Our Teachers

All our teachers are expatriates and they have earned their Graduate and Undergraduate College Degrees from Greece, Cyprus, Europe and USA. They are currently teaching in Greek Schools in the US and are familiar with the challenges that parents and students are facing in their pursuit of learning Greek. They are tech savvy and experts on Online teaching.

Maria Polson

Maria was born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus. She moved to the US in 1994 to pursue a degree in the natural sciences and holds a B.S. in Biology from the University of Texas at Austin and a M.S. in Biology from California State University, Fullerton. In 2011 she started teaching Greek at St. Katherine Greek Language School in Redondo Beach, CA and in 2014 she took over the school as its Director. Aside from being the Director at her Greek school, she also teaches 3 classes, Greek with Music for Mommy and Me for children ages newborn to 3 years old, 2nd and 5th Grade. Currently, she is also a M.A. candidate in Teaching Greek as a Foreign/Second Language at the University of Nicosia.

Evangelia Dimitropoulou

I am a Greek language educator graduated from University of Athens – Greek Philology.
I have been teaching Modern Greek, Literature and Ancient Greek for 20 years in Greece and since 2011, Greek as Second/ Foreign and heritage language in USA. Passionate with my job, I have earned two master’s degrees in education (Greek language as Foreign and Adult Education) and I believe in student centered, experiential, hands-on education. I love practicing new ideas, methodologies and motivational activities in the class helping my students to explore and discover through authentic sources, the beauty of the Greek language and very important cultural products and practices from (old and modern) life of Greece. My approach has been influenced by Seneca’s quote “Non scholae sed vitae discimus” (we do not learn for school, but for life”). I like through my lessons to build bridges between knowledge and real life.

Joanna Thanasi

I  am a Greek language & culture teacher with 13+ years of teaching experience. Graduated from National And Kapodistrian University of Athens with BA on Philosophy, Pedagody & Psychology. MA in Education:Adult Education, UOA. 2nd MA in Education:Instructional Technologies, San Francisco State University, CA.

I am a warm and caring teacher, who wants all children to be succesful learners and i work to create an atmosphere that is stimulating, encouraging and adaptive to the varied needs of my students. Skilled on creating interactive and engaging online lessons

Eleni Mathianaki

My name is Eleni and I am the teacher for the early  Pre-K  and kindergarten classes. I was born in Athens, Greece and got my Bachelors degree in early childhood education.

After working with children for six years in private and public schools in Greece, I moved to the United States and completed my Masters in teaching bilingual students. I am an active member of ACTFL (American Council on the teaching of foreign language) and GWATFL (Greater Washington Association of Teachers of Foreign Language).

My goal for the children is to embrace the Greek Heritage by introducing them to the Greek language and culture promoting their physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual development using a Greek curriculum through various projects, music, fun and play.

Ismini Michail

I am Ismini and I was born and raised in Athens, Greece. I moved to the States in 2009. I have two trilingual boys at home, and teaching them my heritage language has been the most fulfilling thing. My involvement with the Greek community of Saint Katherine’s grew even more my desire to share the cultural identity and the pride of the Greek heritage. I have been teaching Greek as a second/foreign language since 2010 at the Hellenic Education Center, Falls Church, VA.  I hold a bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management from the Patra University in Greece. I have successfully completed the “Routes in Teaching Modern Greek” (Διαδρομές στη διδασκαλία της ελληνικής ως ξένης γλώσσας), a one-year program, co-financed by the European Union and implemented by the Center for the Greek Language. I have also taken various seminars and training courses in the FL/HL field, in order to further advance my professional development. In an effort to introduce teachers to ACTFL and updated methods to teach Modern Greek as a HL (Heritage Language), I have along with my colleagues from the Hellenic Education Center, presented at NECTFL in NYC in February 2016 and 2017. As an educator, my motivation for teaching Modern Greek is driven by my desire to contribute to the continuation of the Greek heritage language in the USA. Teaching Modern Greek through interactive exercises, using authentic material, connecting present with past, are part of this unique experience to learn another language! I enjoy traveling with my family to new places and learn more about the various cultures.

Yianni Fragkiadakis

My name is Yianni and I currently reside in Rome, Italy. I am a Language instructor of Modern Greek as a second/foreign language. For the past 19 years, I have been working with young adults and adults in assessing their needs and designing training programs to achieve various organizational objectives set by the respective organizations. My experience varies and reaches across many sectors. In the USA, I have taught at 5 Greek schools, provided instruction to diplomats/attaches of the Defense Department and the Language Institute of USA. In Greece, I have taught adult and minor immigrants and refugees, European Erasmus students as well as Greek students with American and Australian origin.

