Meet The Team

Minerva Carrion


   Mrs. Carrion's Carden journey began with her search of quality education for her own children. Experiencing her children's growth through Carden has inspired her mission to preserve Carden for generations to come. Mrs. Carrion partakes in all teacher training provided by the Carden foundation and strives to protect the integrity of the Carden method. Her pledge to Carden Academy is inspired by her four children three of which currently attend.

Jasmin Chavez

Preschool Teacher

   Mrs. Chavez has been in the educational field for 21 years.  She has attended Pasadena City College as well as Rio Hondo College.  She continues her education because there is always something new to learn.  Mrs. Chavez is currently a Preschool Teacher at Carden Academy of Whittier.  Teaching and helping children reach their personal milestones is very rewarding.


   "You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."


                                - Winnie the Pooh

Joyce Cota

Preschool Teacher

    Mrs. Cota attended Cypress College right out of High School, but later went to Criss College of Business where she earned a diploma in Junior Accounting and worked in the Business field for 11 years. Her passion for teaching began when she was active in children's ministry at her church.   In August of 1992, she had the opportunity to join the Carden staff while her children were happily attending. She went through extensive teacher training and completed the requirements of the Basic Core certificate program in Early Childhood Education at UCLA Extension. She has been teaching preschoolers for over 28 years. Mrs. Cota is a calm soul, who genuinely nurtures and cares for young children. Today she has the privilege of being a part of Carden Academy of Whittier. 

   Mrs. Cota grew up in Buena Park, California, near Knott's Berry Farm, and has been a La Habra resident for over 35 years. Her husband has worked all around the U.S., China, South Korea, and India. This has given her the opportunity to travel to some fascinating and exotic destinations. She has two children: Matthew and Julie and three grandchildren: Lila, Austen, and James. Another grandchild is due in April of next year. She has a Maine Coon cat name Jolene and 5 desert tortoises in the back yard. She is a full blooded Native American and is tribal member of San IIdefonso Pueblo. Her father is Pueblo Indian from New Mexico and her mother is part of theGreat Sioux Nation from South Dakota.

Kaiya Engelhard

5th Grade Teacher

       Ms. Engelhard was born and raised in Whittier, California. She attended Carden School from preschool through eighth grade, and eventually returned to teach. Now in her 23rd year, she has taught French, fourth grade, and fifth grade. In her free time she enjoys plays and musical theatre and is an avid nature lover. She is proud that her daughter is a student at Carden Academy.

Jeannie Gardner

Kindergarten Teacher

   Ms. Gardner first came to Carden School 32 years ago when she was searching for a well-rounded private school for her own two children. She has been teaching kindergarten since 1987.  She started the sports program at Carden School 26 years ago and became the Athletic Director. She has taught Jr. high P.E., scheduled all  jr. high sports games, and coached various after school sports teams. She has a passion for teaching and working with children, and considers it a privilege to teach the Carden curriculum at Carden Academy of Whittier. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, going to the beach, Anaheim Ducks hockey, and loving her eight grandchildren.

Lorie Largent

1st Grade Teacher

    My name is Mrs. Largent, and I am in my 18th year of teaching the Carden curriculum.  During my first two years at Carden, I taught P.E. for Kindergarten through third grade.  Then I spent 9 years in first grade, followed by 5 years in third grade. I could not be happier to have the opportunity to come back to first grade this year. I absolutley love teaching, and it is my mission to instill a love for learning so that my students develope a desire to become life-long learners.

Mallory Lopez

Music Teacher

Bio coming soon.

Jacquie Munnerlyn 

Assistant Director

   Mrs. Munnerlyn started working in the office of Carden Whittier Private School over 25 years ago.  She is currently the Assistant Director at Carden Academy of Whittier.  She was born and raised in California, graduating from Westmont College with a B.A. in Sociology.  The Munnerlyn family started at Carden Whittier Private School with her late husband attending second grade in 1968.  She is grateful that her children attended Carden and grateful to have been able to be a part of many families lives over their years at Carden School.  She feels that at Carden we teach the children the process of how to learn and to have a love of learning which are attributes that she has seen in her family and in the lives of our Carden Graduates.

Laura Murrell

Preschool Teacher

   Mrs.Murrell was born in Montebello, California, and has been a resident of La Habra for 31 years. She completed her early childhood education classes through UCLA. Her mother-in-law is one of the original employees with Carden Whittier and encouraged her to start working at the school.

   Laura's son also attended Carden Whittier while she was teaching pre-school there. Her love of teaching young children has kept her here for 37 years. She finds it truly inspiring to be teaching young children after all these years.  

Adrian Agramon


Bio coming soon.

Kathy Beaubien

Preschool Director

   Mrs. Beaubien serves as the director of the preschool at Carden Academy and also currently teaches in the pre-k classroom. This marks Kathy's 44th year of teaching at Carden. She values her on-going training by the Carden Foundation, and she greatly appreciates Carden's academic philosophy of teaching to the whole child. She believes this approach is important for a child's overall success. In her spare time, Kathy loves spending time with her family and enjoys being a grandma to her two grandsons.

