Art Educators

Madera County Arts Council Arts in Education program is one of the county’s longest running programs and has served people of all ages over the last 30 years. MCAC Artists-in-Schools links professional artists not only with K-12 schools, but also parks and recreation centers and other adult community centers.

Artist services may include visual, music, performance, hands – on workshops, readings and multi-disciplinary experiences. The MCAC Artists-in-Schools experience is intended to complement, rather than replace, existing arts education programs by:


  • Enabling teachers to integrate the arts with other academic subjects while directly addressing state and district content standards.
  • Enabling teachers to use local arts resources and give participants first hand contact with practicing arts professionals.
  • Allowing sites to provide participants with a broad range of arts experiences.

Artist Instructors are each responsible for teaching multiple one-hour long classes to school children. All instructors conform to the academic content standards for Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) adopted by the California State Board of Education. Each of the artists.  All artists on the Artists-in-Schools roster have undergone a vetting process, inclusive of Madera County fingerprint background check and  Tuberculosis testing to join the program.  The Executive Director and Program Coordinator review written applications, recommendation letters, portfolios and/or audition tapes, and recommend artists to join the Artists-in-Schools program.

MCAC at times may provide professional development opportunities for artists on the Artists-in-Schools roster, such as workshops on lesson planning, program planning, and MCAC academic content standards.


Artist/Arts in Education Program Administrator:

Sherril Royse graduated from Fresno State with a bachelor’s degree in Art. She has worked with Madera County Arts Council for 17 years with increasing levels of responsibility. She is presently overseeing a number of our Arts in Education programs namely Artist-in-Schools, Poetry Out Loud, et al. Her responsibilities include recruiting/training artists in VAPA standards for the education programs, scheduling artists, communicating with schools, managing grant funds and preparation of reports to granting agencies.



MCAC Art Educators 2016-2017 

Artist Instructors are each responsible for teaching multiple one-hour long classes to school-aged children.  All instructors conform to the academic content standards for Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) adopted by the California State Board of Education and have had additional Common Core training.  Most of the artists are well-known to our organization through their association/s with PACES, Artists in the Schools, the Club YES, Mountain Schools Visiting Artists (MSVA) programs, and Madera Unified School District after school enrichment programs.


Renee Benoit received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Iowa majoring in Intaglio printmaking and drawing. She studied with Mauricio Lasanky and Virginia Myers and was a recipient of the Graham Miller Scholarship. After graduation she worked in graphic design, eventually rising to the position of Art Director at a Bay Area magazine. She has taught after-school and summer programs in Iowa and California and has had her creative writing published in national magazines. She has work accepted in a number of shows and exhibitions including Chico Art Center National Art Medium Show, Orland Art Center, and Red Bluff Western Art Show. She will be teaching painting, drawing, and puppetry in the MUSD after-school program.


Anthony Blake began playing guitar as a sophomore in High school.  Mr. Blake has perfected his skills through self-teaching and lessons.  Through his love of music he was able to participate in Liberty High School’s talent show collaborating as a sound board engineer.  After graduating from Madera Community Center in 2011, Mr. Blake has become one of Madera County Art Council’s music educators.  He is currently teaching guitar to school aged children in class-time and after-school programs.


Elaine Blake learned drawing, composition, design, color and gallery viewing at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California.  Elaine has studied under renowned painters Joan Heacock and Cristann Roy.  She also works in watercolor, silk & acrylic painting and landscape.  Ms. Blake has made a business of her art, dubbed Elaine’s Designs, specializing in children’s educational puzzles.  Also, some of Ms. Blake’s pieces have been showcased at local businesses.  Elaine has been providing artistic instruction for children in Madera County schools for the past 5 years.


Shelby Boyd is currently enrolled at Fresno State completing her studies in Computer Graphics.  She is a graphic artist for the Madera Tribune. She was a California Arts Scholar (CSSSA), illustrator for “Run, Girl, Run”.   She has been teaching in the MUSD asp program for the past two years and in the 3rd grade art program for all county schools in Madera this past year.


