Carlana began her career in education as a teacher and principal with the Lakehead Board of Education. She joined the Ontario Ministry of Education; for 18 years she worked with provincially-funded school boards, and First Nation schools and organizations, to improve student achievement. In July 2008, Carlana became the education program director for the Martin Family Initiative, where she supports various strategies and activities related to Indigenous students across Canada. She received her BA, BEd, and MEd from Lakehead University, and her EdD from the University of Toronto. Carlana served on the Ontario Special Education (English) Tribunal from 2008 to 2014 and was a member of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada’s national selection committee for the First Nations Student Success Program (FNSSP) for four years. In 2009, Carlana was awarded the Sandra D. Lang Lifetime Achievement Award by the Ontario Government for the depth and quality of service she provided to students, families and communities across Ontario. In 2015, she received an Alumni Award from Lakehead University.