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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Ioanna Katsarou

Theater Teacher & Director, Language Teacher

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.


Konstantinos Doikos

Pankration / Chess Coach, Playwright Author, Timarete Festival Art Director

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. The following plays went on stage from the children's Theatrical Workshop "Logos & Praksi": the "Hymn of Hermione", "Medusa & Perseus", "With a Smile", "The Heirs" and "The Itchiness of Black and White". He is the screenwriter of two short films produced by Academy of Hellenic Paideia and directed by Alex Agisilaou: "Sofian Ziti" and "Lost Happiness".

Besides all the above, he teaches chess at PS.122 and PS.17. He also pursues his Master in Biomedical Engineering at NYIT.

Timarete Festival was his idea and he proudly holds the title of the artistic director of the festival.


Katerina Alexaki

Wellness, Rhetorics and Greek Culture Teacher

Katerina Alexaki is a theater 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 theater director include contemporary plays, musicals, performance and theatre for very small children. Her productions have 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, where she created the program Τα παιδία παίζει Mommy and me classes in Greek language, for ages 0-3 and the Wellness and Rhetorics program for 5th and 6th grade.

She is the choir master of the Polyphonic Group of AoHP which performs Epirotan Polyphonic music and has performed in various places in New York City.

She studied theater and music at Athenaeum Conservatory, Greek National Conservatory, Arhi Drama School, National Theater of Greece and CUNY Queens College Drama and Theater Department where she graduated summa cum laude. She is currently a graduate student in Applied Theater at S.P.S, CUNY, a program where the tools of theater are used in education, community development, and the pursuit of social justice.

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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”.

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Irene Karas-Evangelou

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

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).


Maria Panikidis


Dance Teacher

Maria Panikidis is currently attending John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is going to get her bachelors of science degree in criminal justice. She aspires to pursue a career in law. She graduated from Saint Demetrios High-school, as salutatorian of her class. During her high school years she was a part of the Saint Demetrios dance group, where she learned a variety of traditional Greek dances. Maria has been dancing with the Pontian society of New York “Komninoi” since she was seven years old, and is part of the professional dance group, which performs at different Greek events in New York. She is also one of the  dance teachers to the smallest dance group of Komninoi, which teaches children ages 4-10 how to dance Pontian dances.

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Elizabeth Tsouristakis

Teacher Assistant

Elizabeth Tsouristakis graduated from Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in June 2018 studying music, specializing in clarinet. She is currently studying Speech Pathology at Queens College in which she will graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Sciences Disorders and will continue to gain a Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology. Elizabeth hopes to prosper as a Speech Pathologist with children in the future with a special interest in the fields of autism spectrum disorder, fluency disorders and articulation and phonological disorders.

Elizabeth has a tremendous amount of love for working with children and enjoys watching them grow as individuals throughout her time with them. She especially loves when she sees a child break through a struggle they have had and the smile of accomplishment and joy that they then have afterwards. She believes that you are able to make a difference in a child’s life in any way, no matter how simple it may seem, it may be a tremendous impact on them. Her motivation to pursue comes from the children and their bundle of energy that they bring.

Along with a love for teaching and children, Elizabeth has a love of the arts. She studied the clarinet for 6 years, is a current member of the Archdiocesan Youth Choir since 2011 and has been a member of various Greek dance groups since she was 4 years old.

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Matina Demeli

Journalism Teacher

Matina Demeli

She first called herself a journalist when in elementary school published her own newspaper at school. She couldn’t choose something else as a profession; as a child whenever she couldn’t sleep, the sound of her father’s typewriter calmed her down as he wrote.

She studied journalism at Botsis Foundation and attended online courses at the University of Texas: Digital media and Social Media in Journalism. She worked at Mega Channel, Skai radio, Ethnos Newspaper, Eikones magazine and other Greek Media companies. She moved to New York six years ago and worked for the Greek American media organization in Astoria. Today, she writes for Ethnikos Kirikas newspaper.

Also, she is teaching the little students how to explore the news and find reliable sources at the Academy of Hellenic Paideia.


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Georgia Fiotodimitrakis

Dance Teacher

Georgia Fiotodimitrakis is a New York and California State Licensed Occupational Therapist with 5 years experience, with a previous career in Real Estate. She is also a Greek dance teacher since 2012. Georgia began teaching Greek dance at Minos Cretan Society Social Club, and shortly after at Cretans Association Omonia.

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Elina Papadopoulou

Preschool Teacher

Elina Papadopoulou is a Greek Preshcool Teacher. She has earned her Bachelor’s degree in Preschool Education from the Western Macedonia University of Greece. She was born, lived and operated in Athens, Greece and she had always been a natural with children. 
Elina was lucky, admiring the love and the endeavor of her first kindergarten teacher and decided from that very young age that she also wanted to make a positive difference in the education and the development of young children.
Along with her studies, Elina was working voluntarily in the Aristotle Educational Society of Florina, Greece, as the Head teacher of two Orff Schulwerk music and movement classrooms and as the Assistant to the theater’s class head teacher. After Elina completed her studies, she was working as a babysitter and educator of toddlers and young children, in the area of Athens.

