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MEET OUR TEACHERS

Alan Stolyarov

Chess

Alan Stolyarov is an accomplished chess player and dedicated teacher with 12 years of competitive chess experience and 5 years of teaching expertise. His passion for the game began during memorable matches with his father, and since then, he has pursued extensive learning opportunities, receiving lessons and private coaching from esteemed grandmasters. This dedication has translated into numerous significant tournament triumphs, earning him the distinguished rank of National Expert.
Alan's teaching philosophy revolves around leaving his students inspired and eager for more. He not only ensures that each lesson imparts instructive knowledge but also guides his students to transform that knowledge into successful victories on the chessboard. With his engaging approach and strategic guidance, Alan empowers his students to excel in both their learning journey and actual gameplay!

Lamel McBryde (National Chess Master)

Chess

Lamel Mc Bryde is an esteemed National Chess Master with an impressive 25-year journey in the world of chess. For the past 15 years, he has been sharing his passion and expertise as a chess instructor, dedicating himself to the craft wholeheartedly. Despite learning the game without a coach and limited resources, Lamel's determination led him to become one of the top players in NYC, achieving notable success and securing significant cash prizes in prominent chess tournaments. Beyond his chess prowess, Lamel enjoys staying active, spending his spare time at the gym, playing basketball, and engaging in friendly blitz chess matches with close friends. Embracing empowering mantras like "teamwork makes the dream work," "you can do anything you put your mind to," and "it's all about mind over matter," Lamel embodies a mindset of boundless possibilities and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Rilwan Ameen

Chess

Rilwan Ameen's passion for playing chess ignited at the age of 11, and he has remained dedicated to the game ever since. After receiving proper instruction and honing his skills for an entire year, he eagerly participated in his inaugural tournament, marking the beginning of an illustrious chess journey, eventually positioning him within the top 100 players in his age group (14-18).
Over the span of nearly two decades, Rilwan has competed at various levels, including Scholastic, Local, and National, through tournaments sanctioned by the United States Chess Federation (USCF). In addition to his achievements as a player, Rilwan shares his expertise as a chess coach, driven by a genuine desire to inspire the next generation of chess enthusiasts. His approach to teaching involves making every lesson not only educational but also engaging and enjoyable for kids, leaving a lasting impact on their chess journey!

Sandra Cortuna

Chess

My name is Sandra Cotuna and I am originally from Romania. My two biggest passions are chess and math. I played professional chess in my youth and also participated in numerous math competitions as a child.
I taught chess for many years and have been an actuary for more than a decade. Embarking on the dual path of chess and mathematics has been a source of tremendous joy and fulfillment for me. I love to teach and share knowledge. The ripple effect of teaching and sharing knowledge extends far beyond the classroom. It is a gift that keeps on giving, empowering children to navigate the world with confidence and curiosity.

Amanda Merino

Coding

My name is Amanda Merino, and I'm originally from Bloomingdale, NJ. I am currently a junior studying computer science at Stevens Institute of Technology. I found my love of programming through learning Scratch in middle school, and since high school I have been working to share that love with others through teaching. I have experience with many languages, including but not limited to Python, C, C++, Bash, and Javascript.

George Gawargi

Coding

My name is George Gawargi. I am originally from Egypt. I have been living in the US for over 12 years. I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from New Jersey City University and work as a Math teacher in a local charter school. I have been teaching computer programming, or “coding”, and engineering classes for five years, working with kids of various ages and levels of knowledge. I am very passionate about my work with young programmers: I help them discover their passion for coding, where they can learn not only how to program but also how to apply their creativity, expand their imagination, and improve their logic, math and other skills. My goal as an educator is to encourage and motivate my students because I believe that learning should be always exciting and fun. In my spare time, I usually like to play soccer or go to the gym.

Portia Morrell

Coding

My name is Portia Morrell and my teaching background is in computer science education. I was first exposed to computer science in 7th grade, back in 2001, using a language called Logo. That one class is how I fell in love with computer science and decided to pursue it years later. For about 5 years now, I've gained knowledge through teaching and building innovative S.T.E.M curriculum for various after-school
and summer camp programs in NYC and New Jersey. Currently, I am a Computer Science Teacher at Lycée Francais, where I teach grades 8-10. The greatest joy in teaching Computer Science to my young students is seeing the spark and wheels turning in their heads of the infinite possibilities that can be created with code. I look forward to an exciting year of teaching the students at Alpha Minds Academy!

