Marina Carrasco-Burge received a Bachelors of Arts in History and English Literature as well as a Bachelor of Science in Childhood and Adolescent Development from California State University in Fullerton. While in school, she served as an instructional assistant in the East Whittier City School District in intensive special needs classrooms. Upon graduation, she returned to work at her alma mater, St. Bruno School in Whittier as the inaugural transitional kindergarten teacher and developed a diverse and academically rigorous program for her students. She also served as the curriculum coordinator for the school, a task that included the design and implementation of ongoing faculty professional development, the mentoring and coaching of all teachers, and the creation of the school wide curriculum plan. Marina led the St. Bruno faculty and staff through the accreditation process. During this time, she also graduated with a Master of Art in English Literature from California State University in Fullerton where she has taught graduate level courses, and received her Administrative Credential. Marina is currently working on a Doctorate in Education with an emphasis on preschool through grade 12 administration and curriculum development. She currently serves as an instructional coach for Cohort 2 and 3 schools.
Cristina Cadena received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles. She worked as a junior high instructional aide and athletic director in a Catholic school in Chino. While working on her Master of Science in Education from Mount Saint Mary’s, Cristina worked as a teacher and principal for a Catholic school in Pomona. During her time as an administrator, she worked to create a learning environment that met the needs of all students while also improving the schools technology and resources. Prior to joining Onward Readers, Cristina worked as a teacher for a Catholic school in Monterey Park. She currently serves as a reading specialist at the School of Santa Isabel and Dolores Mission School.
Mary C. Herrera graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in German Language and Literature with a minor in Spanish. Upon graduation, she began teaching at a public magnet school in Pittsburgh while receiving her certificate in elementary education. In Los Angeles, Mary worked in public schools with mainstreamed students with special needs as well as self-contained classes for students with mild to moderate disabilities. During this time, Mary received her Master of Education in Catholic Inclusion from Loyola Marymount University. Prior to joining Onward Readers, Mary served as a resource teacher at a Catholic elementary school in Rancho Palos Verdes where she worked with all grade levels and provided support for students, teachers, parents, and administration. She recently graduated with a Doctor of Education from the University of California with a concentration in educational psychology. She currently serves as a reading specialist at St. Bernard School and Our Lady of Victory Catholic School.
Janice Mendez received a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from Whittier College. Upon graduation, Janice worked as a tutor at The Literacy Guild, where she helped foster an organic literacy environment that emphasized reading and writing for the communication of ideas. While working at Catholic schools in the Los Angeles area, Janice completed a Master of Education from Loyola Marymount University. She brings a wealth of knowledge in working with students of various ages, from elementary to college, including an adjunct faculty position at Mount San Antonio College in the Child Development Department. She currently serves as a reading specialist at Our Lady of Guadalupe School and Dolores Mission School.
Juleen Olsen received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from the University of Portland. Upon graduation, she joined the PLACE service program through Loyola Marymount University in which she taught in Catholic schools in South Central Los Angeles and Long Beach. She worked in LMU’s Literacy Lab as a specialist where she worked with struggling students and provided additional support. Most recently, Juleen worked at St. Anthony Catholic School in El Segundo as a teacher. It was at this site that she developed and implemented a resource program for students needing intensive interventions while also coordinating the STEP process for the school. She currently serves as a reading specialist at Nativity School and St. Odilia School.
Megan Rice received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California in Los Angeles. She then worked as a teacher and as an inclusion and resource specialist in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Megan received her Master of Arts in Inclusive Education from Loyola Marymount University as well as membership into the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. During this time, she worked as a teacher and vice-principal in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. She serves as a Certified Master Catechist and completed the Archdiocesan Catholic Aspiring Leaders Program. Megan has also served on numerous WASC accreditation teams throughout her career. She currently serves as a reading specialist at St. Aloysius School and St. Odilia School.
Lauren Spatola received her Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with a minor in English Literature and Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida. She worked at Walt Disney World’s Epcot and Magic Kingdom Parks as an attraction guest service manager, attractions area coordination, training coordinator, and for the Walt Disney World College Program. She then graduated with a Master of Education in Reading with English for Speakers of Other Languages from Stetson University. She worked as teacher in the Orange County Public School District in Florida where she served as the AVID coordinator and grade-level team leader. Lauren spent a year in Shanghai, China with Disney English where she worked with students from ages two to twelve. Upon returning to Florida, Lauren worked at schools in the St. Johns County School District as the AVID coordinator, school advisory committee co-chair, and professional learning community leader. She currently serves as a reading specialist at San Miguel Catholic School and Our Lady of Victory Catholic School.
Sarah Walter received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Education, Schooling, and Society from the University of Notre Dame. Immediately following, she completed her Multiple Subject Credential at Santa Clara University while teaching in a public school. Sarah then moved to Chicago where she received her Master of Education in Reading from Loyola University while teaching in both public and Catholic schools in the Chicago area. Before joining Onward Readers, Sarah taught in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and worked as a private tutor where she utilized her expertise in reading and collaborated with students’ parents, teachers, and learning specialists. She currently serves as a reading specialist at Our Lady of Talpa School.