Introducing Our Art Steps Staff...

Each of our talented teachers, carefully hand-chosen by our Director for a kind, warm personality, strong classical artistic painting skills, and enthusiasm for working children, either has a fine art degree such as a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, or is currently working toward one. Every teacher participates in 40 hours of hands-on, project-based artwork training with our Director, plus another 20+ hours in the classroom with an experienced teacher, to ensure consistent excellence in instruction.

Teachers are supported over time by in-classroom observations and out-of-class artwork reviews by our studio managers, as well as periodic refresher training to keep teaching skills sharp. At Art Steps, we pride ourselves on providing ongoing mentorship to staff, so that every single teacher can truly cultivate his or her passion for passing the time-honored tradition of classical painting skills to the next generation.

All teachers have been fingerprinted and background checked through the FBI and the Department of Justice.

Have you met your child's teacher? Before and after class, be sure to come in and chat! We love to be in touch with you!
Interested in teaching at Art Steps? Apply Here!

Hilary Key, Director

Hilary Key is the co-founder and CEO of Art Steps, having directed our studios since 1999. Hilary has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to joyfully running the show, Hilary enjoys watercolor and oil painting, as well as drawing together with her two sons. She also serves as founder and President of our nonprofit outreach program, Bright Artists.


Halie Santillan, Yorba Linda Studio Manager and acting Regional Manager, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Arts from California State University Long Beach. Halie has amazing skills in classical oil painting, and her personable, kind, caring nature is just as strong. Years of customer service and management experience, including years as our studio's Assistant Manager, have made her responsible, reliable, and ready for challenges. Once you meet her, you will find that she is perfectly suited to teaching all ages. She provides wonderful support to all of our teachers, as well as personalized, exceptional mentorship to each of her lucky students.


When you call the studio, you are likely to reach our wonderful office administrator and scheduler, Hayley Mazeika. We have searched far and wide for just the right person to fortify our office and serve our families. Hayley is as warm, friendly and helpful as she is detail-oriented. We believe you'll love working with her as much as we do!


Robin Madsen, our Laguna Hills Studio Manager, holds a Bachelor of Fine Art Degree in Drawing and Painting from Cal State Fullerton. Robin's love for art is matched only by her love for children and teaching. With a passion for watercolor, she was drawn to art at a young age through the joy she experienced with Disney movies and children's books. That youthful spirit and optimism pours out of her in the classroom, creating an effervescent and cheerful environment for children to learn and grow as budding artists themselves. An experienced Head Teacher at our Yorba Linda studio before becoming Studio Manager in Costa Mesa, Robin knows how to run a productive classroom where children have fun!


Friendly, communicative and genuine, Rishica Venkatesh has a strong drive to really get through to kids and enrich their lives through art. After changing her major from science to art, Rishica completed her final year at Cal State University Long Beach. Her passion for art is clear, but her strongest passion may just be helping children. Rishica has already taught children of all ages through Free Arts, a Los Angeles nonprofit benefiting kids who have experienced abuse, neglect, poverty and/or homelessness. We're excited to foster her dedication to children and love of classical oil painting, as Online Program Manager.


If you are a charter school family, you will likely speak with our wonderful back-office math whiz, Emily Tarascio. An outstanding artist with degrees in both Studio Art and Radio-TV-Film, Emily finds that she also loves details and numbers, so she is right at home running all of our charter accounts and vital back-office processes in our art-rich environment.


Lance O’Neill graduated Cal State University Long Beach with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting. Lance studied Observational Figure Drawing & Painting in college, but is also interested in art that involves a narrative, such as comics and animation. Combining experience in customer service, tutoring and caregiving, Lance excels in being attentive to individual student needs, and in helping to find their own unique interests and strengths. Lance is Studio Head Teacher at our Costa Mesa studio.


Tucker Boyes is a jack of all trades — actor, singer, pianist and all-around ham, not to mention a talented visual artist in both traditional and digital media! With an associate’s degree from Fullerton College, Tucker is transferring to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a bachelor’s in fine arts with an emphasis on illustration. With his fun, upbeat disposition and a customer service background at Disneyland Resort, Tucker seems to bring magic everywhere he goes! He looks forward to helping each of his students reach their full artistic potential.


Sarah Massie received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a focus in illustration from Cal State Long Beach, and has been a professional artist for over 10 years. While working as a visual merchandiser at the Disneyland Resort, she freelanced in both graphic design and illustration for various companies. Currently, she conducts an art stream throughout the week, talking with her audience about life, and giving art tips when she can to share her love and knowledge of art. Her commitment to staying artistically active has made her a first-class visual artist. On top of it all, Ms. Sarah's warmth, kindness, thoroughness, sense of responsibility and fun all make her the perfect fine art teacher for our Laguna Hills studio!


Monica Ek Castruitia has taught kids, teens and adults using our award-winning curriculum for over 12 years, 9 of which were spent managing a studio in Los Angeles County. We are fortunate that she has chosen to branch out into our Orange County locations, where her skill and depth of experience are well appreciated, and will benefit our students and staff alike. Monica deeply understands the value of a nurturing environment and parent/student/teacher relationships in fostering the growth of fine artists. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Cal State University. Her skills, clear communication, and warm, kind disposition will surely make her a favorite among students and families.


Megan Atwell, a years-long Art Steps student who also worked at our Laguna Hills location as a teacher’s aide, is currently pursuing her Bachelor’s of Fine Art Degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Warm, communicative, bright and a huge cheerleader for young artists, Ms. Megan has chosen to return in the summers to help teach studio classes and summer workshops. We couldn’t be more thrilled to once again have this talented artist as part of our team!