Amber Bushman

Art / STEM Teacher

   Mrs. Bushman is the Art and STEM teacher at Carden Academy of Whittier.  Mrs. Bushman is in her second year of teaching the Kindergarten - 5th graders at Carden. She enjoys executing fun and engaging lessons to help teach new art techniques, celebrate holidays and seasons with creative projects, and she also helps further connect children to their Carden curriculum with exciting STEM experiments and art appreciation. Mrs. Bushman’s teaching doesn’t stop in the classroom - she also teaches cookie decorating classes and is able to utilize her artistic skills decorating cookies for her small business; Amber’s Party Cookies.  Likewise, her teaching carries into her involvement in the Scouts as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and as a Cub Scout Den leader.  Here she is able to spend family time outdoors with her husband and 8 and 10 year olds.  In addition, they have found a couple of perfect family activities in skiing and beach camping!  Mrs. Bushman expects to continue growing as a teacher learning from the best examples in the experienced staff at Carden, and also hopes to continue guiding children in their love for learning. 

Pete Ortiz

4th Grade Teacher

Mr. Ortiz grew up in Pico Rivera, CA but has lived in Whittier for the last 11 years. He attended St. Paul High School and then continued his education at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. During this time Mr. Ortiz began his work with students as a high school Cross Country and Track coach at his Alma Mater, St. Paul. He then joined the Navy Reserve and has been serving in the Navy for just over 10 years. During this time, he began coaching at Los Altos High School in Hacienda Heights and soon took his first teaching job at Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Habra. He has been teaching for the last four years but is in his first year here at Carden Academy. He has taught 5th and 7th homerooms as well as Jr. High Math. He is very excited to be part of the Carden Family this year. During his free time Mr. Ortiz enjoys playing sports and doing activities with his children. One of his favorite activities is to BBQ for the family! He has three children, two of which are now part of the Carden family as well, and a baby girl who just turned one. 

Nina Osborne

2nd Grade Teacher

   I am Mrs. Osborne, and I have had the privilege of being a Carden Certified Educator for thirty-one years. Throughout my time at Carden, my experience has taken me from teaching preschool to first grade, and now to my present class of second grade. During my tenure, I have played an active role in after-school and summer school programs. I attended UCLA Extension, where I received my Early Childhood Education certification. Originally from Orange County, I now reside in Whittier with my husband of thirty seven years. I have two adult children, who both graduated from Carden, and together we have fond memories of their time at this wonderful school. My interests include spending time with my family, which is my biggest joy, exploring new restaurants, traveling, and watching my favorite teams in the NBA and NFL.

Linda Parker

Receptionist / Campus Coordinator

   Mrs. Parker was born in Pasadena, California, and has been a resident of Hacienda Heights for 33 years. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University Chico in 1984. Since she is a Carden graduate, she is well aware of the academic standards Carden Academy of Whittier attains. Linda was the Campus Coordinator for Carden Whittier School since 1995 and always has a can-do attitude.  She is willing to do whatever is required to keep the school a safe and pristine environment for the children. 

Melanie Rubia

Computer Teacher

   Mrs. Rubia has been happily married for twenty-five years. She has three beautiful children who attended Carden since preschool. She received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Loyola Marymount but later found her passion as a teacher. She has enjoyed teaching at Carden for over 19 years. A few of her favorite hobbies include card making, reading and photography.

Ghada Samwail

French Teacher

    My name is Mrs. Samwail, and I have taught French at Carden for 6 years.  I have a master's degree in Comparative Literature, and I have also been working as an Assistant-Lecturer in the Faculty of Arts/French department. I have more than twenty years of experience in teaching French in different institutions of Education. 

I have the ability to evaluate progress, determine individual needs of students, and prepare programs for students requiring extra help. 

Debbie Serna 

3rd GradeTeacher

  Mrs. Serna was born and raised in Whittier, California.  She graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in Child Development and a Minor in Sociology.  She has a Multiple Subject Credential with a supplement for teaching social sciences in high school.  She has taught the Carden method for 24 years, but prior to her employment, her children started attending Carden in the Preschool program. She is currently teaching third grade, but in the past, she has taught second, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade.  She has fond memories of the many field trips she has taken over the years while teaching at Carden which has inspired her love of travel and fine arts.  She is grateful that her children graduated from Carden and found success in high school, college, and their current professions.

Malini Srivastava

Substitute Teacher 

 My name is Malini Srivastava, I have been teaching at Carden for over twenty years! I am a passionate teacher, learner, and mentor. Currently, I am enjoying my work as a substitute teacher for all grades. As I evolve with Carden, I hope to prepare students at achieve their full potential to be bright contributors in our communities. As a teacher, I will always be a model for learning in diverse ways, so that I may engage all students. I wish to always be a teacher who will motivate, inspire, support, and encourage students.

Timothy Yanez

PE Teacher 

  I am Mr. Yanez, a resident of Whittier, California. I've always had a passion for physical education. I played basketball for La Habra High which inspired me to become a coach for La Habra Lady Highlanders basketball team.  This is my first year as a P.E. teacher for Carden Academy. I am looking forward to work with each student. My goal is to motivate and maximize each student's self-esteem through physical movement. During my free time, I like to spend time with family, watch sports, and working out.