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Irene Constantinou

Dance Teacher

Irene Constantinou is currently attending Hofstra University pursing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Health Science with minors in Nutrition and Psychology. 
Irene has been a member of the Kefalonian dance group since the age of 5 and is currently a dance teacher at Kefalos Society of America, teaching young dancers to embrace their culture by developing a passion for dance and the arts.  
She is also a member of the Archdiocesan Youth Choir since 2005, performing in concert halls including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The White House, and performing in countries including Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey. Growing up, she has been very involved in the arts, taking classes in ballet, jazz, tap, and flamenco, and being part of many Greek dance and theater groups. Previous theater credits include: “Peter Pan and the Techno Night” of the Pied Piper Group and Company; “Christmas Carol” and “Climb on the Roof-Eat the Cloud” of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York; “For the Love of Marikous” of the theater group Cyprus; and Greek Cultural Center Productions: “The Tin Soldier,” “Apple Dumpling,” “Vangelis in Lazy Town,” “Christmas Eve,” and “Astronauts by Force.” She also helped in the initiation of the theater group “To Oneiro” and had the lead role of “Odysseus” in the theater play “Homer’s Odyssey,” and the lead role of “Skoupidomazoxtra” in the theater play “Skoupidomazoxtra,” both directed by Stephanos Stephanou at the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York. Since 2012, Irene volunteers at the non-profit Greek-American radio station “Aktina FM” hosted by Elena Maroulleti, as a way to stay close to her Greek and Cypriot heritage.

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Effrosyni Pavlidou

Certified Greek Language (Modern, Medieval, Ancient Greek and Latin) Teacher, Curriculum and Program Director (Preschool and Prek).

Effrosyni Pavlidou graduated from Aristotle University in Thessaloniki where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Greek Philology with studies in Modern, Medieval, Ancient Greek language and Latin Literature. Afterwards, she completed her studies by earning a Master’s degree in European Literature and Culture from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, as well.
As far as she remembers herself she wanted to be a teacher and her first students were her cousins when she was 10 years old and they were at the same age. Now, she has a 13- year of experience in teaching the Greek language to the age group of preschoolers till college and adult students. Her Dream job is still to be a teacher.
She follows M. Montessori’s teaching paradigm and she firmly believes that Teaching is Dedication, Inspiration, Communication and Contribution to the Humanity and Society. The following quote is central and significant source of her own teaching methods: “The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say: the children are now working as if I did not exist”. Therefore, the teacher’s job is to teach a student how to fish; and never getting the fish for the student.
She has worked as a Greek language teacher in a public school in Thessaloniki in Greece, teaching students with learning disorders and other disabilities where she designed and organized a theatrical performance for the students based on a Fairy Tale she wrote. She currently works in schools in Astoria and Brooklyn in New York.
She has provided tutorial lessons in Modern, Medieval and Ancient Greek Literature, Latin and History to many Adult, College, High school and Elementary students. In addition, she designed the curriculum and daily program of the Preschool and Pre-k (school years: 2017-2018 and 2018-2019) in Academy of Hellenic Paideia. She has also taught students based on the teaching material that is related to the Ellhnomatheia and Greek Regents exams at all Levels.

Effrosyni has attended and has been trained in many Greek Language, Greek Sign Language, Special Education, Theatrical and Literary translation, Comics in Education, First aid, Greek as a second/foreign language to adult students and students in school, Dyslexia and teaching English, Lifelong Learning, Creative Writing, Painting, Photography, Cinematography in schools, seminars and Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art Culture courses, in Greece. She has also obtained certifications in Greek Sign Language and Braille.
Besides her passion for teaching, reading and writing poetry, short stories and fairy tales occurred to her at a very young age. Two of her poems won Honorary Distinctions in two Poetry contests in Athens in Greece and she has also participated in a Collective Corpus of Literature from Vafopoulio Cultural Centre and in two published Poetry and Fiction Anthologies from Malliaris Paedia Publications, in Greece.
Moreover, she participated with her pictures in a Photography Exhibition as a member of the Photography Group of the Artspace ‘Experiment’, in Thessaloniki in Greece.
Last but not least, she is proud of teaching how rich, beautiful and strong is the Greek language which happens to hold the heavier and most remarkable historical background of all other Languages.

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Fanimaria Tragaras

Preschool Teacher Assistant

Fanimaria Tragaras is the assistant teacher to our youngest friends at the Academy of Hellenic Paideia. She has a Bachelors degree in psychology and is pursuing Masters in Early Childhood Education. 
As a teacher she wants to make a difference in her students life, as her own teachers have done for her.