Missy Bernstein is a local Smithtown resident and New York State certified Childhood Educator. Missy received her BS in elementary education at SUNY Old Westbury College. She graduated the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Apparel Design with a specialization in current scene trends. She has 3 years experience working with a team of designers for the young and edgy fashion company Rampage. Missy's 3 years of experience working in the design room includes: fashion trend research, print and trim selection, design illustration, draping, pattern making and garment construction. Currently she teaches part time at Edna Louise Elementary School in Port Jefferson.

Christine Doherty

Christine Doherty, a native of Stony Brook, currently attends Boston University's College of Fine Arts.  She will graduate with a BFA in Painting and a minor in art history as well as earning her Masters in Art Education. In the fall of 2011, Christine will be studying abroad in Venice, Italy, where she will further her artistic career.  Aside from teaching art classes at Smithtown Arts Council, Christine works at a pre-school in Boston, and volunteers in Boston Public Schools to bring after school art programs to students who have had art cut from their school budget.  Christine is so excited to work at STAC and continue to share her passion and enthusiasm for art with the students in her classes.  She enjoys exploring different mediums and surfaces for her artwork, especially recyclable materials, an interest that will come across in her teaching.  She has had a profound love for art-making ever since she was a little girl, and hopes that her students will share that same passion and joy that art has brought to her life.
Krista Biedenbach, originally from Smithtown, is a practicing artist and educator. Since 2012, Krista has been teaching art for students in grades K-8 at a Charter school in Brooklyn. Krista actively creates her own artwork and has shown her prints, mixed media and digital work throughout Long Island. She received her MA in Art and Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and BA degrees in Art History and Studio Art from Stony Brook University. Prior to receiving her graduate degree, Krista enjoyed teaching a variety of classes at the Mills Pond House. She is very excited to be back at STAC, ready to guide students in creating fantastic pieces and inspiring children to become lifelong learners of art.  
Lisa Fernandez has been teaching art for 25 years to children of all ages and abilities and currently teaches Drawing and Painting, Pre-A.P. Art, A.P. Art and is the Art & Design Club Advisor at Westbury High School. She is also the District-wide Chair for Art at Westbury and serves on the Executive Board for the Art Supervisors Association (ASA).  Her college degrees include Art Education, Elementary Education and School District Administration. She also attended Parson’s School of Design for two years as an illustration major. In addition to teaching she is also a painter and has been working on a series of still life paintings. Lisa was recently honored with the first place award of excellence in the Reflections exhibit at the Mills Pond House Gallery.

Lisa Fernandez


Courtney is an arts advocate, educator, and practicing artist. Showing work most recently at Theaterlab, New York, NY, The Commons, New York, NY, and Mills Pond House Gallery, she is receiving her BFA in Studio Art at New York University with a minor in Arts Politics/Activism in May of 2014. Courtney currently serves as a Program Coordinator for the United States Department of Arts and Culture, collaborator and assistant for artist group InnerCity Projects, as well as a Resident Assistant at NYU, planning programs/workshops in the arts and entrepreneurship for students, working closely with painter Meleko Mokgosi. Recent experience includes a Curatorial Internship at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, NY, art teaching for children ages 2-6 at the YMCA of Patchogue, NY, an experiential child development intensive held at Centereach High School, and a position as Team Leader and member of the Children’s Activities Planning Committee of the American Cancer Society.

Courtney Meranda Surmanek


Irene Paquette Tetrault


Irene is a former Smithtown resident and a 1987 graduate of Smithtown High School East. She went to The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City where she majored in Fashion Design and Fashion Illlustration. Graduating in 1991 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts, Irene worked at Pluzynski Associates Advertising Agency in the city as a Layout Artist after graduation, then moved to Los Angeles and worked as a Production Assistant for Lakeshore Learning Materials toy catalog. Family additions brought her home where Irene started a career as a Senior Artist for a wholesale art production company. In 1999 she decided teaching was her calling and graduated in 2001 from the C.W. Post Art Eduction program with a Masters of Arts and Sciences. An artist for business as well as pleasure, Irene has shown and sold work on the East and West coasts alike, as well as donating several of her water colors for auction to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness (including her bio photo). She's been giving private art lessons to children and adults since 1999. Irene is thrilled to be back teaching at the Smithtown Township Arts Council, returning to teach more Fashion and Watercolor after a six year hiatus to concentrate on raising her children.
Chris Ann Ambery is a painter who works in a wide variety of mediums from watercolor to encaustics. She was born in 1965 and raised in Bayside, New York. She studied Illustration at Parsons School of Design in New York City and continued to study at the Passalaqua School of Drawing and Illustration. Currently she is pursuing an MFA at LIU Post. Although she considers herself a painter she has recently begun working with printmaking focusing on the various etching techniques. Chris Ann’s work is often inspired by life around her whether it is the chaos of spinning twirling rides and the families enjoying them at an amusement park, or a calm spring day at the local beach. The philosophy that Chris Ann embraces is that the joy that one gets from creating art cannot be kept to oneself it is meant to be shared. It is this philosophy that led her to begin teaching drawing, painting, and watercolor classes.

Joseph attended SUNY Stony Brook majoring in Art History and Studio Art with a concentration in Photography/Printmaking and minoring in Digital Art.  He received his MAT from the School of Visual Arts, and has been teaching art to grades K-12 in the Baldwin School District since 2010.


Michael Parisi

Michael Parisi of Port Jefferson specializes in commission work for people and pets. A member of the Portrait Society of America, he has had extensive education in art, and graduated from the Manhattan Institute of Drafting and Design, and the American Art School. He has had various exhibits across Long Island and is regularly invited to do demo shows at private parties, hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants and art groups. He teaches adult and children’s portrait classes in charcoal, oil or pastels. Michael has loved art all his life; in fact, he calls art his passion. In his career, he has completed over 5,000 portraits and has a special love for Long Island landscape.
A professional illustrator and fine artist, Amal Karzai has provided numerous illustrations to children's book publishers and editorial publications. Her clients include Tuntun, Barons, My Magic World, The EPublic Co., and she does extensive work for self-publishers. She has taught illustration and basic drawing at the Tamer Institute and given workshops at the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She is currently completing her Master of Fine Art in Illustration through the Academy of Art University where she has studied under Stephen Player and Cathy Locke. She has participated in several group exhibits and her work resides in several private and one museum collection. Artwork can be viewed at www.amalillustration.com

Amal Karzai