Marina Zurakhinsky, Founder of ZplaySchool, General Educator
Marina Zurakhinsky is a community organizer who has been developing and running interactive programs for children since 2002. Throughout her career Marina has had the opportunity to supervise, develop, and facilitate numerous programs & initiatives for children, teens, and families in Ukraine and New York. Marina is very involved in Jewish community life as a professional, a volunteer, and a lay leader. Marina was born and raised in Kiev, studied Business Management and Finance and holds a Master’s Degree in Education from Fordham University. She has worked with children for the past 15 years and is excited to make her dream come true – to create a center with experienced educators and quality programs for local (and her own) children.
Natalia Maximova, General Educator
Natalia Maximova is an experienced educator. She started teaching by sharing her love for History and the Russian language with teens. She soon found that her real aspiration is in teaching little kids using the Montessori Method. She committed herself to constant learning, and got her second degree in Child Psychology while continuing to take all available Montessori methodology classes and workshops in Moscow. Recently, in the last ten years, she has been specializing in private Russian Language and Child Development classes for 1 to 6 year olds.
Gera Sandler, Actor, Stage Director, Performing Arts Educator
Gera Sandler is an actor, stage director, and TV personality. He just moved to New York from Israel. He graduated from the School of Performing Arts "Beit Zvi" in 1997. He performed in Gesher Theatre, and is one of the leading actors in the Yiddishpiel Theatre. He has also directed numerous productions including operas, dramatic plays and kids shows. Gera has appeared in over 30 movies and series in Israel, Russia, and Poland. He is happy to share his diverse skills and experiences with the staff and kids at ZplaySchool while having as much fun as possible.
Evgenia Gruznykh, Russian Language, Math & G&T Educator
Evgenia Gruznykh graduated from Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia with an Early Childhood degree specializing in teaching & development of kids ages 2 to 7 years old. She moved to New York ten years ago and led private and group lesson for Russian-speaking children in speech development, reading, math, art, and test preparation. In Saint Petersburg, Evgenia worked in a private day care for nine years as the main teacher in a classroom. She is excited to join the ZplaySchool team and bring her experience and passion to our organization.
Elena Kirko, Russian Language & Music Educator
Elena Kirko has degrees in Early Childhood education and in Music. She has worked in schools both in Russia and in the US, in learning centers, and as a private tutor working with children ages 3 to 12. Having also studied child psychology she easily finds a way to attract and engage children. She is currently developing her own program for teaching little ones to play the piano at the same time as they study Russian language. The program includes exercises to learn the rhythms of speech, to improve diction, to develop motor skills and to promote harmonious development for the child. She is excited to put her interests and talents to work as a member of Zplay’s team!
Natalia Rowe, Certifies Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Therapist
Natalia’s professional journey started more than 15 years ago in Russia where she received a dual degree in speech pathology and special education, as well as extensive training in child psychology and brain anatomy/physiology. Natalia continued her education in the United States and earned her Master of Science degree from Columbia University. Currently, Natalia provides in-service training for therapists and ABA teachers and works privately with infants and young children with speech-language and feeding/swallowing disorders. Her clients range from typically developing children to children with multiple disabilities and congenital/developmental conditions. Natalia takes special interest in dysphagia and motor speech disorders. Natalia uses a combination of methods she learned in both countries, including PROMPT (Prompts for Restructuring Oral-Muscular Phonetic Targets), to help her clients say their first sounds and words. In feeding therapy, Natalia addresses behavioral, motor and sensory aspects by using behavior modification strategies, motor learning techniques, and the Sequential-Oral-Sensory (SOS) approach.
Natasha Lipkina, Violinist, Music Educator
Natasha is a violinist. She received her education in violin at the Central Special School of Music, the Moscow Conservatory, and at Indiana University. She has appeared as a soloist and a chamber musician in numerous festivals and on the world's major stages including Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully and Avery Fisher Hall. She has participated in many recordings and TV shows. She is a prizewinner of Enescu and Shostakovich International competitions. Along with her versatile performing career, Natasha has dedicated herself to education. She taught for years in The Children Orchestra Society, and at the NYU School of Education. She leads The InterPlay Chamber Music, and regularly gives master classes and workshops in Europe and Russia. Natasha is currently on the faculty of the music department at Nyack College School of Music and is proud to join ZplaySchool to provide excellent musical experiences for our children.