Tara McLoughlin

Coding

My name is Tara McLoughlin, I am originally from Brooklyn, NY and I am a Computer Science student at Stevens Institute of Technology. I am graduating with my B.S. in 2023.
I currently have work experience in frontend and backend development for websites and other applications. I have worked with a Fortune 500 company to learn the ins and outs of the industry. I have also been tutoring coding, math, science, English, and more for over 6 years across all ages.
I love to watch the growth of my students as they learn the new world of computer science and develop into great programmers. Becoming a programmer helps people to learn critical thinking and logic in a way nothing else can! I hope to be able to inspire creativity and critical thinking amongst young minds.
When I’m not coding, you can find me playing soccer or chess with friends. I’m very excited to meet everyone and start helping my students to become the best they can be!

Kayla Pearson

ELA

I have been an educator for 15 years and specialize in providing reading and writing programming rooted in multi-sensory modalities and research-based methods. My career has spanned from Sacramento, to San Francisco and even Panama and has included teaching elementary and middle school, supervising a literacy clinic, as well as training other teachers. I work with students to find joy and empowerment through their writing in order to best express their unique perspectives and creativity!

Tina Nicolucci

ELA

As a dedicated reading coach, I am passionate about working with and teaching students all aspects of reading and writing. My instruction is guided by the science of reading, ensuring that my methods are both effective and evidence-based. I believe that every student has the potential to become a proficient reader and writer, and I strive to create an engaging and supportive learning environment where each child can thrive. I have substantial experience working with Orton-Gillingham and Wilson/Fundations methodologies, which enhances my ability to address diverse learning needs.

My professional qualifications include certifications in childhood education (K-6), the science of reading, ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages), and the University of Florida Literacy Institute (UFLI). These certifications reflect my commitment to continuous learning and my dedication to providing high-quality literacy instruction. I am particularly skilled at adapting my teaching strategies to accommodate the unique needs of each student, ensuring that every child receives personalized support and guidance.

When I'm not inspiring young minds, I enjoy spending my free time outdoors, embracing the beauty and tranquility of nature. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply taking a walk in the park, I find that nature provides a perfect balance to my professional life, keeping me energized and motivated. My love for the outdoors also inspires me to incorporate elements of nature into my teaching, fostering a holistic approach to education.

I am excited to bring my passion, experience, and dedication to the students at AlphaMinds Academy, and I look forward to making a positive impact on their reading and writing journeys.

Diana Sher

Math

I am a teacher by profession and by vocation. I graduated from Moscow State Teachers’ Training University with honors diploma as a teacher of English. My interests include linguistics and culture in general with Russian culture and literature in particular. Since my teen years I have also been fascinated by Japan’s culture and the Japanese language. After having studied Japanese at the Russian Diplomatic Academy, I passed the Japanese Language Proficiency test by Tokyo Department of Education in 2000. Now I speak fluent Japanese as well as read and write it. I have a lot of experience in teaching, translation and interpretation and I hold a certificate of an interpreter from the New York University (NYU) and a TOESL /TOEFL certificate from Bridge Education group.
I love teaching and, especially, I enjoy working with children. Their smiles and happy faces are my real reward. Developing logical thinking is very important, as Logics is the language of mind. My motto is “Learning should be always exciting and fun.” Using creative approach in my lessons, I help kids exploring the world and developing useful skills.

George Gawargi

Math

My name is George Gawargi, and I am originally from Egypt. I have been living in the US for over 12 years and graduated with a degree in Elementary Education from New Jersey City University. Currently, I am a dedicated middle school Math teacher at a local charter school, where I strive to instill a love for mathematics in my students and help them develop strong analytical and problem-solving skills. With a passion for teaching and a commitment to educational excellence, I create engaging and supportive classroom environments that cater to diverse learning styles. Outside the classroom, I enjoy staying active by playing soccer and going to the gym, activities that not only keep me physically fit but also provide a great balance to my professional life. I am enthusiastic about sharing my knowledge and experience with my students, helping them to achieve their full potential in mathematics.

