4001 Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Phone: 734 730 0604

Our Teachers

Margarita Barvinok: Over ten years ago, Margarita Barvinok staged the first theater performance with a small group of Russian-speaking children. Today, she runs one of the most successful youth theater companies in Ann Arbor and is one of the recognized leaders of the local Russian-speaking community. In addition, Rita works as a system administrator at the U of M. Rita leads a seminar on Russian history and culture, which aims to make students interested in the subject and to build a foundation on which students will be able to continue their own education.
Margarita Barvinok

Nelly Mazelson: Nelly is a native of Minsk, Belarus. She graduated from its Pedagogical University with a degree in philology, and taught Russian language and literature in grades 5-11 in a Minsk school from 1956 to 1992. Nelly moved to Ann Arbor in 1992; her ample teaching experience is a great asset for our students and our school.
Nelly Mazelson

Natalia Novak: "As long as I remember myself, I loved to come up with games and activities for kids. That must be why I went to a teacher’s college and worked in a preschool for several years, before getting a degree in the arts. I have lived in the U.S. for a few years before I got this opportunity to use my education and experience. At RussianABC, both my professions came in handy in teaching my classes for preschoolers and kindergartners".
Natalia Novak

Marlena Pallas: Marlena Pallas graduated from the Omsk State University with a degree in Russian philology. She has taught Russian Language and Literature at a secondary school, and has also worked as a special education teacher.
As a teacher at the Ann Arbor RussianABC School, Marlena sees her educational goals as having her students know the classical and contemporary Russian literature and helping them learn to read, write and communicate in Russian fluently and freely.
Marlena Pallas

Anna Krushelnitskaya: "I have worked in second/foreign language teaching and educational testing for 14 years now, in Russian and American settings, in college, secondary school and one-on-one, with all age groups and proficiency levels, with English, Russian and Mandarin Chinese. My interest in having a successful Russian school in Ann Arbor is very personal: I have three children whose Russian language proficiency, I am afraid, cannot be sustained by our annual trips to Russia alone. I am thrilled that they now can enjoy the experience and support of our wonderful teachers, and honored that I have the opportunity to share my skills and knowledge with the learners of Russian as a foreign language and the heritage speakers who want to explore the Russian culture deeper."
Anna Krushelnitskaya

Anna Phillips: Anna Phillips is a degreed elementary school teacher. She graduated from a musical-pedagogical vocational school and a sociology-psychology institute. The RussianABC School gave Anna the chance to return to doing the job she loves, while her talent and five years of professional experience are a valuable "acquisition" for the school. "I love working with elementary school-age children. They are so open and thirsty for knowledge that it is a great pleasure to work with them, to share with them your knowledge, skills and experiences."
Anna Phillips


  Irina Komelkova Irina has three graduate degrees: two – in education and in law – are from Russia, and one – an MBA – is from Georgetown University. This makes her perfectly qualified to be the director of our school. Here’s what she says about the school: "Both Russian-speaking parents and their kids need a Russian school. We as parents strive to achieve a cultural unity within the family; we want to speak the same language with our children, to sing with them the songs that we ourselves loved as kids, to find the same jokes funny. As to the children themselves, they need not only to absorb the best that different cultures have to offer, but also to develop the mental flexibility that allows to adjust to different cultural standards and to be open to all kinds of information about the world. Let us join the efforts of the families and the school to help our children master the language that they inherited. Native-like mastery of Russian could prove to be a decisive advantage in their lives later on; let’s prepare them to use it."  
Irina Komelkova