Mirna Cardenas

Mirna Cardenas is YES Prep's first elementary school teacher

I am a YES Prep alumna, Class of 2010, and I’ve always known that I wanted to come back to work for YES Prep. When I graduated from YES Prep North Central, I wasn’t sure how or when that would be, all I knew was I wanted to work for an organization that had such a huge impact on my life.

YES Prep is a place of opportunity and growth. For the past 20 years, students from our secondary schools have had access to quality education. I graduated from YES Prep North Central and went on to earn my degree from the University of Houston. For this reason, I am proud to be part of YES Prep’s launch of elementary schools, providing the same quality education to children at a much earlier age.

I knew I wanted to work with children

In my high school years at YES Prep, I had the opportunity to apply for several summer programs. I knew I wanted to work with children, so I thought the perfect career for me would be to become a pediatrician or a teacher. With this in mind, I participated in a program with Texas Children Hospital where I shadowed a doctor for three weeks. However, after experiencing the emotional aspects of the job, I decided it was not the right fit for me.

Through another summer program called TAMUCC (GATE), Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s Governor’s Academy for Teaching Excellence, I got to learn about careers in teaching. It was such a great experience! I knew the classroom would be a place I would want to be in someday, but not right after college.

It was not until I started college and talked to my counselor that I learned about the Communication and Science Disorders (COMD) program. She told me to give it a try, and after my first semester, I knew this was my career path.

Coming back to YES Prep

As life would have it, I came back to YES Prep in 2011 while studying at the University of Houston. I was YES Prep North Central’s receptionist, then became the attendance clerk, and later transitioned to be a special education assistant. Being a special education assistant helped me as a college student. I was able to see first-hand what was being taught in my COMD classes. Once I graduated, I was blessed with the opportunity to interview and get the position as a speech-language pathologist assistant in 2016.  

During my eight years at YES, I told myself that if YES Prep were to open an elementary school, I would want to be a part of it. So when I learned that YES was, in fact, opening YES Prep Elementary, I knew this was my opportunity to become a teacher. I am proud to say that I am officially YES Prep Elementary’s first teacher!

In the kindergarten classroom

Come August 2020, you will find me at YES Prep North Central Elementary as one of the school’s kindergarten teachers. I’m excited to teach kindergarten because I love working with children and want to nurture a love for learning! I believe that you must have a lot of love and patience to work with young children, which are two things that I have and want to share. Plus, our kindergartners will be the foundation of our school, and that impact will be what drives them to do and be their best throughout their YES Prep journey.


As I reflect on my life with YES, I find it amazing how I formed part of the founding class of YES Prep North Central and now I will be part of the founding staff for YES Prep North Central Elementary. As an incoming sixth grader, I too was starting at a new school, scared but hopeful, and now I get to be one of the teachers that welcome and molds YES Prep’s first-ever kindergarten class. Amazing!


Mirna Cardenas is a YES Prep North Central alumna, class of 2010. Mirna currently works as a YES Prep Speech Language Pathologist Assistant and was recently hired as YES Prep’s first elementary school teacher. Mirna graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and Science Disorders.