Mayra Cano is a junior majoring in English and Chicano and Latin American Studies at Fresno State.  In addition to working for the Madera Arts council she also works at the assistant director for the Ballet Folkloric de Madera and dances for Fresno State’s folkloric group Los Danzantes de Aztlan.  With Los Danzantes de Aztlan Mayra has performed in the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival and has also had the privilege of dancing in El Festival de Los Danzantes’s gala showcase.


Elizabeth Castro is currently enrolled at Fresno State completing her studies in Art and Social Work.  Since her time as an art instructor for PACES, Ms. Castro has continued her studies and practice of art and has been instructing with MUSD after school program since 2013.


Chonna de Franco graduated from University of the Nations and obtained a diploma from the U.S. Army in Software Analysis. She has training in First Aid, CPR, and AED for children and adults.  Over many years she has honed her photographic skills, developed an outstanding photography portfolio, and is providing photography instruction in the MUSD asp program and the 3rd Grade art program.


Rick Dorris developed a love of performance art while he was a student at Madera High School, participating in various theatrical productions under the supervision of Ginger Latimer and the Coyote Theater Company.  Since his graduation, Rick has expanded his love of drama to writing, casting and directing.  He has also participated in local theater, including the Madera County Library’s production of “A Novel Way to Die.” Mr. Dorris has been teaching Drama for the last 3 years in the MUSD after school program.


Jose Jesus Elias graduated from Fresno State with a Bachelors and Master’s in Studio Art (‘04, ’12). He has been an art teacher at West Hills Community College, has had one-man shows at Arte Americas, Selma Art Foundation, and Madera Arts County Circle Gallery. He won 2nd Place in 2015 Celebrate Agriculture with the Arts for The Farmworkers Mixed Media. He taught charcoal in the MUSD 3rd grade project and was well received by students, parents, and classroom teacher.


Michael Flores is currently studying Performing Arts at Fresno City College.  With 3 years experience in theater, musicals and color guard, Michael received a theater scholarship to further his education in the arts.  Mr. Flores will graduate in 2017, with a degree in Fine Arts.  Mr. Flores performed in a production of Roger Rocca’s Scrooge.


Ronda Kelley received a Bachelor’s in Art from CSU Long Beach and a Masters in Craft and Design at CSU Fresno. She teaches at Fresno City College in the department of Social Sciences. Ronda’s arrangements consist of paintings, sculpture, installations and assemblage, with much of her work reflecting the use of natural and/or repurposed materials. She has shown in various galleries throughout Northern and Southern California. In 2015-16 she taught African American Tribal Beading in the MUSD 3rd grade project


Larry Latimer graduated from Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Fine Arts.  He later earned a Masters in graphic design from Michigan State University.  He taught for nine years in Michigan before moving to California.  Mr. Latimer spent 28 years teaching elementary school in Madera before retiring.  Currently he is working in the drama department as a set builder for Madera South High School. He teaches ceramics and fine arts in the classroom and after-school programs for MCAC.


Maria Madrigal obtained a Bachelor’s degree in accounting.  She is bilingual (Spanish and English) and has tutored all subjects to K-12 students in afterschool programs (2006-2009). She started teaching fine arts and printmaking in the 2015-16 school year in the after-school program and was effective with students and staff.


Cathy Magnuson Bachelor of Arts, Life Single Subject Art Credential and completed her Master’s Degree in Art. She has taught art high school-age children for 30 years and was a full time tenured High School Art teacher. She has also taught Adult Ed. classes, summer school, Independent study, Home school and Private School. She is skilled in drawing, painting, sculpting and working in all types of media. She currently teaches in the MUSD afterschool art program.


Jose Moreno graduated from Madera South High School. He was involved for 4 years with the Madera South Coyote Theatre Company.  He now attends the CSU Fresno as Theatre Arts major.  His teaches acting and dancing for the MUSD after school program.


Melissa Novak has completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, a M.S. in Environmental Management from National University, San Diego, CA and a M.E. Special Education from Grand Canyon University, Phoenix, AZ. In addition she has completed certificate-bearing courses in Grant Writing, Non-Profit Management and First Aid/CPR. She has been a substitute teacher for Golden Valley Unified School District since 2015. Ms. Novak is teaching art and drama in our MUSD after-school program.