Our Teachers


Елена Акматова_фотоElena Akmatova – Russian Language. Russian Conversation and Literature. Russian for Adults (Advanced level)

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.


Elina Staviskaya – Arithmetic, Mathematics

After Elina graduated from Moscow State University of Printing Arts with a major in Book Editing and Publishing Business, she worked as a copywriter and public relations specialist at a leading IT company in Moscow, Russia.  Using her talents to translate complex ideas into simple language with clear examples and funny analogies so anyone can understand, Elina became interested in broader educational issues and teaching.  She is also passionate about sustainable transportation, new mobility, and autonomous vehicles, which is why she recently received her second master’s degree in Transportation Management from San Jose State University. 

In her free time, Elina enjoys spending time with her niece and nephews, playing educational games, and helping with homeworks.   She loves working with children and is excited about an opportunity to share her talents with Berkeley Russian School students. 


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. 

Emily Vidrenko – Come Play With Us!  (Alphabet and Arithmetic).  In Our House 

Emily has always had a passion for working with children.  She grew up knowing that she wanted to be an educator, just like her mother, a professional career teacher.  Emily has extensive experience of working with children of all ages, from kindergarten to high school in a variety of settings.  Her talents include a knack for creating engaging and entertaining games that make lessons interesting, exciting, and enjoyable for every child in her classroom.  While Emily is studying to become a UX designer, she brings to Berkeley Russian School a new and exciting educational program that will delight children and encourage them to unlock their full potential in developing language skills and beyond.


Tatyana Vidrenko – Come Play With Us!  (Alphabet and Arithmetic)

Tatiana graduated from Rostov State Pedagogical University.  After spending several years with her own young children, she returned to her studies, this time focusing on law.  Following a brief stint as a lawyer, Tatiana realized that her true calling was working with children, and the rest of her professional career has been dedicated to teaching children of different ages.  She worked as a kindergarten and elementary school teacher, as well as teaching history to middle and high school students.   Tatiana is excited to join the teaching staff of Berkeley Russian School and is looking forward to sharing her love for knowledge and Russian language with our children.  


Milana Tatarintseva – Come Play With Us!  (Alphabet and Arithmetic).  Russian as A Second Language (RSL)

Bio Coming Soon! 





Alexander Ermoshkin – The World Around Us.   В гостях у сказки.  Most Famous Expeditions In the History of Exploration.  Узнавайка

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.



Masha Shuster –  Russian for Adults. (Beginner/Intermediate level)

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.