Watercolor Brush Painting

Art Education

Toolan family photo


Please allow me to introduce myself and share my “why” for everything I do!

Most people call me Kristina, lots of people call me Mrs. Toolan, but my favorite name of all is…Mom!

Here are my guys!

When I’m not teaching or working on my business, I’m focused on these guys! I love our bike rides, buffalo bite take-out dinners, full contact Parchese, and of course, watching them play sports! 

Basketball is their passion and my husband, Tim and I are down for it all!

On a personal note, I love penquins, Herr’s salt n’ vingar chips, sitting in the surf at the beach and I hate swarms of any kind!

pink watercolor

Education Experience

I am a Pennsylvania Level II, tenured art teacher with experience in both private and public art classrooms. I received my Bachelor of Arts in Art Education from Marywood University, Scranton, Pa and completed over 30 graduate credits in digital media/ graphic design at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, Pa. 

I currently teach fine art and digital media at a private high school. My curriculum consists of both prescribed and advanced elective classes. I’ve been teaching AP Art & Design and Digital Media classes for more than 15 years. I work hard to create a choice based learning environment for my students once we’ve covered basic techniques and concepts.

Prior to my current teaching position, I taught for eight years in a large public middle school in Chester County, Pa where my classroom curriculum focused on a Disciplined Based approach to Art Education. 

I hope my teaching products make your classroom life easier! 

Design Experience

After completing my Bachelor of Arts in Art Education at Marywood University, Scranton, I went on to complete my graduate studies at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia soaking up as much as I could about print and web design.

As my skill set grew, so did my opportunities. I left the classroom for a brief time and was really proud to land an internship at a local magazine. Here I was able to apply this knowledge in real world applications. When I returned to the classroom, I was eager to share this knowledge with my high school students and have been for the past 15 years. Teaching design skills is really the best exercise for practicing my craft.

In addition to teaching various aspects of digital media, I have also worked closely with my administration to build the entire brand identity of the private high school where I teach. This experience includes acting as web master, social media content creator, and print marketing designer. I’d love to share this expertise with you on your design project.

In 2020, I opened BuzzKeepers Marketing Solutions, LLC with my sister. For over two years, I was the Principal Partner & Creative Strategist as co-founder of the business. Though BKMS has since closed, I continue to work with a small client base to provide digital design services.

I hope we can work together for your design needs!

pink watercolor

My Story

Early artwork created by Kristina Toolan in eight grade

The painting to the left hung proudly in my grandparents’ living room from the time I created it in eighth grade art until we lost my grandmother in 2001 – that’s over 10 years of my grandparents’, mostly my grandfather’s, support of my passion for art. It’s not much to look at now but it speaks to how I began as the artist, designer, and teacher I am today!

As a young girl, I didn’t play much with dolls and wasn’t involved in many sports or clubs but I always spent free time drawing. Though I loved creating artwork, I always struggled to decide on “what” to draw and would drive my mother crazy asking for drawing prompts and ideas. It took me several years to figure out if I was actually “good” at making art. I knew I loved creating art, but aren’t my grandparents supposed to think I’m the best thing since sliced bread…did that really make me any “good” at it?

Having been inspired by my Crayola Design kit, I wanted to be an architect throughout my teenage years. After two years in an architectural engineering program, I started to reconsider the plan. I fought with my college advisor about the idea of being a teacher.  Never in my wildest dreams did I want to be an art teacher…until I stepped into my first field experience.

I got myself in a bit of pickle with virtually nothing left to try during my undergrad studies. Figuratively, kicking and screaming, I walked into my very first art education field experience and helped a student in Art II break down a still-life and draw it. I was HOOKED and haven’t looked back since. 

Still not convinced that I was a “good” artist, I dove head first into teaching, soaking up everything I could to help inspire my students and make learning about art history and techniques a fun and enjoyable experience. Finding a teaching position was incredibly difficult after graduation but determined to share my passion, I packed up my car and moved from Wilkes-Barre, Pa to Chester County, Pa for my first teaching position. It was a part-time position and a huge risk as I’d never really been away from home but I set off to start my first teaching position.

I was hired mid-year, and I was the last hire in a department of 25 art educators. My department chair began a department meeting once by stating “ladies and gentlemen, if you aren’t teaching digital drawing and design, your are going to be left behind!” This was in 1999 and so, petrified that I wouldn’t be asked back the following year, I took my first Adobe Photoshop class.

vintage Crayola Design kit
Iris colored pencil drawing by kristina toolan

I ended up leaving that position after meeting my husband. I really wanted to move back to be closer to my family and after eight years of teaching experience, I thought finding a teaching position wouldn’t be quite so difficult…but it was.

I leaned in on everything I’d been learning throughout my graduate studies and with the help my sister-in-law, landed a job in the art department of a local magazine. Still unsure of whether I was “good” at art, I worked as hard as I could to learn all I could to prove that I was a “good” designer.

After only about a year, I missed the classroom terribly! I decided that I would apply (temporarily) at a local catholic high school. 18 years later, I can’t imagine being anywhere else!

Though I love teaching in the classroom and I’ve come to see my value as an artist and designer, I’ve known for some time that I had a lot more to offer. After re-evaluating a lot of things through the pandemic, this drive to share my passion has helped me create this site and the services offered within it.

I sincerely hope that you find inspiration, knowledge, and resources to help you become a better teacher, or to foster a love of art in your child. And if you need some assistance and guidance for your business needs, I feel like I can help with that as well:-)