Who We Are

Come get to know us!

Haj Herbert – Founder

Haj Herbert FounderThe birth of Magical Minds Studio began after Haj became a mother herself. With an art education and early childhood background from Northern Illinois University Haj knew the importance of art in a young child’s life. She searched within the community for a place where her son could freely explore all the possibilities art had to offer. Unfortunately, she couldn’t find a place. So when a friend told her about a storefront for rent she explored the possibilities of opening up a Studio. With the support and hard work of her husband Tom, together they built Magical Minds Studio. Haj graduated from Northern Illinois University with a Bachelors in Art Education and minor is sculpture. She pursued her education at the Erickson Institute where she continues to take classes and attend workshops. Haj is also an active member of the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance and often communicates with fellow members around the globe to enhance the experience at Magical Minds Studio.

Katherine Bill (KT) – Assistant Manager

Katherine Bill Assistant ManagerKT has been with Magical Minds Studio since 2012 and attended Oak Park River Forest High School. She is well known around town and the studio for being “awesome” with children. KT has a gift of finding the good in every student and it shows, many parents ask her to babysit. KT plans to return to college and study business management. Right now she is focusing on family and keeping Magical Minds Studio in order.

Emily Jablonski – Art Teacher/After School/Ceramics

Emily Jablonski Art TeacherEmily grew up in Michigan, just north of Detroit. Art has been a passion since as far as she can remember. She graduated from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education. Since graduation, Emily has move to Oak Park and has been enjoying the area and community. Emily has taught art in multiple schools throughout Michigan and enjoys bringing out the artist in each child.

Andriana Jones (Anna) – Assistant Art Teacher

Andriana Jones Art TeacherAnna is local to the area, residing in Maywood, she is currently obtaining her degree in early childhood at Triton College. During the day, when she isn’t at school Anna is a loving nanny and an avid fitness enthusiast. Known around the Studio as the “fixer,” there is no project too big for her or her craftiness!

Polly Yates – Art Teacher/After School/Ceramics

Polly Yates Art TeacherPolly is a British artist living and working in Chicago. She completed her MA at Central Saint Martins (London, UK). Her work has been shown in the US and internationally. Polly has taught in schools in India, England and Japan and she has worked with clay for over 10 years across three continents. When she isn’t at Magical Minds Studio, Polly is in her own Studio working on art and pottery.

Betty Vandervest – Art Teacher/Preschool

Emily Vandervest Art TeacherBetty is originally from Madison Wisconsin and migrated to Chicago to attend UIC. She graduated with a Bachelors in Elementary Education with an emphasis on Visual Art and has lived in Oak Park ever since. Her experience as a teacher started at Catalyst Charter school and later at Forest Park Montessori. Betty enjoys working with young children and exploring the many ways art can be used to educate children on various subjects.

Magical Minds Site

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