin Wallace University, an MA in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University, and is a PhD Candidate in English at Duquesne University. At Duquesne, he has taught Freshman and Sophomore writing, literature, and film courses since 2019. 

Aside from literature, one of Adam’s passions and academic focuses is literary theory and philosophy. He adores helping students navigate these notoriously difficult texts without giving up. Professionally, he assisted in writing footnotes for the third edition of The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 

At home, Adam enjoys dabbling in various forms of printmaking and being weird with his young daughter. 

You’ll most likely be able to find him working on his dissertation with bloodshot eyes in his classroom after school.


Austenne Gniadek | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 5219

Austenne Gniadek earned a bachelor’s in K-12 art education and a master’s in further studies in secondary education both from California University of Pennsylvania. She has experience in a wide variety of mediums, however, gravitates towards working in colored pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor. Austenne began teaching at Westinghouse Arts Academy in the spring of 2021 and is the faculty leader for Westinghouse’s summer art camps and our chapter of the National Art Education Association. Austenne is also an avid art history enthusiast and loves to learn and discuss art throughout time. Outside of teaching, Austenne keeps busy with her Australian Shepherd pup, Indigo. Her personal teaching philosophy leads her teaching style to be flexible, understanding, and comprehensive in all aspects of art and its history. Austenne aims to teach empathy, creative problem solving and creative thinking in all aspects of the curriculum.


McKenna Wingrove | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 5111

Makenna Wingrove holds a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Penn West University. She is a jack of all trades, but enjoys sculpture, ceramics, and printmaking most of all. Makenna began teaching at Westinghouse Art Academy in 2021. Her teaching philosophy encourages students to tap into their own unique artistic talent while also being pulled out of their comfort zone. Creativity is essential to succeed in an interdisciplinary education and students should be encouraged to express their individuality. When she is not at school you can usually find her at the AMC movie theater surrounded by buckets of popcorn.


Jada Patterson | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 5217

Jada Patterson is a multidisciplinary artist and crafts person born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Jada began their studies at the Kansas City Art Institute where they received their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Art History. They’ve continued their studies as a fellow, mentee and resident at art and craft schools across the country including the Ox-Bow School of Arts, Charlotte Street Foundation, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, John C. Campbell Folk School and the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. Their personal work spans across ceramics, sculpture as well as traditional craft mediums such as broom making and basketry. Working primarily in clay, beeswax and assemblage, Jada explores beauty, adornment, girlhood and material culture as it relates to the human condition. In the classroom Jada teaches all grade levels in Foundations, Printmaking as well as other Art Electives.

Emily Newman | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 5206

Emily Newman was born in Singapore, raised in London, and settled in Pittsburgh about 10 years ago after years of living and traveling all over. Since then she has taught art extensively in Pittsburgh all the way from elementary to collegiate levels. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Bard College in New York, her Master’s of Fine Arts from CalArts in Los Angeles, and her Master’s of Art Education from Chatham, here in Pittsburgh. She is a Fulbright Scholar and has shown her work internationally, most recently in 2022 at the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh where she displayed a wide array of works in video, interactive sculpture, and screenprinting. She is a recent recipient of a Heinz Endowment grant, Newman is using to make socially engaged artwork with Russian families recently scattered across the world in response to the war in Ukraine. Her work is located directly at the intersection between digital and studio and she is excited to work with students across those disciplines while teaching at Westinghouse.

Performing Arts Faculty

Select a tab for the department you would like to view major-specific faculty. Click on each faculty member’s email address to message them directly.

Tracey Casciato | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 7012

Award-winning choreographer, Tracey Casciato is the head of the Dance Department here at Westinghouse Arts Academy. She has taught in the industry for over 30 years while co-owning/directing her own dance studio and competitive dance team.

Mrs. Casciato is extremely well-versed in all styles of dance. While she currently teaches mostly juniors and seniors, you can find her observing and overseeing all dance classes, choreographing performances for school productions, or working at her studio, Studio G Dance Center. Tracey has taught dancers who have gone on to be professional dancers and performers for theme parks, cruise ships, and equity stages. Miss Tracey is overjoyed to be returning for her third year here at WAA!


Stephanie Tolbert-King | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 5208

Stephanie Tolbert-King has 13 years of professional dance training and 11 years of experience teaching and choreographing. She has training in a diversity of styles from modern to ballroom. She graduated from Eastern University with a BA in dance. Her teaching assistantship experience in higher education includes Temple University, Drexel University, and Eastern University. In 2013, she was awarded a full tuition scholarship from American Dance Festival, Durham, NC. Her choreography has been recognized by internationally renowned adjudicators at several American College Dance Festivals. Her choreography credits include Philadelphia and Wilmington Fringe Festivals, Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers present Inhale Performance Series (Philly), WAXworks (Brooklyn), Amalgamate Artist Series (Manhattan), American College Dance Festival (Penn State and Hofstra University), 7Midnights Physical Research (Manhattan), That Which Connects: Camden’s Festival of Dance, and Ground for Sculpture (NJ). Stephanie has performed in pieces originally choreographed by Isadora Duncan, Michel Fokine and Dr. Kariamu Welsh. She choreographed/performed as a company member for 2 seasons with MM2 Modern Dance Company and Introspective Movement Project. She was Site Director and dance teacher in New Orleans for 3 years with Indigenous Pitch Dance Collective, as well as First Position Dance Arts and Academy of Social Dance (PA).