Lillian Baker has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she also made the Dean’s List. She also has an Associate’s degree in Narrative Illustration from Orange Coast College, where she was Founder and President of the OCC Illustration Club. A phenomenal representational oil painter, Lillian is also extremely resourceful and creative. A regular participant in conventions such as the Anime Expo, Mini Comics Expo, SacAnime and Anime California, Lillian is an accomplished cartoonist and designer who is sure to connect with our students on a variety of levels. Say hello to Lillian at our Yorba Linda studio!


Warm, kind-hearted and dedicated, Lesdy Sainz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Cal State Long Beach. After graduating, she expressed her artistic voice through drawing caricatures for Knott's Berry Farm, Disneyland, and private parties. Working in these family settings encouraged her to inspire arts appreciation for all ages, and to be involved in the art community. Miss Lesdy loves sharing her knowledge of classical, realistic drawing and painting with students. She can light up any room, and has an upbeat sense of humor and fun demeanor with children and teens alike, making her classes irresistible.


A longtime Art Steps teacher, Kimberly Bordere is talented as both an artist and television actor. During the past few years, she has successfully run Bright Artists, our nonprofit outreach program. Ms. Kimberly has her bachelor’s degree in illustration, and is known for being especially kind, caring and thoughtful with her students. After a break due to the pandemic, Ms. Kimberly is back, teaching summer workshops and re-joining our Art Steps Yorba Linda year-round team.


Jessica McNeil has her bachelor's degree from Cal State Fullerton, where she has cultivated her love of figurative painting and portraiture. Jessica finds joy in representational painting and drawing for its own sake, and wishes more children could be introduced to the arts. Bright, upbeat, cheerful and sharp, Miss Jessica is a wonderful part of our amazing Art Steps Yorba Linda team!


With her Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from California State University, Long Beach, Jenny Park is a strong visual artist, skilled in a variety of media. Ms. Jenny always seems to be smiling, with a welcoming, fun-loving disposition. Her enthusiasm for teaching art is infectious, and with her positivity and encouraging nature, she is sure to become a student favorite. Plus she is bilingual, speaking both English and Korean! Ms. Jenny will be teaching from time to time in our Costa Mesa studio, as well as via Zoom in our ongoing online program!


Joshua Padilla has his Bachelor of Arts, Summa Cum Laude, in Studio Art from the University of La Verne, and with that, a passion for teaching and lifelong learning. Josh has extensive customer service experience with kids and adults alike from his time at Disneyland Resort, as well as art exhibition and volunteer experience. We are also honored to have him serve as assistant teacher in our after school outreach program, Bright Artists, where he works with kids who normally would never have access to a studio like ours. With a kind, gentle, attentive presence and wonderful, relaxed sense of humor, Josh has already proven to be a wonderful mentor for students in our Yorba Linda studio and beyond.


Long-time staff member Gemma Magdaluyo helps all locations as our Training and Support Specialist. Gemma graduated from the Laguna College of Art and Design with a Bachelor's of Fine Art degree in Illustration, with emphasis on drawing and painting. Her years of experience allow her to provide support for teacher artwork training, as our Director's only proxy in this vital role. She also provides phone help directly to parents who call our office, as well as substitute teaching and lending a hand wherever needed at Art Steps. Her passionate commitment to seeing young artists blossom makes us all very lucky to benefit from her ongoing wisdom and support.


Elizabeth Eadens possesses a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and a Masters of Fine Art from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Her background as a yoga instructor helps her bring a balanced sense of calm, peace and vibrant energy to her classes, and her particular love of figure painting is evident in her passion for passing the principles of classical realism along to her students. All the while, Miss Elizabeth makes it clear that she cares about every student, as they journey from new to experienced fine artist in their own right. In addition to teaching our award-winning classical drawing and painting program, Elizabeth also serves as the Laguna Hills studio's Portfolio Prep Mentor. Elizabeth is certified by the College Board to teach Advanced Placement 2-D, 3-D and Design portfolio program.


Highly creative and passionate about digital art and painting, Cheyla Reyes is our newest Laguna Hills teacher. Ms. Cheyla is currently attending the Laguna College of Art and Design, where she is studying graphic design and illustration. She is wonderfully communicative and sharp, with artistic talent that is off the charts. She is already a successful fine artist in her own right, and we know she is sure to become someone’s favorite art teacher. Welcome, Ms. Cheyla!


Chantal Hales attended California State University, Fullerton, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in drawing and painting. Chantal specializes in figurative art and has had a lifelong love for school. She has an eclectic working background in customer service, behavioral therapy, instruction, and curating and organizing visual and performing arts shows. That combined with her bubbly and warm demeanor makes Chantal a perfect Art Steps teacher! Look for her at our Yorba Linda studio!


Brendan Kendrick attends California State University, Fullerton, majoring in illustration, and has loved the environment at our studio so much, that he has worked as a teacher's aide for over a year, while hoping to be considered for a teaching position. As it turns out, Brendan, an Eagle Scout with a positive attitude, exceptional patience, and a caring heart, has incredible drawing and painting skills. He admires other artists greatly, and relishes soaking up as much information as he can to keep growing. Brendan delights in working with kids, and sharing his wonderful perspective on the technical aspect of fine art.


Freelance comic book illustrator Arely Martinez completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in Illustration from Cal State Fullerton, as well as Associate of Arts degrees in both Art and Liberal Arts from Santiago Canyon College. Arely previously worked at Blick Art Materials, and interned at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, following a successful run doing portrait caricatures for both Knotts Berry Farm and Disneyland. Arely’s sweet disposition, personally attentive nature, and fastidious pursuit of excellence make her a wonderful addition to our Yorba Linda studio!