SMART Orchestra Staff

Executive Director

Jeremy Sustaita has performed as a SMART Orchestra clarinetist since their 9th season and is currently serving his 1st season as the SMART Orchestra’s executive director. Jeremy served as our board president for over 4 years. He is also the SMART Orchestra’s principal clarinetist. He began playing clarinet in the SMCISD over 26 years ago and studied under Mr. Gordon Sabin in high school and Dr. David Pino at Southwest Texas State University. He has also taught clarinet lessons privately and for private schools for several years. Outside of SMART, Jeremy is a licensed personal lines insurer for one of the top three Insurance companies in the United States and holds 16 state licenses. Aside from performing in several community wind ensembles, he also began composing arrangements for friends, fellow musicians/educators, and his clarinet students as tailored teaching resources. He has even commissioned several works in the last 7 years. In addition to composing arrangements for chamber ensembles in many previous SMART Sessions Recitals, Jeremy also recently wrote his first complete orchestral arrangement—Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”, which was debuted by the SMART Orchestra in our season 11 Pops Concert: A Tribute to Motown. Jeremy also handles a lot of social media for SMART and manages the website.

Artistic Director

Zack Crissman is back in an even bigger role with the SMART Orchestra after a short hiatus and we are pleased to welcome him back as a guest conductor at our Season 14 Gala concert!

Associate Artistic Director

Maryssa Chartier joined SMART Orchestra for their 14th season as the orchestra’s principal flutist. She is a native of Louisiana, where she graduated from Southeastern Louisiana University with a Bachelor’s in Instrumental Music Education in 2020. She was an active member of the Spirit of the Southland marching band, where she served as woodwind section leader and later, undergraduate assistant. During her time at Southeastern Louisiana University, she performed with various ensembles including Wind Symphony, Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Opera pit orchestra, and various chamber groups. Maryssa furthered her education at Texas State University, where she graduated with a Master’s in Flute Performance and Pedagogy. At TXST, she performed as principal flute with the Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra. She also performed in varying chamber groups, including a flute choir and a woodwind quintet. Maryssa is a flute teacher in the central Texas area, teaching in New Braunfels ISD, San Marcos ISD, Hays ISD, Austin ISD, and Lake Travis ISD. She specializes in teaching beginner flutists but teaches flutists of all ability levels. She also has experience coaching chamber groups and large sectionals. Maryssa is very excited to be a part of the SMART orchestra because it gives her the opportunity to continue performing while teaching a studio of over 40 flutists. Other than music, Maryssa loves spending time with her two cats, Pico, and Beans. 

Associate Artistic Director

Ashley Hagadorn-Brien is a professional musician, conductor, and educator. She joined the SMART Orchestra in their 14th season as principal violist. She is a Florida native where she obtained her Bachelor’s of Music Education and Certificate in Viola Performance from Florida State University in 2012. She has studied with string and orchestra pedagogues such as Dr. Pamela Ryan, Mr. Thomas Moore, Mr. Don Hicks, Dr. Michael Allen, international conductor Dr. Alexander Jimenez, Dr. David Pope, and Dr. James Mick. Mrs. Hagadorn-Brien was a certified educator in Florida for 10 years, teaching both middle and high school orchestras. She was the director of Intermezzo Strings for the Tallahassee Youth Orchestras from 2013-2022. Her school orchestras and students have received superior ratings at Florida Orchestra Association’s  Music Performance Assessments throughout her career. She served on the Board of the Florida Orchestra Association for several years and frequently judged FOA events across the state. An avid performer, Mrs. Hagadorn-Brien was the principal violist for the North-West Florida Ballet and Panama City Symphony, has played in many orchestras throughout Florida, Georgia, and Alabama, and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Broward Center for Performing Arts. She is currently the director of the Youth Strings program at Solid Foundations Church in New Braunfels, runs a private lesson studio, and is the owner of Siren Strings TX, LLC.

Board of Directors


DJ Castilleja started with the SMART Orchestra in 2021 as a very talented section leader for our french horn section. He has been playing the french horn since 1992 when he began learning in Middle School. A few words from DJ: “What I love about performing in an orchestra is the multi-faceted art form that it is. First is the art of writing a piece of music that someone dedicated heart and soul to compose, sometimes taking months or years. Then each individual performer gets a piece of the big picture and has to be an artist in their own parts with their own instruments. All the individuals then come together to form one big piece of art in the performance all done in real-time by the leading of a conductor.

VP Community Relations

Kwin Lara has performed with the SMART Orchestra for 4 seasons and has served as our VP of Community Relations for 2 years. You may see her playing the flute in the orchestra, but she really loves singing and also plays the guitar and piano. (Over 30 years now if you can believe that!) She loves being creative outside of music with my work as an esthetician and as a custom cake baker with unique cupcakes, cake pops, and birthday cakes for all ages. *Shameless plug* Kwintessential Cakes & Spa keeps her creative side flowing outside of music with Smart.  Now if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she also has 2 beautiful children who have her active with dance and soccer events. Kwin also loves to travel all over the place which includes riding alongside her motorcycle ministry; 3 Angel’s Messengers, where she has been the President of her San Antonio chapter for 4 years.  God has definitely been a stronghold in her life and she would love to share personally if anyone would like to know more. Kwin is usually behind the decorations at our performances as well!

