Meet Our Teachers

Lena Mukhalian

Prek/Kinder/First Grade Teacher

Lena is a Sophomore at Santa Monica Collage. She hopes to pursue art and music in her future.
She has been a teachers' assistance since she graduated from Sunday School, Lena has assisted the Armenian Language classes and teaches religion for PreK students. She really enjoys teaching the students because she learns from teaching the students but also learns from them.

Joe Chelebian

Student Teacher

Joe has attended St. James Sunday school as a student since he was in pre-school and enjoys remaining active in his church. He is proud to be serving as a Sunday school Teacher and sharing his knowledge and love for religion and culture with others.  Joe is currently an active member of the St. James ACYO, attends Hye Camp each summer, and is working with the Paros Foundation on his own charity project called the “Dental ‘HYE’giene Holiday Drive,” where dental hygiene products will be collected, shipped, and distributed to orphans and underprivileged children in Armenia.  Joe has visited Armenia several times and also took a pilgrimage with his family to Jerusalem.  Joe attends Palos Verdes High School.​

Summer Garoian

Student Teacher

Summer Garoian currently attends Immaculate Heart High School. She and herfamily have been attending Saint James for the past 6 years and Summer hasenjoyed every Sunday because of their commitment. This is her first year as a teacher, and she is having such a fun time getting to know the
children! She looks forward to spending the next year with our Sunday school and watching her students' faith grow.


Student Teacher

Gregory is a sophomore in high school.  In 2018, he began as a teacher's assistant in the Sunday School after being a student in it for over six years.  St. James is a very important and special place for Gregory, as he was baptized there.  He enjoys coming to church and learning about Armenian Christian traditions and religion.

Marina Barsoumian

Assistant Superintendent

Grew up in St. James and is currently working in a law firm.  She has been teaching Sunday school for as long as she can remember.  This school is like “family” to her.  

Anita Zerounian


​Anita Zerounian is one of our newest Sunday school teachers and was happy to get involved this year.  She and her husband, Raffi, were married at St. James and they have 3 daughters, Aleena (10), Lyla (7), and Amelia (1), who all participate in St. James Sunday school and were baptized in our church. Anita works as a commercial real estate attorney. Raffi grew up attending St. James and they have been active members since they moved back to LA from the Bay Area. Anita is also a member of our church choir and enjoys singing in church on the Sundays that she is not teaching inthe classroom.

Jesse Arlen

Fifth/Sixth Grade Armenian Language Teacher

Currently a PHD student at UCLA in Armenian Studies, Jesse researches Medieval Literature, Theology, and Culture, particularly among Armenian and Syriac Christian communities. He did not grow up speaking Armenian, but learned it in college, and now has a passion for teaching Western Armenian and promoting its use in the diaspora. He lives with his wife Meghan, a talented artisan.Type your paragraph here.

Anahit Pogossian

Second/Third/Fourth Grade Armenian Language Teacher

As a senior at UCLA studying linguistics and psychology with a minor in Armenian studies, Anahit has a particular interest in language and the role language plays in culture.  She is very passionate about her culture and is very involved in the Armenian organizations on campus.  She also loves to dance! She has participated in Armenian dance since she was four years old and is now directing and choreographing the Armenian dance group at UCLA.​

Susan Samarge-Powell

Religion Teacher

A lifelong member of St. James Armenian Church, Susan has been attending Sunday school for as long as she can remember. Her mom, Patty Samarge, has always been actively involved in Sunday school, and has served as a role model to many who have followed in her footsteps. Susan is pleased to be bringing her own 2 children to St. James Sunday school and is a valued member of our teaching staff. Susan has been a public school administrator for many years and we are grateful to her for sharing her expertise in education and love of her Armenian culture.​

St. James Armenian Apostolic Church of Los Angeles


Peter Chelebian​

Kinder/First Grade Teacher

After completing Sunday school as a student, Peter remains active in St. James church.
He is proud to be serving as a Sunday school teacher and looks forward to sharing an exciting lesson with his students each week.  Peter is the current Chair of the St. James ACYO, attends Hye Camp each summer, and has participated in the Paros Foundation¹s Service Armenia group.  Along with visiting Armenia several times, he most recently took a pilgrimage with his family to Jerusalem and enjoyed seeing the sites throughout the Holy Land.  Peter attends Palos Verdes High School.

Maral Reyes

Religion Teacher

A counselor at an elementary school and professor at LMU, Maral's parents, Khatchik and Sossy Akatcherian, were dedicated members of St. James Armenian Church.  As a young child, they encouraged her to grow up attending Sunday school, as well as become a part of the ACYO at St.James.  Teaching Sunday school helps her give back to the community that helped shape her core values and faith.  It also provides the opportunity to pass on, to our wonderful Sunday school children, the beautiful traditions of the Armenian Apostolic Church.