Pre-Kindergarten Kindergarten 1st Grade 2nd Grade 3rd Grade 4th Grade 5th Grade 6th Grade Arts Education
  • Brett Alberson :: Visual Arts
  • Toby Smith :: Dance
  • John Pratt :: Theater
  • Bainbridge Scott :: Choral Music
Special Education Resource
  • Jose Luis Ramirez :: Room 13A 
Instructional Coach



Assistant Principal

Coordinators School Administrative Assistant
  • Estelle Cungious
School Clerk
  • Rosa Bermudez
Plant Manager
  • Otis Williams

Buildings & Grounds

  • Richard Crespin


  • Felicia Kidd, Manger
  • Natalie Porter, Helper
Special Ed Assistants
  • Phebe Allen
  • Anita Luckie
  • Nichol Harang
  • Audra Sparks
  • Circe Von Haus
  • Kimberleigh Browder

Teacher Assistants

  • Blanca Ayala
  • Susan Wynn
Library Aide
  • Ana Cruz
Support Staff
  • C. Bitterman :: Nurse
  • A. Hedayatzadeh :: Counselor
  • W. Wong :: Psychologist
  • J. Pierce :: Adaptive P.E.
  • G. Hirahara :: Physical Therapy
  • P. Sinclair :: Speech & Language
  • F. Dudley :: Occupational Therapist

Aniko Alexovics :: Title I and English Learner Program

Aniko Alexovics is currently the Title I Coordinator at Carthay Center Elementary School. Before becoming Coordinator she was the intervention teacher serving students in the general education classroom. Aniko received her bachelor's degree from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts and a masters in special education from CSUN. In 2002, Aniko certified as a National Board Teacher. Most of her teaching has been with students with exceptional needs and she has worked with them in both special day classes and inclusive settings. Before coming to Carthay Aniko taught English to pre-school children in Prague, Czech Republic and before that spent a number of years teaching in Culver City. Aniko says “Children are the reason I love to teach – they are so inquisitive, so awe struck and so excited. I am privileged to be a part of their world.”


Carlos Alvarez  ::  3rd Grade


Gina Balaban :: 4th Grade

Gina Balaban has taught 4th grade at Carthay Center Elementary School for 20 years. Her specialty is Shakespeare. Alumni of Ms. Balaban's class fondly remember the annual play she staged called "Shake Hands With Shakespeare." Many of her students have gone on to become actors and musicians. Ms. Balaban says learning should be fun and the classroom lively. When possible she likes to broaden the daily curriculum by including cooking, art, acting, music and field trips. She also teaches International Folk Dance.

Ms. Balaban has a BA in English Literature from UCLA and a multiple grade level credential. She trained with education guru professor Madeline Hunter who emphasized the power of positive reinforcement.

Ms. Balaban has been married 22 years. She has two children. Ms. Balaban enjoys traveling, gardening, and reading.


Vicki Brown :: Special Education

Vicki Brown has taught at Carthay Center Elementary School longer than any other teacher. She began her career at Carthay in Sept., 1978 instructing the 6th grade. In September of 1980 her services were needed in a special education class at Carthay. Ms. Brown embarked upon the next chapter of her teaching career and has stuck with it all these years. Ms. Brown feels that Carthay is her second home and loves the school, the students and teaching. She tries to impart knowledge to her youngsters using multiple modalities and feels that she is her students' teacher and mother while they are at school.


Traci Calhoun :: Principal


Christine Cathern :: Kindergarten

For Christine Cathern, teaching Kindergarten is "like a calling."

Mrs. Cathern taught Kindergarten for 5 years in Pasadena and has instructed grades Kindergarten through 4th at Carthay Center. She says she "fell in love" with teaching Kindergartners. Mrs. Cathern hopes her classroom is friendly and inviting. Inside there are big stuffed animals, houseplants and a small trickling fountain. Mrs. Cathern believes it is her "responsibility to encourage students in a creative and fun way to become motivated learners."

Room 4 is bursting with books since Mrs. Cathern loves having a diverse library available to her students. She stocks a wide range of books so that every child can find a comfortable level and then strive for the next one.

Mrs. Cathern was born and reared in Los Angeles. She is a mother of 8, grandmother of 8 and wife of more than 36 years. Mrs. Cathern holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Development from California State University, Los Angeles, and a Master of Arts Degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College.

About teaching at Carthay Center, Mrs. Cathern says "It�s a passion of mine. I really love my job."


Lori Cronyn :: 5th & 6th Grade

Lori Cronyn was raised on a college campus in Portland Oregon and spent much of the first twenty years of life outdoors, camping, skiing, and hiking. She fell in love with travel adventures and learning about people in other countries early on--having spent fifth grade in Cambridge, England--and decided to make involvement in cultures other than the ones in which she was raised the central focus of her work, both as a student and as an educator.