I have extensive knowledge on online teaching. I am responsive and adaptive to different learning styles within intercultural contexts. I have co-authored teaching and training material, acted as an educational coordinator, implemented teacher training sessions and acted as an evaluator on exams. My exposure to all of these opportunities has given me the knowledge to produce academic programming as it relates to Greek Diaspora Studies and Linguistic Minorities in Greece. These opportunities have enriched and expanded my teaching experience. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and methods of teaching with each and every one of you.

Alexandra Karafotias

I am Alexandra (Sandra) Karafotias. I was born in Toronto, Canada and lived in Greece for several years. I earned my Paralegal Studies Degree and worked in Family Law for 15 years in Toronto.  After marrying my husband, I moved to Portland, Oregon. Later, I pursued a life-long passion in interior design, and graduated from the Heritage School of Interior Design, Portland, Oregon.  I have taught Modern Greek in Portland, Oregon for the past 5 years at Greek School PDX.  I was the Creative Director and Pre-K Teacher.

I was also actively involved in our Parish’s Sunday School where I redesigned classrooms and created visual learning tools. In my work with children, I strive to foster an appetite for lifelong learning and connecting with our Greek language and heritage.

I am fascinated with the idea of creating and teaching purposeful art projects that celebrate Greek culture and traditions.

Elias Petrou

Dr. Elias Petrou works as a Research Associate Specialist at “Thesaurus Linguae Graecae” at the University of California – Irvine. He completed his Ph.D. in Byzantine History at the University of Ioannina, Greece, and received his M.A. from Royal Holloway-University of London. Before his arrival to the States, Elias pursued research on Greek manuscripts in the Vatican Library, the National Library of Venice, and the Austrian National Library. At the same time, he worked as an Associate Researcher at the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies – University of Vienna.

Gabriella Papatzimas

I am Gabriella Papatzimas and I’m very excited to be part of the teaching staff at Greek School Online as the Greek Language and Dance Instructor. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, I have received my B.S. in Political Science from Arizona State University. 

I have spent my whole life connected with the Greek Community at Holy Trinity – Phoenix, Arizona. Greek is my first language and I have been teaching the Greek language to PreK/Kinders for the past 9 years. In addition to Greek School, Holy Trinity is where I learned to love Greek Dance. I have been involved with the Holy Trinity Dance Program for 25 years in many capacities. I dance and teach our non-competitive, festival and recreational groups as well as our competitive groups that go to the Metropolis of San Francisco Folk Dance Festival (FDF). In addition, I was the lead dance instructor for Greek Village 2020.

Greek Dancing allows me to maintain and preserve my culture and Greek traditions. I strongly believe that the Greek language and culture is something that should be carried and passed on by all Greeks, whether they are living in or outside of Greece. I am ready to start the journey with you as we uncover and explore our Greek Heritage. 

Stella Karastergiou

My name is Stella and I was born and raised in Kavala, Greece. I am a former Greek Navy officer, and I lived in Thessaloniki, Athens and Crete until 2018, when my family moved to US. I received my bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki and my master’s degree from the University of Nicosia, Cyprus.

I am a certified teacher of Modern Greek by the Centre for the Greek language since 2019, and an active member of ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages) and NNELL (National Network for Early Language Learning). I also participate in the ACTFL 2020-2021 Mentoring Program and attend various webinars for distance learning.

This will be my third year teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten classes and especially now my biggest goal is to create and sustain a happy distance learning experience for our young minds!

I am looking forward to all the learning, fun and growth we will have this year exploring the Greek language!

Liza Koukkou

I was born in Russia by Greek parents and moved to Greece with my family at the age of 7. I graduated from the University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, with a major in Economics. During my studies I worked as a private tutor for elementary and middle school children. I got married and moved to San Francisco in 2009. Here I graduated from the Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program of San Francisco State University in 2013. I have been working as a substitute teacher across all grades of elementary school for the Moraga School District in the East Bay where I reside with my family for the past 5 years. I have been working at the Greek School of the Annunciation Cathedral since 2012 teaching the 2nd Level, organizing and presenting cultural and religious celebrations and assisting structure the curriculum. My two children, 10 and 6 years old, are both students at the school! I am a native speaker of Greek and Russian!

Yulie Archontaki

Yulie Archontaki is an award winning performer, flamenco dancer, musician and architect. Born and raised in Greece, Yulie currently lives in Los Angeles. Her Academic credits include: a BA Honors, a Postgraduate Diploma in Architecture from London Metropolitan University in UK, an IDB1 Flamenco and Spanish Dance degree from the Spanish Dance Society, and an MFA in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre in the USA (scholarship recipient).