VP Membership

Cathy Stoughton is currently in her third season with the SMART orchestra. She is a native of San Marcos, TX, and a 1993 graduate of SMHS, where she served as the principal trumpet player and as the trumpet section leader from 1990-1993. She was also placed as a member of the All-Region band where she had the opportunity to represent SMHS. After graduation and upon receipt of softball and music scholarships to Texas Lutheran University she continued her education and is about to begin her 23rd year of teaching, 19 of which have been at SMHS, where she is the head softball coach and teaches geometry. She recently began her pursuit of a master’s degree in mathematics. Cathy is excited to have this opportunity to pursue her passion for music with such an amazing organization and the wonderful people of which it is comprised. She is married to Craig, and they have two children, Cailyn & Cayden.


Mikki Hanson (Bio Coming Soon.)


Chris Higbie joined the SMART Orchestra in the fall of 2021 and is serving his first term on the board. He began playing trombone in 1995 and as a high school sophomore, he found his calling on the bass trombone. The following fall he earned a position as the principal trombonist and would also serve as the section leader-a position he maintained for 2 more years. He also placed in the All-Region band in HS. His most memorable moment during this time was being invited to travel across Europe as a Texas Lone Star Ambassador of Music. After graduating H.S. he studied music performance at SWTSU, where he had the opportunity to play in many of the school’s performing groups as a freshman, including the orchestra, which was his first love. He also enjoyed performing with the school’s top-tier jazz ensemble, directed by Freddie Mendoza, but not before performing with the Jazz Orchestra where he was featured as a soloist. During his time at SWT, he taught private lessons and toured with the jazz ensemble for recruitment and competitions. He spent a period of time away from music to pursue other interests; however, after losing his mother to cancer in 2013, he rediscovered the healing power of music and returned to playing. Currently, he plays in multiple ensembles in the greater South Austin/Hill Country area while also managing operations for the family business. He also began playing tuba in performing ensembles in 2018. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, arranging and composing music, working on his cars, playing disc golf, learning new instruments, practicing, going on road trips, and having fun with friends.

Member at Large

Darrel Dix is a cellist with a charming and magnetic presence on stage who has a deep passion for pursuing connections through music. Darrel began studying the cello in northern Virginia where he performed in various symphonies, string quartets, mixed ensembles, cover bands & solo projects in venues ranging from nightclubs to The Kennedy Center. Post graduation, Darrel accepted an offer to travel abroad where he performed in 8 countries. Darrel is a committed husband and father who feels a constant pull to explore & collaborate with talent from all musical backgrounds and styles in the name of creating beautifully crafted & innovative music. 

Student Interns

Texas State University

Vas Sitler has been a SMART intern for 2 years. He started playing violin at 12 and has been playing for 9 years. He is currently an undergraduate student studying at Texas State University. As a Violin Performance major in the School of Music, he’s had multiple performance opportunities in multiple ensembles such as the Texas State Symphony Orchestra, the Texas State Mariachi Nueva Generación, and the Chamber Music Program. He is currently the principal second violinist in the Texas State Symphony. Vas is also our concertmaster this season.

Texas State University

Alisson Pasaol is a cellist serving her 2nd year as the cello intern of SMART Orchestra. She began playing cello at the age of 11 and has been playing for 11 years. Alisson is currently a student at Texas State University working towards earning a Bachelor of Music Education to become an orchestra director. She currently teaches in the Central Texas area, serving in a youth program called Texas State University String Project and teaching private lessons at local high schools. In addition to teaching, Alisson performs regularly with other various ensembles, such as the Texas State Symphony Orchestra and the Texas State Cello Choir. She hopes to continue building her experience as a performer and teacher in order to share her love of music and positively shape the lives of people in our society.

University of Texas-San Antonio

Leonardo “Leo” Huerta Lima began playing with SMART Orchestra in the fall of ’21 during our 13th season as a double bassist. He was in choir from 6th grade throughout middle and high school, learning music and voice. He also picked up piano and double bass and is currently enrolled at UTSA as a music composition major with piano as his primary instrument. Leo has been a part of various ensembles including middle and high school varsity choirs, ‘the 21-’22 TMEA Region 18 choir, and the HS Wind ensemble. He also has student-directed and conducted the Hays High School combined choirs, and founded/ directed the barbershop vocal group The Barbershop Hawks at Hays. He is thankful for his invitation to SMART from Charmaine Flake (SMART’s former AAD) and ongoing encouragement from all its members, Leo has loved being a part of this fantastic group of musicians and is grateful for the opportunity to work as an intern this season.

Texas State University

Jenna Stone has been performing with SMART Orchestra since the fall of 2021. She is currently a junior at Texas State University studying for a degree in music performance with a concentration in clarinet. She has performed with the Texas State Symphony Orchestra and the Texas State Wind Symphony in her college career. Along with these ensembles, she has been an active performer in the clarinet studio and clarinet choir. Previously in her academic career, she attended Magnolia High School and earned a placement in the 5A All-State Symphonic Band for three consecutive years. Jenna is excited to be an intern for this amazing organization and cannot wait for the experience it will give her.