Stephanie was a full-time lead dance teacher at Success Academy Charter Schools, the largest and highest-performing charter school network in NYC. Her other dance teaching credits include The Harvey School, a private, college-preparatory school in Katonah, NY, Ridgefield School of Dance, and Conservatory of Dance, Wilton, CT. In 2020, she became the Dance Program Director at MVP Camp in Honesdale, PA, where she founded the dance program. Stephanie is the founder and artistic director of TK Dance Lab, a dance company and virtual platform that connects artists across area codes and uses dance to advocate for equity and social change. In 2021, Stephanie received a residency with Mignolo Arts in Metuchen, NJ, where she prepared and presented her full-length work, Algorithms, AI & The Machine. Stephanie is certified with the NAAADT (National Association of American African Dance Teachers) to teach Umfundalai, a contemporary African dance technique founded by Dr. Kariamu Welsh. Stephanie was also the Founding Dance Teacher at Catalyst Academy Charter School, where she founded the dance program, curated 5 arts showcases independently, developed a dance club for scholars with additional investment in dance as an art form, and provided scholars with quality dance education as part of their curriculum.

Stephanie is now a full-time dance faculty member at Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School, where she is excited to be educating both dance majors and other arts majors in the dance department. Her current coursework includes Core 3 and Core 4 Ballet/Modern, Contemporary, Ballet, Tap, and Intro to Dance, and includes technique, choreography, composition, improvisational techniques, and performance. Stephanie’s mission as an educator is to make world-class dance education more accessible and inclusive to all while maintaining the highest bar of excellence for her students.

Travis Rigby | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 7105

Travis Rigby is an educator, music director, composer, arranger, and orchestrator. They hold a Master’s Degree in Music Composition from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition from Trinity University. Rigby received a Pennsylvania PK-12 Music teaching certificate and maintains an active membership in PMEA, ASCAP, and SCI. His music is published by T.U.X. People’s Music. Mx. Rigby is active in the theater community as a music director. This is Travis’s fifth year teaching at WAA.


Rebecca Lustig | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 7209

Rebecca R. Lustig (She/Her) was born and raised in Ohio. She received her MFA in Theatre Management from Wayne State University, her MA in Theatre and Directing from Miami University, and her BA in Theatre Arts from Ashland University. Mrs. Lustig served as a Board Member at Large and Vice President for Wyoming Educators of Secondary Theatre, whose mission is to support and enhance quality theatre education in Wyoming schools. She served as the Artistic Producer for the Put-in-Bay Community Theatre, and the President of the Put-in-Bay Arts Council both in Put-in-Bay, OH. Mrs.Lustig served as the Acting Teacher for Gillette Performing Arts Workshop and worked on several community productions including: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, A Christmas Carol, HONK!, Annie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Zara Spook and Other Lures, Marisol, and Afraid of the Dark. In her free time, Mrs. Lustig served on the board for the Fur Kids Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides education and aid to promote the well-being of families with animals. Mrs.Lustig is excited to start her second year with Westinghouse Arts Academy where she serves as the Head of the Theatre Arts Program, the Director of the International Thespian Society Troupe, and volunteer eSports Team faculty advisor. Mrs. Lustig strives to create an inclusive environment for all students to learn, be curious, have fun, and explore the world of Theatre Arts.

Nick Lenz | | 412-646-1718 Ext. 7200

Head of Performing Arts Department

With nearly two decades of unwavering commitment to Musical Theatre, Mr. Lenz’s journey has been marked by excellence, innovation, and an unyielding dedication to fostering inclusive artistic spaces. His journey in Musical Theatre began in Pittsburgh, where he trained and performed with institutions like Pittsburgh Musical Theatre and Stage Right! School for the Performing Arts. His quest for artistic excellence led him to Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. Currently, he is diligently pursuing a Master of Education in Advanced Teaching from the University of the People, further solidifying his commitment to the craft of education.

Notable productions under his leadership include titles such as “Into the Woods,” “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” “Seussical: The Musical,” “All Together Now (2022 Gala),” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and most recently “Godspell.” His artistic vision has not only brought acclaim to the program but earned regional recognition. Under his leadership, Westinghouse Arts Academy’s numerous nominations and impressive 11-time award recipient of the Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theatre (please see the Musical Theatre Program overview for a complete list of awards received)

Central to Mr. Lenz’s philosophy is the creation of inclusive and nurturing artistic spaces. His classrooms stand as a refuge, embodying diversity and inclusivity by warmly embracing all individuals, especially those from the LGBTQIA+ community, BIPOC backgrounds, and individuals with disabilities. In his unwavering commitment to fostering acceptance and inclusivity, he ensures that students from all backgrounds not only feel welcomed, but genuinely valued.

Jacob Berger |  | 412-646-1718 Ext. 7029

Mx. Jacob Berger graduated summa cum laude from Carnegie Mellon University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Vocal Music Performance as well as a k-12 music education certification. Mx. B has been studying and teaching voice in the Pittsburgh Area for almost 6 years now and is extremely grateful to be able to share their knowledge with the students of Westinghouse Arts Academy. In the classroom, Mx. B seeks to foster a welcoming and loving learning environment for all students, with a focus on bringing out the inherent musicality that lives within each person’s body. Their teaching takes a full-body kinesthetic approach to musicking and places emphasis on natural gestures and authentic sounds. At Westinghouse, you will find Mx. B teaching courses in vocal music, piano, electronic music production, and more!

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