Sergey Nagorny, Actor, Performing Arts Educator
Sergey Nagorny is a New York based actor and one of the founding members of the Lost & Found Project Theatre Company. With Lost & Found Project, Sergey has performed around the United States, as well as abroad in Canada and Russia. Other theatre credits include Theatre 167's "Jackson Heights, 3AM", STEPS Theater's "Ask Joseph", and Novi Most Theater's "Dancing on the Edge".On TV, Sergey can be seen in such series as The Americans, Limitless, Criminal Minds: Beyond Boarders, and MacGyver. Sergey is happy and proud to be a part of Zplay Theater's inaugural year, and has been a part of Ded Kotlet, Puss in Boots, The Butterfly and the Grasshopper, and Petson's New Year's Eve. He says: "A great Thank You to Marina (Zurakhinsky) and Gera (Sandler) for giving me a chance to be a kid again!"
Ronit Ashel, Actress, Singer, Hebrew Instructor
Ronit Ashei is an actress, singer, and performer. She graduated Beit Zvi drama school in Israel and for 12 years she performed in the Yiddish theater and organized many children's plays. Ronit is excited to introduce and teach the Hebrew language to ZplaySchool children through acting, music, and movement.
Jordan Frye, Actress, French Instructor, Performing Arts Educator
Jordan Frye grew up in New York City and went to the Lycée Français de New York. She graduated from college in Massachusetts before moving to Moscow for six years where she studied acting and read the classics for inspiration. Jordan studied at the Moscow Art Theater School. She worked in theater and film in Moscow before moving to New York. She also has many years of experience teaching and taking care of children. She is excited to share her love of languages and the arts with our kids at ZplaySchool.
Julia Gorodetsky, Architect, Design Thinking Class Instructor
Julia Gorodetsky is an architect, an attorney, an educational consultant, and a creator of a unique urban design curriculum for children, which offers hands-on experience and an understanding of complex urban design and architectural concepts. She holds both Bachelor's and Master's degrees in architecture from Tulane University, and has worked for years with a world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava on a new Path station for NYC. Julia earned her JD from Vanderbilt University. As an attorney, she has practiced venture capital financing in NYC with a TX-based law firm Andrews Kurth. In the last couple of years Julia has co-founded the educational consulting company The Way In, which assists low income and foreign students with access to college and graduate school education.
Tatyana Kot, Actress, Dancer, Performing Arts Educator
Tatyana Kot trained and performed with a local ballet company in her native Kazakhstan. She worked as a dancer in Russia and the United States for about 20 years before transitioning to teaching. Tatyana has taught dance and movement to kids, seniors, professional actors and people with disabilities. She is thrilled to develop the new Geography Through Dance class and introduce her students to the wealth of different cultures!
Diana Dubossarska, Artist, Illustrator, Visual Arts Educator
Diana Dubossarska was born in Ukraine but spent her childhood in Prague. This amazing city left an indelible mark on her which is depicted in her colorful, naïve scenes. She graduated from The Ukrainian University of Culture and Arts and was educated in art across the world (Rome, Kiev, New York). Her overarching goal is to leave genuine smiles on children’s faces, to show them the joy and freedom of creating art and expressing themselves.
Svetlana Orberg, Assistant Teacher
Svetlana was born and raised in Saint Petersburg where she earned her Bachelor's degree. She moved to the United States and started working with children in 2016, working in an English-speaking Day Care, taking care of toddlers and preschoolers. Svetlana is CPR & First Aid certified Assistant Teacher and she is very excited to be a part of the Zplay team.
If you love kids, have experience teaching and passion for your specialty, are creative, and want to join our team or become our partner, please email us: ZplayUWS@gmail.com