Meet the Carousel Team
Maria Davis, M.S.Carousel Management: Executive Director
Maria Davis, M.S.
Maria has worked in early childhood education and school settings for more than 38 years. She started working with children in 1972 in a Kindergarten class, and in 1974 she opened a Family Home Child Care program. In 1979, Maria opened her first center-based infant and preschool program in the Westchester area. She founded Carousel Preschool and has served as the Executive Director since that time. During this time, Maria has developed and managed multiple programs focused on providing high quality care and education to all students. Under her leadership, Carousel Schools and programs has expanded its scope of services, providing care and services not only to typically-developing children, but also to children, adolescents and adults with special needs or disabilities. Infants and toddlers with special needs or disabilities are enrolled in the Early Intervention program. These children work alongside their typically-developing peers in an inclusive and supportive environment from birth through five years old (through kindergarten). Carousel School has an elementary school and high school for children with special needs and disabilities for ages 3 through 22 years. Carousel School also has a satellite After School program and Adult Day programs.
Maria earned her B.A. from Antioch University and her M.S. in Special Education from National University, and her professional affiliations include:
- Sunrise Venice Rotary Club
- Westchester LAX Chamber of Commerce
- Neighborhood Council of Westchester Playa Del Rey
- Westchester LAX Educational Affairs Committee
- Governmental Affairs Committee Member for Developmental Disabilities Board Area
- Local Interagency Coordinating Area Board Member for South Central Los Angeles Regional Center
- Local Interagency Coordinating Area Board Member for Westside Regional Center – Treasurer
- Council on Perinatal Substance Abuse of Los Angeles
- California Association for the Education of Young Children
- Westside Cities Coordinating Council
- National Association of Women Business Owners
- Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce
Gina Prato, M.A., OTR/L,SIPTCarousel Management: Vice President of Programs
Gina Prato, M.A., OTR/L,SIPT
Gina Prato is a licensed Occupational Therapist (OT) with more than 15 years of experience working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school aged children, and adults of varying skill levels, including those who have special needs and disabilities. Gina started her career at Carousel School as a preschool teacher in the inclusion-based classrooms, and also as a speech therapy aid.At Carousel School, some of Gina’s current responsibilities include directing the Early Intervention Program and Adult Program, interviewing and training staff, conducting clinical meetings, and helping to ensure a high quality and individualized therapeutic environment. Some of Gina’s experiences in providing training to direct support staff include ongoing; staff meetings, interdisciplinary team meetings, in-services, and staff evaluations. Meeting and in-service topics conducted by Gina range from appropriate communication skills with clients and their families, to adapting service delivery to meet all of the needs of the consumers. She also conducts evaluations and assessments, and provides occupational therapy services. Gina works with the Carousel School education and clinical staff along with regional center and school district staff to transition consumers in and out of Carousel’s various programs. Gina earned her BS in Speech Pathology, with a minor in Audiology from Loma Linda University, and an MA in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC). In addition, she has also completed a comprehensive program in Sensory Integration and has obtained a certificate that allows her to administer and interpret the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT). Some of her clinical experiences include completing an internship at Rancho Physical Therapy’s Hand Clinic and the Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Joe DavisCarousel Management: Technology Systems Manager
Joe has worked in the electrical engineering industry for more than 20 years, and he has worked with Carousel School since 2006 as the Technology Systems Manager. In this role, he provides day-to-day technical support for Carousel School. This support includes computer network administration, IP telephones, and general support for the facilities’ systems such as the fire and security alarm, HVAC, and electrical systems. Joe has a B.S. in Electronic Engineering from California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo. He has a California State Electrical Engineering license, and an Assistive Technology Specialist certificate from California State University, Dominguez Hills.
Ann Solamo-Guzman, M.S., M.A.Non-Public School: Clinical Director, Behavior Supervisor
Ann Solamo-Guzman, M.S., M.A.
Ann has been with Carousel School since 1994, in which she has worked in a variety of positions including pre-school teacher and after-school program coordinator. In 2001, Ann left Carousel School and worked as a Behavior Therapist in the San Fernando Valley areas. Ann provided direct support to her clients in school settings as well as in-home therapy which utilizes ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis), PRT (Pivotal Response Training), and Adaptive Skills Training. After receiving her Master’s Degree in Human Behavior at National University, Ann was promoted as a Behavior Supervisor, in which her responsibilities consisted of conducting parent and staff trainings, attending clinical meetings, and writing Progress Reports / Functional Behavior Assessments (FBA) for her clients. Ann returned to Carousel School in 2012 where she currently works as a Behavior Supervisor and a Clinical Director. Ann’s duties include conducting behavior management trainings, attending interdisciplinary meetings, and collaborating with teachers and therapists to ensure Carousel students receive the utmost quality in meeting their individual needs.
Nelson Hernandez, B.A.Carousel Non-Public School: Director of Transportation
Nelson Hernandez, B.A.
Nelson earned his BA in Public Accounting from the National Institute of El Salvador. In Aug 2014, he started working at Carousel School. He worked in maintenance and helped out in the classrooms as an aide. By 2015, Nelson helped in the transportation department as a substitute driver. He was then assigned to drive an am/pm route. In 2022 he was promoted to Transportation Director.
