Our Staff

 
 

Kelly Demetra Varsami

Principal, Program Director, Curriculum Coordinator, Language Teacher

Kelly Demetra Varsami studied at Pantion University of Athens with a major in Public Administration. She continued her studies at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, CUNY, with a major in Business Administration/Computer Information Systems. Ms. Varsami earned her Masters of Arts in Teaching from Queens College, CUNY.

She is State Certified in grades 1-6 and taught in several elementary schools in Long Island. She worked as a Greek Teacher at the Cathedral School in NYC and at the Greek School of Port Washington for several years. Ms. Varsami served as the Principal of the Hellenic Education and Language Program, Head of Curriculum and Director of the educating staff from 2010 to 2015.

She is one of the Founders of Academy of Hellenic Paideia Inc., a non-profit organization, that encourages learning inspired by the classic Hellenic tradition.

 
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Antoneta Varsami

Language Curriculum Coordinator, Language Teacher

Mrs. Varsami was born in Argyrokastro of North Epirus and studied at its Pedagogical Academy. She majored in Mathematics and Physics. Mrs. Varsami taught for the first 28 years of her career in several public schools teaching the following grades: 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. She has attended numerous Language Seminars in Crete and Athens, and specializes in teaching Greek as a second language.

Since September of 2002, Mrs. Aneta lives in New York where she teaches Greek Language, Mythology, History, Geography, Mathematics, Dance, and Greek Customs and Traditions in the Greek schools of several communities: Port Washington, Brookvile, Nysirian Society in Astoria and Hellenic Education and Language Program in Astoria.

One of the founding members of Academy of Hellenic Paideia Inc. and the Head of the Language Curriculum of this program.

 
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Vivian Triviza 

Substitute Language Teacher

“If you know, teach. If you receive, give. Pass it on.” Vivian Triviza shares this quote by Maya Angelou to her class in hopes of developing a cycle of students seeing themselves as both learners and teachers, and to develop a community where we all receive and give.

After graduating from the University of Ioannina (Greece), department of Medieval and Modern Greek Literature with studies in Ancient Greek and Latin literature, she has acquired experience in teaching Modern Greek as a foreign or second language.

Also, she has participated in the design of many teaching materials corresponding to students whose native language is not Greek. Working alongside other passionate educators, she is proud to be a part of “Academy” and is committed to working for the success of each and every student.

 
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Alexandra Skendrou

Chorus Director, Music Teacher

Ms. Skendrou, a native of Greece, is involved with several organizations that promote Hellenic culture in the U.S.

She is a graduate of the Atheneaum-Maria Callas Conservatory and Mannes College of Music as a scholarship recipient from the A. Onassis Foundation. She is also a graduate from the Theatrical Technical School for the Arts in Moscow, Russia.

Alexandra has performed opera, operetta, musical theater and recitals in Amato Opera, Kaye Playhouse, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Bruno Walter Auditorium, Miller Theatre, The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, La Guardia Theater, National Greek Opera House & more. In addition she is a member of the Greek Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity Choir. She is the music teacher of The Cathedral School, Hellenic Education Language Program - H.E.L.P. in Astoria and Holy Cross Day School in Whitestone. Ms. Skendrou has 14 years teaching experience in schools in the Tristate area.

 
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Antonia Papatzanaki

 Artist in Residence, Art Teacher

Antonia Papatzanaki, was invited to teach Art in The Academy of Hellenic Paideia as an artist in residence. She teaches classes for children teens and adults and curates the Academy’s Art exhibitions. In 2017, she curated a group exhibition entitled On paper, focusing solely on art that is created on paper by well-known Greek and Greek- American artists residing in New York, within the framework of Timarete Hellenic Art Festival.

 Papatzanaki was born in Chania on the island of Crete is a renowned international Creek artist. She was educated in the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Vienna Hochschule für Angenwandte Kunst, and she acquired her Master’s degree of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in New York. Papatzanaki is the recipient of many prestigious awards including F.V.S. zu Hamburg Foundation, Hellenic State Scholarship Foundation, Gerondelis Foundation, Lynn, MA, Foundation for Hellenic Culture, Hellenic Ministry of Culture, and Katonah Museum of Art, NY; in addition to winning Panhellenic and international competitions held to choose and fund artists for the creation of public art. Her public light installation Agora was exhibited at Battery Park during 2000-2001 as part of the Temporary Public Art Program of New York City. Several of Papatzanaki’s outdoor public works are permanently installed throughout Greece, including her sculpture Lighthouse in the square of the Kato Patisia Metro Station, Athens. Papatzanaki has exhibited widely—notable among her many solo exhibitions are Stratifications, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, 2016; Refractions, Ekfrasi - Υianna Grammatopoulou, Athens, 2013; Robust Matter and Image, Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Rethymnon, 2010; Antonia Papatzanaki, Recent Works, Tsatsis Projects / Artforum, Thessaloniki, 2008; and Visions of Light, Chashama, 112 Gallery, New York, 2007. She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions in Europe, Asia, and the United States, including The Muses Project, A Dialogue between Art and Science, The House of Cyprus –Embassy of Cyprus, Athens, 2017; The Right to be Human, Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art –State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, 2017; Whispers, Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Rethymnon, 2016; History-Irony, Vorres Museum, Paiania, Athens, 2015; Harmony, 22nd Seoul International Art Festival, Chosunilbo Museum, South Korea, 2014; New: Illusion or Reality, 4th Biennial, Tashkent, 2007; and Artistic Fragments, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York, 2005. Further work has been acquired by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Copelouzos family collection, the Vorres Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, and the American College of Greece. Articles, reviews, and critical analyses of Papatzanaki’s work appear in solo- and group-show catalogues in addition to books on art, art periodicals, newspapers and magazines in Greece and New York. She currently maintains studios in Athens, Greece and New York City.

