Our Teachers

Katya photoKateryna Khrakovsky – Beginner Russian.  Считалочки:  Beginner Arithmetic.

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 – Musical Alphabet, Musical Arithmetic, Alphabet Drawing, The World Around Us.  Russian as a Second Language (RSL).  Adult-Beginner/Intermediate.

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.


Елена Акматова_фотоElena Akmatova – Russian Language and Literature.  Conversational Russian:  Поговорим.
Adult – Advanced classes.

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. 

Steven Lazarevsky – Mathematics (all levels).

Steven is a student majoring in Mathematics and Physics at Brandeis University. Having grown up around math educators, he fell in love with the subject and ultimately decided that it will be the focus of his degree. Steven first received exposure to teaching through coaching highly competitive swimmers before transitioning to tutor middle and high school math. Currently, Steven serves as a general Physics and Math tutor for undergraduates at his University. Comfortable teaching all levels and classes, Steven particularly enjoys teaching and solving logic puzzles. 

In his spare time, Steven is an avid reader and chess player. In addition, he enjoys an early wake up to row crew.

Alexander Ermoshkin – The World Around Us.   Geometry in Pictures.  Our Body and Our Feelings.  Fine Art:  Учимся рисовать.

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.