Ivette Garcia

Math

My name is Ivette Garcia, and I have had the privilege of teaching middle school math for the past 5 years. As an educator, my mission is to instill a sense of appreciation for math among my students, presenting it as an approachable subject rather than an insurmountable challenge. I hold a master's degree in education from Saint Peter's University, which has equipped me with valuable tools to create engaging and effective learning experiences for my students.

In addition to my passion for math education, I am also a professional chess player with over 14 years of experience in teaching chess. Chess has been a profound and enriching part of my life, providing valuable insights and growth beyond the chessboard. My journey as a competitive chess player and chess coach has uniquely influenced my approach to teaching math, allowing me to employ strategic thinking, problem-solving skills, and creative approaches to help my students excel in mathematics.

I believe that the skills and insights gained from my experience in chess have directly contributed to my effectiveness as a math teacher, enabling me to create a dynamic and stimulating learning environment for my students. My goal is to empower each student to unlock their potential and cultivate a positive attitude towards math, enabling them to approach mathematical concepts with confidence and enthusiasm.

Matthew Rydell

Math

Born and raised in Staten Island, NY, Matthew is a lifetime teacher and learner.
He earned his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1998 and spent the next few years working in the entertainment industry in Manhattan.
His master’s degree in education from CUNY/ College of Staten Island is in Special Education for grades 1-6. .

Since 2005 Matthew has worked as a teacher in several private schools in NYC, as well as the private tutor for high school and college entrance exams. His approach to math education is to keep it fun, engaging and interactive, and focus on clear, precise language. Matthew has a special talent for making complex concepts look simple and for helping children become very fond of math!

Svetlana Margoulis

Math

I hold a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from Ben Gurion University, and a Master's in Business Management and Administration.

Even though I am not an educator by education, teaching Mathematics and introducing kids to its exceptional beauty has always been my passion. During my university years, I was highly involved in, and led, multiple educational projects for high schoolers who had challenges in graduating from school. As a mentor, it is very rewarding to realize how my passion and faith in their success contributed to their skills and shaped their futures.

I didn’t stop pursuing my dreams when I landed in the US, and became involved with the RSM school, where I taught advanced math classes to students from K to 9th grade for several years pre-pandemic.

I believe that a teacher’s strength is to recognize every student’s need, and to make everyone’s experience in the classroom enjoyable and productive at the same time.

For teachers, learning also never stops. I am an advocate of constant self-learning and development, and I love using new techniques and new ways of introducing concepts to my students thus making their learning process more efficient and fun.
I am very excited to work with my AlphaMinds math students!

Tatiana Sapronova

Math

Tatiana Sapronova is a passionate and dedicated educator with extensive experience in early childhood and elementary education. She received her teaching degree from Zaporizhya Pedagogical State University in 2005, where she developed a strong foundation in pedagogy and instructional strategies.

With a solid background as a teacher of grades 1-3 in a local school, Tatiana's teaching journey took her across borders to the United States. In Tennessee, she had the opportunity to work as a preschool and early education teacher, where she honed her skills in creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for young learners. Her time in the US allowed her to embrace diverse teaching methodologies and gain valuable insights into fostering holistic development among her students.

Since joining AlphaMinds Academy in 2017, Tatiana has been an invaluable asset to the institution's educational community. She specializes in teaching Logic PreK, K, and Math I-III classes, imparting her knowledge and expertise in these subjects with enthusiasm and dedication. Her teaching style is characterized by a blend of interactive activities, hands-on learning experiences, differentiated instruction, and personal approach to each student. Tatiana's love for children and teaching shines through in her daily interactions with her students. She fosters a positive and inclusive classroom environment, promoting active engagement and encouraging students to explore their curiosities. She embraces a growth mindset and continuously seeks innovative approaches to inspire a lifelong love for learning in her students!

