Dan Carden was born to Patsy and A.E. Carden in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey where Dr. Carden was stationed at the time. Dan attended Tuscaloosa City Schools until moving to Connecticut where his father attended graduate school. After graduation in 1971 from Coventry High School, he attended The King’s College in NYC for one year before transferring to the University of Alabama where he received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in English in 1976. In 1975 he married Janie Christensen, a native of New Mexico.
Dan began his teaching career in 1976 at West End Christian School, believing God had called him into Christian Education. In 1979 he received his M.A. degree in Administration from the University of Alabama. After the birth of their first son, Chris, the couple moved to the Bahamas to teach in a school for Bahamian children under Gospel Missionary Union. After the birth of their second son, Dan and Janie moved to Lustre, Montana, a farming community in northeastern Montana, where he served as the headmaster for three years.
Desiring to be closer to family, the Cardens moved back to Tuscaloosa after the birth of their third son, Nate. Dan worked as the business manager and salesman for a vinyl siding company owned by his brother-in-law for two years. After the birth of their daughter, Meagan, Dan accepted the position as headmaster at West End Christian, where he began his teaching career. He served in this capacity from 1986 until 1989 when he moved to American Christian Academy where he remains today. Dan completed his doctorate from the University of Alabama in 2005 in Educational Leadership.
Dan is the oldest of six children. His father. Dr. A.E. Carden, is a noted metallurgist who was a professor at the University of Alabama for over 30 years. Four of his siblings are also educators.
Dan was invited to be a member of Leadership Tuscaloosa, a group formed to reach out to the community. He was selected and participated in Chuck Colson’s Centurion program where a select group of men around the country were mentored and challenged through reading and meetings with Chuck Colson. For three years Dan was a member of CoMission, a coalition sent to Russia and The Ukraine to help educators implement a curriculum that is based on Biblical morals and values. He is a passionate reader and loves art and art museums. He has been on the ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) Southeast Regional Council. He has served as a consultant for Advanced Ed (formerly SACS) on school accreditation visits across Alabama. Dan’s newest ‘hobby’ is farming – and he can be seen on weekends in overalls feeding goats, cows and turkeys.
Dan Carden was born in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He attended the Tuscaloosa City Schools before moving to Connecticut where his father could attend graduate school. He graduated in 1971 from Coventry (Conn.) High School. He attended a Christian college in New York (The King's College) for one year and then transfered to the University of Alabama where he received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in English in 1976. He married Janie Christensen in August of 1975. The two met when they were 14 and 13 years old at a church where the Cardens attended while Dan's dad conducted research at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory.
In 1976 he began teaching. He was offered a job in the Tuscaloosa County schools but chose to teach at a local Christian school. He started to work on his Master's degree and received that degree in 1979 from the University of Alabama. After 3 years in the science department at West End Christian School and the birth of their first son, Chris, they moved to the Bahamas to teach in a mission school for Bahamian children. Two years later their second son, Kevin, was born. They also moved to northeastern Montana that year where he became the headmaster of Lustre Christian High. He served in that capacity for three years. At the end of this term a third son, Nate, was born.
Wanting to be close to family the Cardens moved back to Tuscaloosa where Dan became the business manager and salesman for a vinyl siding company owned by his brother-in-law. After two wonderful years and the birth a daughter, Meagan, an opportunity opened as a headmaster at the school where he began his teaching career. He assumed that title in 1986. Three years later he moved to American Christian Academy where he remains today. He completed his doctorate in July of 2005.
He is the oldest of six children. His father, Dr. A.E. Carden, is a noted metallurgist who was a professor at the University of Alabama for over 30 years. His mother, Patsy, worked in the home all of his life. Four of his siblings are educators and his brother, Ben, teaches his clients the art of physical exercise. The family traveled extensively across the United States while he was growing up. He lived in places like Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Cape Cod; Iowa; Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Dr. Carden loves to travel and leads most of the field trips taken by the students at ACA. He traveled to the former Soviet Union three times to help their Department of Education implement a curriculum that is based on Biblical morals and values. He is a passionate reader and loves to videotape events involving people. He has taught numerous classes on photography. He attends the Church at Brookhills.
I have held the position of Admissions Director at American Christian Academy since 1994. I love my job as Admissions Director because I have the opportunity to meet new and interesting people on a regular basis. I truly believe ACA has something very special to offer families and students. We have an outstanding facility,a challenging academic curriculum which prepares students for college, an excellent athletic program, and a caring, loving, envrionment. I also love coming to work each day because the atmosphere is Christ-centered, upbeat, and the faculty and staff are fun loving and great friends. I love ACA! GO PATRIOTS!
My name is Ashley Tunnell. I taught at ACA for 13 years and now serve as the School Guidance Counselor.
I received my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Alabama, and I received my Master’s degree in the same field from the University of West Alabama. Previous to teaching at American Christian, I taught, third, sixth, and second grade in the Tuscaloosa County School System.
I received Christ as my personal savior when I was 22 years old. It has been a blessing to feel and see the leadership of the Holy Spirit in my life and in my career. My family and I are faithful members of Five Points Baptist Church in Northport. My husband, William, and I have 5 children: Colton, Tanner, Olivia, Ryleigh and Lane.
In my free time I love to read books, make smocked clothing for children, and take long walks. As a family, we love to go to the beach and go camping in our travel trailer. It is such a blessing to be at ACA!
Marla Shaw graduated from Hillcrest High School and attended the University of Alabama School of Business. She is married to David and they have two children, Kristin (20) and Will (16). They currently attend Church of the Highlands. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Roll Tide! and Go Patriots!
Justa graduated from ACA in 1998, and graduated from The University of Alabama in 2004 with a degree in Criminal Justice and Forensics Science. She has been employed at ACA since 2009 and has served in many roles and currently works in the front office. She has 3 children: Gentry, Jackson, and Jodi Caroline.