Faculty & Staff

Our Teachers

Irina Sterlikova

Chairperson of the Mathematics Department

Favorite Quote:“Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” – Bob Talbert


Dina Kuzminer

Chairperson of the English Department

Favorite Quote: “I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.” – Albert Einstein

Ms. Kuzminer, as a teacher of English and a school administrator, adheres to the philosophy that all children may achieve a measure of greatness through encouragement, sensitivity, kindness, and a quality foundation for learning. All of these methods must be employed by teachers who understand and never forget that students are individuals, no matter the age group. Ms. Kuzminer’s current work involves emphasizing critical thinking and reading as well as the arts of written expression. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SUNY Buffalo and a Master of Art’s Degree from the University of Vermont in English Literature.


Svetlana Belopolsky

Coordinator K-2 of the English Department

Quote: “No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward the pupils and a genuine desire to impact to them what he believes to be of value.” – Bertrand Russell

Mrs. Belopolsky is an enthusiastic educator who inspires every single student thru positive reinforcement and more importantly individualized approach. By being informed in the latest pedagogical methodologies Mrs. Belopolsky ensures that each student carries away from her classroom a life long love of learning, reading, and self expression through writing. Mrs. Belopolsky has demonstrated a great connection with her students in the last 11 years working for Big Apple Academy. She has developed a unique reading program for Kindergardeners based on Phonemic Approach. The appropriateness of the program have shown tremendous results where Kindergardeners begin to read simple structures as early as five weeks into the program.

Mrs. Belopolsky holds a Bachelor of Art’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from City University of New York – Brooklyn College and a Master of Science’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Long Island University. She holds a Permanent Teacher’s Certificate of New York and is an active member of American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA).


Natalie Yankovski

Chairperson of the Science and Social Studies Department

Favorite Quote:“Teach a child how to think, not what to think.” – Sidney Sugarman

Natalie Yankovski is an enthusiastic educator who places a great emphasis on differentiation and innovative instructional strategies. She believes that teaching and learning are cooperative acts, and a teacher not only imparts knowledge, but also prepares and motivates students to accept and learn skills important in their future lives. Ms. Yankovski holds a Bachelor’s and Dual Master’s degrees in Education and Psychology. She is a Board certified professional with 12 years of experience in the field of education and as such, takes pride in leading the Department of Science and Social Studies at Big Apple Ins. – a school that inspires, motivates, and prepares its students for success.


Diana Pakhomenko

Chairperson of the Russian Department

Favorite Quote: “ITo be a great teacher you have to enjoy and appreciate what you teach as well as love those whom you teach.” – V. Klyuchevskiy

Diana Pakhomenko has a combined 30 years of teaching experience, of which 7 years has been in the Big Apple. She has a Master of Arts in teaching the Russian and Ukrainian languages and literatures and a Master of Arts in Elementary Education. Extensive, international experience allows her to combine the European and American pedagogical methodologies into one, solid program for students. Diana Pakhomenko’s lessons develop students’ critical thinking, instill skills of literate writing, and foster development of proper spoken language. Student progress and the overall quality of in-class as well as homework-based learning are under a constant supervision of the teacher; she always seeks to cater the curriculum to the unique needs of her students. That is why, Diana Pakhomenko’s classes offer a good psychological climate; all students feel comfortable in the learning environment, so they actively participate in the work at hand and display unwithering engagement in lesson material.