Vera Vitali

Math

My name is Vera Vitali. I grew up in Albania, and have lived in the United States for the last 23 years. For the last 17 years, I have been teaching math from 9th-12th grade from Algebra 1 to AP Calculus in some of the top private and public schools in New Jersey. I am certified to teach math from Pre-K to 12th grade and I have a Masters in Administrator in Education.
While I believe that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own learning, I believe that, as a teacher, I have been given the opportunity to influence the motivation of students in their learning process. My goal is to maximize each student's abilities and achievement to the highest level that they are capable of reaching.
As a passionate learner myself, I want my love of learning to be contagious. A successful teacher recognizes the uniqueness and individuality of participants and thereby creates learning experiences appropriate to different styles of learning. It is important to facilitate a process in which the learning experience taps the resources of the group.
A key component of running an effective classroom is making sure to involve individuals in the learning process so that they leave the classroom with heightened curiosity and with an increased ability to carry on their own learning. It is so important to help students feel good about themselves through designing challenging but achievable learning experiences. Success breeds success. As teachers, we need to build upon positive experiences in the classroom and make sure that students continue to grow by challenging them with new opportunities to build upon their past successes. I believe strongly in making myself available to students after classes and at the end of the school day to provide additional support and guidance in their understanding of the lessons being taught. As a team, both students and teachers can learn and grow to gain the most benefit out of their time together.

Kayla Pearson

Reading

Kayla has been an educator for 15 years and specializes in providing reading intervention services rooted in multisensory modalities and research-based methods. She began her career in education supporting students with Autism within the public school system in Sacramento and San Francisco, California. She quickly realized that teaching was her passion and became a certified Educational Specialist and then went on to earn a Masters in Special Education. Through this journey she found that a strong foundation in literacy made a significant impact in the lives of her students and sought out to become a specialist in this area. Kayla is trained in Lindamood-Bell, Orton-Gillingham, and Wilson literacy interventions and uses these principles to create customized and meaningful reading and writing learning experiences.

Kayla went on to become an Assistant Director of a literacy Clinic in San Francisco and then as a teaching coach in California and abroad. Her approach to education is that learning should be rooted in research based practices, reflect each learners' strengths and interests, and have real-world integration and application. She believes that developing strong literacy skills and a love of learning creates the path for students to become future leaders.

Diana Sher

Russian

Я учитель по профессии и по призванию. Я закончила c отличием Московский Педагогический Университет по специальности учитель английского. В круг моих интерсов входят лингвистика и культура в целом, и русскaя культурa и литературa в частности. Кроме того, с юношеских лет я увлекаюсь японской культурой и языком. После изучения японского языка в Дипломатической Академии, я сдала экзамен на знание японского языка, проводимого Токийским отделом образования в 2000. Теперь я свободно владею разговорной речью, а также пишу и читаю по-японски. У меня большой опыт работы преподавателем и переводчиком и есть сертификат медицинского переводчика от Нью-Йоркского Университета и сертификат преподавателя английского как иностранного от образовательной группы Бридж.
Я люблю преподавать и, особенно, люблю работать с детьми. Их улыбки и счастливые лица - моя настоящая награда. Развитие логического мышления очень важно, потому как Логика является языком разума. Мой девиз : “Учиться всегда должно быть увлекательно и интересно!” Используя творческий подход в своих уроках, я помогаю детям изучать мир и развивать необходимые навыки.

Julia Vogman

Russian

After graduating from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a master's degree and working a few years in IT, I became a full-time mom and got interested in early-childhood enrichment and education.

I joined Musical Munchkins as a music teacher, which allowed me to work part time while concentrating on family, 3 boys certainly kept me busy!

As my youngest son got older, I wanted to continue growing with him and that’s how the idea of Club Passepartout was born.

My passion for traveling and planning educational, fun trips for my family was the highlight of every season. I feel so lucky that now I don’t need to wait for vacation to travel to a new place. We do it every week in class!

There is nothing like it when you finish a class and know everyone has left happy, smiling and charged with positive energy for the day. Kids don’t even notice that they have been learning for an hour when they are having fun!