 
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Ioanna Katsarou 

Theater Teacher & Director

Ioanna Katsarou is an actor, director, writer and theater educator. She has studied theater at the National Theater of N. Greece, computer studies at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki and music studies at the Municipal Conservatoire of Thessaloniki.

She is a founding member of the Eclipses Group Theater NY (www.egtny.com) and a founding member of Aktis Aeliou Art Theater, honored as “The Best Regional Theater in Greece” by the Greek Critics Association for the year 2006 and nominated for the same award in 2003.

She participated at the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab 2017.

 She has worked as an actor with the National Theater of N. Greece (Athens Festival, Herodion Atticon), La MaMa E.T.C., Classic Stage Company/Ashes Company, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Greek Cultural Center NY, New Theater Thessalonikis, Aktis Aeliou Theater, Eclipses Group Theater NY and others.

Some of her leading roles were: Clytemnestra at the Classic Stage Company (off-Broadway), Cassandra at the Ellen Stewart stage of La MaMa (off- Broadway), Queen Atossa at La MaMa, G.C.C of NY and St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival, Phaedra at the Delphi International Festival for Ancient Greek Drama, Catherine in Suddenly Last Summer, Medea in Medea’s Trilogy by Heiner Muller (Aktis Aeliou theater),  Board Member in Privatopia at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center and Cairo International Festival.

At the Greek Cultural Center in NY she has directed the plays: Mother, Mommy,Mom by Giorgos Dialegmenos,  Babies Are Brought by the Stork and In Laws from Tirana by M.Reppas-T. Papathanasiou. With Eclipses Group Theater NY she has directed the plays Marriage Proposal by Anton Chekhov (Hellenic Cultural Center) Raus! Get outta Here! (Stathakeio center and National Hellenic Museum in Chicago), The Princess Goes to War by Ioanna Katsarou (Hellenic Cultural Center), I Can’t pay? I Won’t Pay! by Dario Fo (co-director, Hellenic Cultural Center),. She has directed at the Aktis Aeliou theater the play Autobiography- In the opposite direction by Thomas Bernhard. She teaches theater at the Academy of Hellenic Paideia.

 
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Angela Kourtzoglou

Dance Teacher

Angela Kourtzoglou is a New York State Licensed English Teacher with 10 years experience in teaching. She also teaches Greek and Greek dance since 1998. Mrs. Kourtzoglou began teaching dance at the Cretan Society "OMONOIA" and shorthly after became the coordinator and teacher for the J.H.S. and Greek afternoon school dance groups of St. Nicholas's William Spyropoulos School in Flushing. Angela is still employed at the afternoon school and is excited to teach at the Academy of Hellenic Paideia.  Dancing is a passion for Angela and she loves to bestow the gift and love of dancing to her students. 

 
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Christina Kagiou

Substitute Teacher Assistant

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each” guides Christina’s method when assisting in the classroom. Working with children has always been a passion for Christina Kagiou.  She enjoys helping to create a caring and loving environment in which children can learn and flourish, and believes that every child has unique qualities to be discovered.  
 
During her three years with the Hellenic Education and Language Program she obtained rewarding experience in working with children. Christina is currently studying at Hunter College, C.U.N.Y. and aspires to become an educator.

 
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Konstantinos Doikos

Pankration / Chess Coach, Playwright Author

Konstantinos Doikos was born in Greece, in the city of Athens. He studied electrical engineering at the Technological Institute of Halkida. From an early age he was involved in different sports, with a special interest in martial arts, boxing, karate, kung fu, and in recent years, the Pankration Sport.

He won a gold medal as an athlete of Pangration Sport and then continued as a coach, holding the license of the Coach of Pangration Sport from the Greek Secretariat of Sports.

He attended several playwriting workshops and wrote numerous plays. Two of his recent works, the "Hymn of Hermione" and "Medusa and Perseus" went on stage from the children's Theatrical Workshop "Logos & Praxi".