Robi Nuez, B.A.Carousel Non-Public School: Office Manager
Robi Nuez, B.A.
Robi Joy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Language and Literature from the University of Southeastern Philippines. She became an Elementary English teacher and later on transitioned to teaching ESL online. She was an administrator at Sanwon BPO, an ESL tutorial center based in Davao City, Philippines, and was with the company for more than ten years.
She became part of the Carousel family in 2021 and started as a behavioral aide. She hopes to continue to help the students reach their full potential and for Carousel School to achieve our goals.
Jessica Estrada,M.S.Carousel Non-Public School: Case Manager
Jessica Estrada earned her Bachelor's in Sociology from the University of California, Riverside. Jessica earned her M.S. in ABA from National University. Before Carousel, Jessica worked in a Community-Based Vocational Training Program for adults with special needs. She started to work at Carousel on October 2016 as a Behavior Aide. From 2017 to 2020, Jessica worked as a Behavior Supervisor Assistant position at Carousel. For the SY 2020-2021, Jessica worked as a Special Education teacher. She is currently working as a Case Manager at Carousel. As a Case Manager, she assists with Teaching Art, Translating IEPs, Welligent, FBA Reports, and Administrative tasks.
Jane Uy, B.S.A.Carousel Adult Day Program and Preschool & Infant Center: Senior Director of Programs
Jane Uy, B.S.A.
Jane started at Carousel School as a Math Teacher for the Junior High and High School classes. Now, as the Site Director of Carousel Preschool & Infant Center, she ensures that the school adheres to the State Standards and provides quality childcare for the families. Jane addresses the concerns of the parents and oversees the operation of the school, especially the safety of the children. She also teaches Basic Chinese Language to the preschool children. Jane earned a B.S. in Accountancy from St. Paul University in Quezon City, Philippines. She also studied Early Childhood Education at UCLA and USEP (University of Southeastern Philippines). She had some wonderful years with the children back home before deciding to pursue her passion in the United States.
Christian MarquezCarousel Adult Day Program: Program Manager
Christian started working at Carousel School in November 2006 as a Behavioral Aide in the junior high class. In January 2008, he was promoted to co-teacher, and has since worked in multiple classrooms, including the Special Day Class (SDC), with higher- functioning students. He also has experience directing the After-School Program at Carousel. In August 2010, he became the Adult Day Program (ADP) Coordinator. In this position, Christian supervises both clients and other ADP staff members, and helps plan and organize field trips that engage our clients in the community. He facilitates daily structured activities that encourage education, health, individual growth, and independence. He also attends Individualized Program Plan (IPP) meetings, and liaises with clients’ parents or caretakers. Christian has been integral to the success of the Adult Day Program since its inception, and he looks forward to its continued development.
Marie Arendain, BEEDCarousel Preschool & Infant Center: Site Director
Marie Arendain, BEED
Marie earned Bachelor in Elementary Education major in Mathematics from Cebu Normal University, Philippines in 2004. Upon graduating, she immediately taught Math in elementary level for 3 wonderful years. She also then continued to advance her education and finished 9 semester units towards Master of Arts in Education. She also completed post-baccalaureate program in Special Education in 2007 before pursuing a teaching career in United States. She had 4 years teaching experience in preschool before joining Carousel School in 2015. She started as an Early Intervention teacher which later on became a preschool teacher at the Airport campus.
Marie takes great pride of being a teacher. With her hard work and organization skills, she was given the opportunity to take on a management position in October 2016. Now as the Director of Human Resources, she will continue to enhance and maintain the company’s human resources by planning, implementing, and evaluating employee relations and human resources policies, programs, and practices.
Mary Grace Crumpler, BSN, DDMCarousel Preschool & Infant Center: Office Assistant
Mary Grace Crumpler, BSN, DDM
Mary Grace earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Cebu Normal University, worked as a NICU nurse in Chong Hua Hospital for a few years then finished her Doctor in Dental Medicine from Southwestern University in the Philippines.
She joined Carousel NPS in 2017 as a behavioral aide. In October 2020 started working as an office assistant at the Carousel Preschool.
As the preschool's office assistant, she coordinates with the Site Director, Teachers, and other staff. She assists with general administrative tasks, daily operations, and other tasks. Some of her responsibilities include keeping and updating files/records and communicating with parents/caregivers.
Edsel Escobal, M.Th.,M.A.T. Sp.Ed.Carousel Non-Public School: Special Education Teacher
Edsel Escobal, M.Th.,M.A.T. Sp.Ed.
Mr. Edsel was a former Salesian of Don Bosco. He spent 17 years at the seminary while studying and teaching. He has a Clear Level 2 Education Specialist Moderate to Severe Disabilities Credentials. Since 1992, Mr. Edsel has been teaching to different age groups of students from elementary, middle school, high school, college and in varied subjects like English, Science, Religious Education, and Special Education at Don Bosco Missionary Seminary and University of San Carlos. On April 2008, Mr. Edsel has joined Carousel School as a Special Education Teacher. He received the Teacher Eddy Awards as Teacher of the Year (S.Y. 2013-2014) from the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce.