Ksenia Reztsova

Russian

Дети - наши настоящие Учителя . Именно через собственных детей в мою жизнь пришло столько новых знаний и навыков. Став мамой я погрузилась в изучение детской психологии, с интересом познавая какие же занятия могут и развлечь ребенка, и научить его чему-то новому. Развивая своих детей, я стала преподавать групповые музыкальные занятия в американском международном детском центре Gymboree Play&Music
для дошкольников с 2019 года. Благодаря музыкальному и актерскому образованию, полученному в Национальном Университете культуры и искусств Украины и Киевской музыкальной школе, получалось превратить занятия в настоящий праздник музыки и веселья. А классы для малышей проходили радостно даже для их родителей.
И вот это и есть самой большой наградой - видеть, как твоя работа дарит не только удовольствие, но еще и пользу для развития ребенка. В любой своей преподавательской деятельности я всегда стараюсь синтезировать тему урока с музыкой и песнями, таким образом материал усваивается ребенком легко и с удовольствием.
Я уверена, что каждый ребенок уникален и талантлив, а задача нас взрослых это проявить и совершенствовать. Я с нетерпением жду каждой встречи с нашими учениками!

Marina Shiyanova

Russian

Я работаю в сфере образования более 25 лет. Опыт преподавания языков (французский и русский язык ) ещё в советских школах. Постоянно учусь, стараясь идти в ногу со временем: веду занятия в AlphaMinds Academy и в классах, и в режиме онлайн, прошла курс " Русский язык как иностранный" в Институте русского языка им. А.С.Пушкина. Закончила также университет и в США, работаю с дошкольниками в одном из центров развития ребёнка Нью Джерси.
Наступающий учебный год будет для меня моим 7-м годом работы в AlphaMinds Academy. Обучать родному языку это ещё одна возможность творческого подхода к моей профессии.
Ученики в AlphaMinds Academy - самые лучшие, самые талантливые и самые весёлые. Я делаю всё возможное, чтобы и мои уроки были увлекательны,полезны, чтобы заложить в наших детях прочные знания и интерес к изучению языка. Я всегда чувствую поддержку родителей и руководства нашей школы.

Oksana Zaish

Russian

По образованию я учитель английского языка и литературы, русского языка и литературы, филолог и переводчик. Я закончила Запорожский Государственный Университет, факультет Романо-Германской Филологии. Более 14 лет я преподавала английский, немецкий и русский языки для учеников 1-11 классов в престижной гимназии г.Запорожья, а затем работала в США репетитором русского и английского языков. Я преподаю русский язык в AlphaMinds Academy с 2015 года. Работая с детьми разного происхождения, я стараюсь научить их иностранным языкам
в увлекательной и интересной форме. Я люблю учить детей и искренне радуюсь их успехам. Являясь творческой личностью, я стараюсь не останавливаться на
достигнутом и всегда интересуюсь современными методами обучения, интегрируя их в
повседневной работе. Имея опыт работы завучем школы, у меня есть определенный
психологический подход к ученикам и их родителям. Личный опыт включает в себя
воспитание сына (26 лет, учится в медицинском институте). Основные цели моей
работы – вдохновлять детей улучшить свои знания русского языка, развивать их
воображение и расширять кругозор. Радостные лица моих учеников и их прогресс в знание русского языка - моя самая большая награда!

Svetlana Artemyeva

Russian

Преподавание музыки и театра детям — моя страсть; видеть, как мои ученики учатся и растут, — это потрясающе! Некоторые мои ученики заканчивают старшие классы. А я, уже седьмой год подряд продолжу обучать детей самому светлому и прекрасному - музыке и театру!

Как детский психолог по образованию, я использую свои музыкальные, вокальные и художественные навыки как один из самых лучших инструментов обучения детей с самого раннего возраста. Как учитель и мама двоих замечательных детей, я всегда подхожу к обучению детей творчески.

Я использую свои знания в детской психологии для наилучшего подхода к ребёнку и нашего общего прекрасного результата, выраженного в счастье детей и их родителей, в творческих достижениях моих учеников, которыми я по праву горжусь все эти семь замечательных лет работы в Школе Альфа Майндс Академи.

Я родилась в Казахстане и очень много путешествовала будучи подростком, я набиралась опыта и впитывала в себя музыку и культуру разных стран и народов.

В Нью-Джерси я живу уже 10 лет и за это время добилась потрясающих результатов в древнейшей школе Marlboro Montessori Academy в качестве дошкольного учителя музыки и искусства. Я также приношу свой вклад обществу работая в госпитальном отделении неотложной помощи НьюДжерси

Чем бы я ни занималась, я четко знаю, что люблю свою работу! Музыка и театр — это даже не то, чем я занимаюсь, это то, кто я есть, это то, из чего состоит моя жизнь.