She has taught in Los Angeles for over twenty years, teaching nearly all grades and is presently working on a doctorate in Sociology from UCLA. As part of her academic life, she works with university students and middle school students at Berendo Middle School in Central Los Angeles. She is very pleased to have been at Carthay Center now for nearly two years and is looking forward to enjoying many more. Says Cronyn, “The kids are pure joy and the parents the most knowledgeable and supportive group I've ever encountered. Every day in the classroom is a new and wonderful experience as I see the children making astute observations, resolving perplexing problems, and creating precious artwork. I am most grateful for continuing a teaching career that so regularly brings this into my life.” Ms. Cronyn earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Anthropology from Reed College, and a Masters Degree in Sociology from UCLA.

Contact Ms. Cronyn at [email protected].


Kathryn Eisenstein :: 2nd & 3rd Grade

Before Kathryn Eisenstein came to Carthay, she worked in the entertainment business, having helped cast such feature films as "As Good as it Gets", "You�ve Got Mail", and �How Stella got her Groove Back.� She also has television credits including work for TNT and Hallmark Hall of Fame.

Ms. Eisenstein turned to teaching following the death of her mother, who taught her the value of giving back to society. Her teaching philosophy is based on cooperation - anything is possible when there is a cooperative relationship between students, families and educators. She considers herself to be honest, caring, motivated, and informative, and is an active listener to her students� needs.

Ms. Eisenstein received her BA in History from UCLA and her Master of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Loyola Marymount University. She is fluent in English and Spanish and has basic language skills in French and Italian.

She is also a huge Lakers fan.

Contact Kathryn Eisenstein at [email protected].


Pam Finn :: 1st Grade


Holly Jackson  ::  3rd Grade


Jill O'Brien :: Instructional Coach

Jill Aaron O'Brien is the Instructional Coach at Carthay Center. She has 11 years of teaching experience, including five years at Carthay, working on small group instruction with students in all grade levels and helping teachers to build capacity.

Ms. O'Brien grew up in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, part of Philadelphia's Main Line. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. During her nine years in New York City, Jill gained experience in several industries before settling on education. Through school, Jill worked closely with celebrity chef Bobby Flay at his restaurants Mesa Grill and Bolo as Head Hostess/Reservationist. Later she ventured into the hotel/management industry at Millennium Broadway Hotel as part of the front desk staff, working her way up into the sales department. Finally, Jill worked for Merrill Lynch in the World Financial Center.

Upon great self reflection, Jill decided to return to Philadelphia to pursue her long lasting call to become an educator. She received a Masters degree in Education from Temple University in Philadelphia. While earning her degree, she worked as an Undergraduate Advisor in the College of Science and Technology at Temple. After completing the masters program, Jill and her new husband moved to Los Angeles, where she began her teaching career.

Jill is dedicated to the continuing growth of Carthay, a neighborhood school for the O'Brien family. She is also the proud mother of Liv, 9 and Jack, 3.

Contact Jill O'Brien at [email protected].


Melissa Ruiz :: Pre-Kindergarten


Susan Stockhammer :: 1st Grade

Susan Stockhammer moved to South Carthay in 1978 so that her children could attend Carthay Center School. Eighteen years later she returned as a faculty member. She is an enthusiastic and dedicated community resident.

A native of Los Angeles, Ms. Stockhammer herself is a product of the Los Angeles Public School System. After graduating from North Hollywood High School, she attended the Juilliard School in New York where she received both Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees. She was awarded a Kent Graduate Fellowship from the Danforth Foundation upon enrolling for Doctoral Studies at the University of Southern California. The Kent Fellowships are granted to American doctoral students whose postgraduate goal is a career in university education. Ironically, it was at a Kent conference that she realized the dramatic significance of elementary education, and the futility of university studies without this foundation.

With the Doctorate completed, Ms. Stockhammer embarked on a career of teaching and performing classical music. In addition to many years of elementary and high school teaching, Ms. Stockhammer has taught at Pomona College and two campuses of California State University Fullerton and Dominguez Hills, where she also received her California State Teaching Credential. She has played flute with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the New York City Opera Orchestra, the American and Joffrey Ballet Orchestras, and the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera Orchestra.

Ms. Stockhammer is passionate when it comes to the subject of children and books.“ Let's get them excited about reading!” she says. “If they realize how powerful the reading skill can be, everything else will follow naturally!”


Jim Whalen :: Kindergarten & 1st Grade

Mr. Jim Whalen comes to Carthay by way of Wisconsin. He grew up in a small rural community of Randolph just north of Madison, WI. Education is in Mr. Whalen's blood. His dad was both a teacher and a guidance counselor for 45 years. Before Mr. Whalen began teaching, he flew the friendly skies with United Airlines, working 20 years in the travel industry as a sales representative.

For Mr. Whalen, teaching at Carthay is an adventure. Some of the things he likes most about the school are the amazing potential, great atmosphere, the diversity, and working with his mentor, Gina Balaban. Ms. Balaban also teaches 4th grade at Carthay.

Mr. Whalen doubled majored at the University of Wisconsin where he earned a BS in Marketing and French. He earned his California Teaching credential at CSU-Long Beach.

In his time away from school Mr. Whalen enjoys competitive springboard diving. He competed in the World Masters Games in Edmonton, Canada this summer and won two Bronze medals in 3 meter springboard and platform diving. He also enjoys skiing, snowboarding, and traveling with his family.

Contact Mr. Whalen at [email protected].