In the past 4 years in L.A., Yulie has participated in over 25 stage and film productions as an actor, choreographer, and director. Some of her professional collaborations include the Tony Award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe, Unbound Productions for ‘Wicked Lit 2016′, winner of 2 ovation awards, the Rogue Artists Ensemble for ‘Kaidan Project’, winner of 5 ovation awards and 2 ovation honors and Fiasco! Physical Theatre. Her latest work with Fiasco!, ‘Death and the Fool’ won the Encore Producers Award at the Hollywood Fringe 2019. Yulie was an Associate Member of the Actor’s Gang, trained by Cynthia Ettinger and Tim Robbins.

As a Flamenco dancer, she has participated in the musical ‘Mary Jane’ (Best Musical at the Oregon Independent Film Festival 2016) and has been awarded ‘1st place in Ethnic Ensemble Professional Division’ at the International Dance Competition Hellas with Danza Flamenca Groupo.

Yulie is the founder and artistic director of St. Sophia’s theatre department, the first educational department for the Greek community in L.A., designed to give the necessary tools to Greek American children to learn the Greek language via theatre. As an educator, she is collaborating with Theatre of Hearts – Youth First, Pacific Resident Theatre Youth Conservatory, Mayfield Senior School Conservatory, Chandler School of Music and Idyllwild Arts Academy.

When not on stage, Yulie can be found writing and illustrating children’s stories, the latest of which is ‘A Paper Friend’ – some of the illustrations can be found here: https://www.yiouliarchontaki.com/post/a-paper-friend

Sophia Alpos

I am Sophia and I was born in Kefalonia Greece and grew up in Athens. I  am involved with the Greek community since I moved to the United  States in 1995.  

I have been a teacher of Modern Greek as a second/foreign language for  twenty years at Greek Schools in the Washington DC and Northern  Virginia Area. I have taught many different levels, from Preparatory to  Novice High. 

I have successfully completed the Routes in Teaching Modern Greek, a  one-year program by the Center for the Greek Language. I am a  certified to teach Greek Language as a second or Foreign Language  abroad. I have attended various seminars for heritage language,  education, intercultural education and distance learning.  

I have along with Papaloizos Publication, presented at NECTFL in NYC in April 2021. 

I love to keep myself updated with new teaching methodologies. I am  member of NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young  Children) and ACTFL (American Council on The Teaching of Foreign  Languages). I live in Arlington, VA with my husband Elias and we have  three children Christos, Alex and Thalia.

Ioanna Vlachou

My name is Ioanna Vlachou. I was born and raised in Athens, Greece and have also lived in Berlin, Germany and the Bay Area in California, USA. I hold a degree in Cultural Anthropology and History from the University of the Aegean and also in Preschool Education from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Since I moved out of Greece,6 years ago, I started teaching Greek to kids. That was when I discovered how much I love working with them, trying to make them eager to learn and of course how they teach me to be a better person. 
I consider myself to be a caring and open minded teacher, sensitive on matters such as diversity and different but equal treatment. Creating a safe and loving environment is always my number one priority.

Thalia Stirou

My name is Thalia and I was born and raised in Thessaloniki, Greece.  I hold a BA in Hellenic Literature  from Democritus University of Thrace (Τμήμα Ελληνικής Φιλολογίας, Δημοκρίτειο Πανεπιστήμιο Θράκης)

I work with kids of all ages  and I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach Greek as a second language to children with Turkish as their native language. 

I have a strong background in educational psychology, behavioral problems and crisis management in the school environment. I am trained in learning difficulties, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

I have been dancing traditional Greek Dances for the past 10 years. Some of my personal hobbies are Handball, Reading, Movies, Theatre and Photography

I am all about multicultural societies and education as I  love  learning about new cultures and at the same time helping others get to know ours.

We are going to learn so many great things and I am looking forward to every minute of it!


Georgia Kakargia

I am Georgia and I am a Greek language educator. I was born and raised in Trikala, a small town in Thessalian, Greece. My family from an early age brought me up with respect for the Greek heritage and especially the Greek traditional dances. 

  I graduated from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and my MA is in Literature and Linguistics. As a person and as a teacher, I am in favor of lifelong learning and I believe and I hope to share that knowledge and interact  successfully with my students. Having this above as a principle,  I am trained in Psychology and Special education and Greek Sign Language wishing to support deaf students. 

As an undergraduate student at Aristotle University, I taught the Greek language voluntarily at the Social Institution of Thessaloniki.

 I also had the opportunity to teach the Greek as a foreign language at the Greek Council of Refugees to children who now live in Greece.

My love and dedication for teaching lead me to constantly learning in order to be able to help each student individually based on their own unique needs.

My ambition as an educator is for my students to learn Greek and embrace our culture and heritage. I want them to come in contact through the words with Greek history, tradition and its timeless values.