Я с огромным нетерпением жду сентября, чтобы встретить вас снова и обнять моих прекрасных учеников! Ваша, Мисс Лана.

Svetlana Podmogilnaya

Russian

Меня зовут Светлана. Я работаю преподавателем в Alpha Minds Academy третий год из моего 8-ми летнего педагогического стажа. Я закончила магистратуру Самарского государственного педагогического университета по специальности учителя начальных классов и дошкольного образования.
В своей педагогической деятельности я следую принципу, что все дети уникальны и талантливы. Меня вдохновляют их открытия в освоении языка, и я стараюсь подобрать индивидуальный подход для каждого ребенка, чтобы раскрыть его прирожденные способности. Возраст дошкольников и младших школьников - самое лучшее время для развития речи и погружения в культуру русского языка.
Как родитель детей, говорящих на двух языках, я понимаю, как непросто поддерживать их второй язык, который не является основным в нашем обществе. Я уверена, что погружение детей в русскоязычную среду посредством изучения окружающего мира, чтения книг на русском языке, изучения новой лексики через игру позволяет поддерживать и развивать их навыки общения на русском языке.
Я с нетерпением жду встречи со студентами и их родителями на уроках AlphaMinds Academy!

Tatiana Petrova

Russian

Я родилась в Санкт-Петербурге. Мне посчастливилось вырасти в обстановке, где книги были основной темой для разговоров, среди стеллажей, уставленных шедеврами мировой литературы.
Каждая веха моей жизни совпадает с какой-то книгой или писателем.
Мое формальное образование тоже сосредоточено на языке и литературе:

- Два года на кафедре языкознания Санкт-Петербургского государственного факультета.
- Двойной диплом Stony Brook University, по английскому языку/литературе и лингвистике.
- Магистерская степень по литературе в Pennstate University.
- Два года на кафедре лингвистики в Cornell University.
Моя любовь к литературе неизменно сопровождается интересом к лингвистике. В своей работе как с детьми, так и со взрослыми я с одинаковым энтузиазмом уделяю внимание синтаксису и его поэтическому применению.
Последние 8 лет мой основной интерес составляет детская литература. Моя страсть - находить хороший литературный материал для своих детей. В своих поисках я руководствуюсь следующими критериями: издание, иллюстрации, язык/перевод. К счастью, мы живем в необыкновенно богатое литературой время. Море новых художников, авторов, переводчиков... Но в этом же изобилии таится и опасность: не весь этот материал годен для полки, которая будет формировать сознание ребенка. Чтобы пролистать сотни томов и пробраться через бесконечные ряды виртуальных стеллажей необходимо море времени и терпения. Но поскольку внеклассное чтение было основой моего образования, я не задумываясь трачу силы и ресурсы на составление библиотеки для своих детей. И я готова делиться накопленным богатством.
Внимание к литературе и языку - это не только средство развить грамотную и красивую речь и расширить кругозор, но и возможность открыть детям мир человеческих отношений и эмоций. Поэтому мой курс включает в себя интенсивное изучение грамматики и исключительно разнообразный литературный материал.

Viktoria Levenets

Russian

По образованию я - педагог/хореограф с 26-летним опытом работы с детьми дошкольного и младшего школьного возраста. Мое первое знакомство с танцем произошло в пять лет,
когда меня отвели в балетную студию. С того времени увлечение переросло в профессию.
Я закончила Сумское училище культуры с
отличием и получила предложение танцевать в профессиональном танцевальном коллективе.
Училась в Сумском государственном педагогическом университет им.А.С. Макаренко на факультете «Искусств», по специальности «Хореография».

В 2014 году я с отличием закончила магистратуру и получила квалификацию преподавателя хореографических дисциплин.

Свои первые шаги в преподавании я начинала делать с малышами в школе раннего творческого развития ребенка «Малюк» Сумского Дворца детей и юношества. Работала хореографом в вокально-хоровом коллективе. Также около 10 лет работала педагогом и хореографом в детском саду.

Работа с детьми приносит мне огромное удовольствие и я счастлива, что могу помочь малышам открывать для себя прекрасный мир творчества.

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