John Popiden, M.Ed.Carousel Non-Public School: Special Education Teacher
John Popiden, M.Ed.
Since 1998, John has been serving students with special abilities. He was awarded his bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in 2001 where he was a member of the Oxford Scholars Society. After working in the business sector for several years, John earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education in 2012 from Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts. Upon completing his Master’s, John began his teaching career working with students with emotional disabilities at Chamberlain International School. There he encountered great success assisting students in achieving meaningful academic, social, and vocational accomplishments. After returning to California, John began working for Carousel School in 2014. Currently, John teaches a transition aged classroom essential life skills, community awareness, and necessary independent living skills.
Bridget Munoz, B.A.Carousel Non-Public School: Special Education Teacher
Bridget Munoz, B.A.
I am delighted to introduce myself as your scholar's teacher for the upcoming academic year. My name is Ms. Bridget Munoz, and I am honored to be a part of the Carousel School community. My journey here began in 2018 when I joined as an aide, and in 2021, I transitioned into the role of a teacher. Many of your children may already be familiar with me as I had the pleasure of working with them during my time as an aide. For those I have yet to meet, I look forward to building a strong connection with your child, ensuring they feel at ease in my classroom, and helping them adapt to their new daily routines.
Allow me to share a bit about my background. I was born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, California. My educational path led me to El Camino College, where I earned my Associate's degree in Psychology. Subsequently, I transferred to California State University Northridge, where I obtained a Bachelor's degree in Psychology.
I am eager to embark on this academic journey with your child, fostering their growth, curiosity, and learning in the year ahead. Together, as a supportive educational community, we will create a positive and enriching environment for your scholar.
Sharon Hines, M.A., P.P.S., SpEdCarousel Non-Public School: Counselor
Sharon Hines, M.A., P.P.S., SpEd
I started my education at Brigham Young University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. I then completed a Master’s Degree in Ballet, then graduated. I also earned the degree “Teaching the Gifted and Talented” from Utah.
I attended Loyola Marymount University in 1994 for two years and graduated with a Master’s degree (or Pupil Personnel Credential) in School Counseling. A year later, I began teaching at Carousel School in December 1997. I returned to Loyola Marymount to study Special Education and finished my degree in 2005. I then completed an online course in teaching Autism and finished my 6th degree. I currently work at Carousel as a Counselor and Substitute Special Education Teacher.
I have been at Carousel now for 25 years and love it!
Adeola Ayodele, M.S. CCC-SLP
I would like to share some exciting news regarding my role at Carousel School. I am honored to be the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) who will be supervising Shana Terry, the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) for this academic year.
My name is Adeola Ayodele and I bring 10 years of experience providing speech therapy. I am truly enthusiastic about joining the Carousel team and working alongside such dedicated and passionate educators. Collaborating with the administration team and teachers to help our students achieve their potential is a challenge that I am genuinely eager to embrace.
It is my firm belief that a strong partnership between the SLP, the SLPA, and the entire school community is key to creating a supportive environment for our students. Together, we can provide essential speech and language services that address the unique needs of each student, enabling them to succeed academically and personally.
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, suggestions, or if you'd like to discuss specific goals or initiatives for the school year. I believe that by working as a team, we can make a significant positive impact on the lives of our students.
Thank you for the warm welcome, and I am truly excited about this opportunity to contribute to the success of Carousel School.
Shana Terry, B.S., SLPA
Hello Carousel family! My name is Shana Terry and I am so excited to work as your Speech Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) under the supervision of Adeola Ayodele. I received my bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders/Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Northern Colorado. After receiving my undergraduate degree, I worked as a Special Education Teacher for the Denver Public Schools before moving to Washington D.C. and also working as a Special Education teacher for the District of Columbia Public Schools.
After moving to Los Angeles, I worked as a behavioral therapist before starting my career as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant. My experience within the field of speech-language pathology consists of over 19 years of working as an SLPA working in school settings, private practices, in-home and teletherapy. I am so excited to join the Carousel family.
Minji Kim ,M.S., OTR/L
Hello, my name is MinJi and I will be the occupational therapist at Carousel School. I received my Bachelor of Science at UCLA for Cognitive Science and Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy from California State University, Dominguez Hills. My previous OT experiences consist of inpatient acute care, mental health, and home health in various facilities.
My experiences include the following : assessed patients on cognitive and physical functioning using MMT and Boston University AM-PAC as well as informal assessments for cognition, sensation, hand-eye coordination, grip strength, and visual tracking implemented occupation-based activities, therapeutic exercise, cognitive retraining for ADLs, neuromuscular facilitation, and adaptive equipment training for adults with cardiac conditions, stroke, Parkinson’s, and other acute conditions. Facilitated group occupational therapy treatment to patients with diagnoses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and autism spectrum disorder among others. Adapted and modified task and sensory environment based on each patient’s cognitive level to promote success with task completion, emotional regulation, and social participation.