 
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 Roula Zogopoulos

Dance Teacher & Choreographer

Roula Zogopoulos has been of service to the Greek Community since her teen years. Her NY Hellenic upbringing developed a deep rooted passion in her which propels her to share her knowledge with our children and adults.  Roula’s Greek Folk Dance training began age five and continues to grow till this day. She is also versed in many other genres of dance including, ballet, tap, jazz, modern & African. She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Drama Theater & Dance/Sociology from Queens College where she was awarded the Farah Marcellus Award for outstanding choreography in 2000. She is also a classroom educator with a Master's of Teaching in Elementary Education from the City University of NY. She has taught in NYC public schools as well as private Greek schools and currently serves as the artistic director of a prominent Church in Long Island since 1999.  She continues her professional Greek Dance development both in Greece as well as the US.

 
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Xanthippe Tsalimi

Artist, Art Workshop Teacher

Xanthippe Tsalimi is a Greek fine artist, art teacher and interior designer that has lived and worked throughout Athens most of her life.

Xanthippe studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts, under the instruction of J. Valavanidis, P. Charalambous and M. Manousakis. During this period she completed courses in stage design, digital art, typography and graphic design, with additional courses in educational studies in academics and art.

Art studies were preceded with a bachelor’s degree in interior design and architecture at the School of Graphic Arts, at the Technological Education Institute in Athens. In addition, these studies were supplemented by her attendance at Helsinki University of Art and Design in Finland, with the aid of a grant where she participated on a multi-national art project.

After Xanthippe completed her studies, she was awarded a scholarship from the Royal Academy of History and Art of San Quirce and Madrid’s Academy of Fine Arts (2007 & 2008). The award granted her residency in various landscape workshops and exhibitions in Segovia, Spain. 

 
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Katerina Alexaki

Early Childhood Teacher, "Mommy and Me" Director

Katerina Alexaki is a theatre director and performer. She is also the co founder of Artika Theater Company, a non profit cultural and educational organisation and theatre space, based in Athens, Greece and a member of Eclipses Group Theatre New York.

Her diverse credits as a theatre director includes contemporary plays, musicals, performance and theatre for very small children. Her productions has been staged in New York at the Wild Project and Hellenic Cultural Centre and in Athens at the National Theatre of Greece, Musical Stage Athena, Booze, Artika, Kinky Kong, Studio Mavromihali and in Between the Seas Festival (New York), Isfahan International Theatre Festival (Iran) and International Theatre Festival for Children (Romania).

As an actress she played in productions of ancient drama as well as modern authors and collaborated with numerous Greek and New York based directors.  She performed in Epidaurus Theatre, Herodion Theatre, National Theatre of Greece, Hearst Greek Theatre in California and La MaMa ETC, in New York, among others.

As a vocalist she appeared in various music scenes in Athens as well as in New York and she was a member of the new age group Iris. With Iris she recorded three cds.

Artika Theatre Company has been granted from the European Community, the Greek Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Employment and Social Protection in Greece, for the theatrical production “A brave new world” and the groundbreaking performance “0-3 in jail” which Katerina Alexaki directed, about women who lives with their babies in prison.

She works as a teacher in the Academy of Hellenic Paideia in Astoria, NY and she also created and runs the program Τα παιδία παίζει Mommy and me classes in Greek language, for ages 0-3.

 
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Thodoris Petropoulos

Theater Teacher

Thodoris Petropoulos was born in Athens and from the age of seven, watching the old black and white Greek cinema, he decided to become an actor. He grew up in Crete island.

After graduating high school, he made his dream come true. He studied the art of drama at the Theatro Technis “Karolos Koun” in Athens. After his graduation, he started his career working with Panos Kokkinopoulos’ TV series “Eroica”.

From then until now, he participated in many theatrical plays at the National Theater of Greece, such as: the Theatro Porta, the Megaron Music Hall of Athens, the Theater of Neos Kosmos, TV series for Mega Channel, Antenna TV, Alpha TV, and movies such as “Oi Gennaioi tis Samothrakis” and the “Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider”.

Thodoris is proud to participate as an assistant choreographer and creative member of the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Athens, 2004. He believes that from the rehearsals to the ceremony, the experience was unforgettable.

After the Olympic Games, he had the chance to work with Thomas Moschopoulos, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, as well as Karmen Rouggeri, where he  gained great experience in teaching children's theater. He thinks that “children are the most objective audience” and that “you cannot hide anything from the children in theater”.

 

Irene Karas-Evangelou

Speech and Language Pathologist & Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities

 

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Irene has earned a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology from Hunter College, a Bachelor's degree in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Lehman College at the City University of New York. She enjoys collaborating with parents and teachers in order to ensure that all children, regardless of their strengths/weaknesses, are not only successful in the classroom but are also confident in their self-perception as students and learners. She is a firm believer that motivation is one of the greatest factors in learning. As a result, she enjoys adjusting her instruction so that her students are always engaged and are actively participating in their own learning process. Her greatest satisfaction comes when she meets a student's eyes who just overcame an obstacle or who just mastered a challenging concept. 

Her areas of interest include receptive and expressive language delays (especially among bilingual/multilingual populations), language learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, social and pragmatic disorders, articulation and phonological disorders, and fluency disorders (e.g., stuttering).