Our Teachers

Katya photoKateryna Khrakovsky – “Come Play with Us!”Основной урок – Русский (Russian).  Russian Language and Literature.  RSL – Russian as a Second Language. Театр своими руками (Handmade Theater).

Kateryna graduated from Odessa National Polytechnic University with a degree in engineering.  After working for five years as an engineer/programmer she continued her education at the Odessa Pedagogical Institute obtaining a degree of a Waldorf educator.  Since 1994, Kateryna has worked exclusively with children and in 2007 started teaching for the Berkeley Russian School.

In her free time, she enjoys sewing fashionable clothing, cooking, travel, and gardening.


Maria Shuster – “Come Play with Us!”:  Musical games, singing, dancing.  Arithmetic.  Dance.

Masha graduated from Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in Moscow with two degrees in Mathematics and Spanish.  Following graduation, she worked as a business consultant.  Later, she earned a degree in Economics from the Higher School of Economics, National Research University in Moscow.

After the birth of her son, she became fascinated with education and language development and acquisition in children.  Her goal is to find new, engaging and creative ways to teach while exposing each child’s full potential.


Evgeny Moldavskiy –  Mathematics

Evgeny loves two things: music and mathematics.  Not being able to chose which one is his favorite, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his favorite philosopher Pythagoras whose interests were also mathematics and music, and do both.  Evgeny graduated from the Moscow State University of Culture and Arts with a degree in concert performance and cello teacher.  Later, he also received a degree in business management from the Institute of Continuing Professional Education at The Moscow State Technological University.

His eclectic professional career includes playing in several orchestras, teaching music to children in schools, as well as privately.  He also worked at the Credit Bank of Moscow and Russian Standard Bank as a financial manager.

At the Berkeley Russian School, Evgeny is eager to start teaching again and to share with our children his love and excitement for mathematics.

Елена Акматова_фотоElena Akmatova – Russian Language and Literature. Волшебный мир литературы (Magical World of Literature).  Занимательная литература (Enjoyable Literature).

Elena graduated with honors from International University of Kyrgyzstan with the degree in International Law and holds a certificate in pedagogy.   She completed extensive coursework in child literacy, education, and teaching.   Her particular interests include bilingual’s child psychology, child upbringing in international families, language acquisition, and formation of grammatical categories in the child’s speech.

Elena’s has been primarily teaching children between 4 and 9 years of age.  Her experience includes teaching Russian – all essential skills, plus dramatization of literary texts, and language games.  She also taught courses in development of creative and logical thinking, memory, speech, imagination and motor skills.

Larisa 2Larisa Shapiro – Director

Larisa graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Human Development. Her undergraduate work concentrated on the study of the stages of child development; including behavioral, cognitive, social and personality development. She also holds an MS in Design Studies from University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her graduate work focused on the art of the Italian Renaissance and the history of Russian art before and during the reign of Catherine the Great.

Most of her professional experience involved working with families and children. Her recent positions included Director of Education at a school in Wisconsin, and Director of Resettlement at the Jewish Family Service in Michigan. Larisa also draws and paints. Her favorite subjects are people or animals (portraits) and ornamental design/art. 

Alexander Ermoshkin – Art class:  Вдохновляющая Природа (Inspired by Nature).  В мире животных (The World of Animals). История России (History of Russia).  Эволюция. Животные. (Evolution.  Animals).  

Alexander graduated from Amur State University of Humanities and Pedagogy with a degree in Geography and Biology.  After graduating, he began his professional career teaching middle and high school students, and later, at two universities where he was a leading educational specialist in geography and ecology.  He developed new educational programs and published on methodology of teaching geographical sciences.   Eventually, he became a research fellow of the Institute of Water and Ecological Problems at the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences where his work focused on creating nature preserves and natural monuments.  

Much of Alexander’s 19-year professional career was dedicated to teaching students of different ages.  He is particularly passionate about teaching natural sciences to children.  He strongly believes that a small group setting and individual interaction at the Berkeley Russian School is the ideal medium for nurturing creativity in children and understanding the natural world around us.

lena-pLena Pyatova – Conversational Russian for Adults

Lena graduated from Saint Petersburg State University with a Masters in Russian Language and Literature.  For three years she taught Russian as a second language in Herzen State Pedagogical University.  Currently Lena is pursuing a PhD at the Institute of Russian Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  Her research interests are Russian literature of the Silver Age and Archival Studies.

Lena is passionate about foreign languages; she speaks fluent French and basic Chinese.  In her spare time Lena enjoys reading, traveling, and cooking.