Bulgarian School Otets Paissii


Vanya Zankina
Bulgarian Language and Social Studies


Vanya Zankina has been teaching Bulgarian language to adults as well as to children at the Bulgarian School Otets Paissii since 2011. She developed several curricula in Bulgarian language and adapted those to the various ages and skill levels of children of Bulgarian origin born in the United States.

Vanya has masters degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Bulgaria and in Industrial Management from the Technical University Braunschweig, Germany. She has a post-graduate degree in Information Management at the State Department of Science & Technology in Moscow. She studied in the German High School in Bulgaria. Her language skills enabled her to teach foreign languages to children and adults back in Bulgaria. In the U.S. she developed the online curricula in German language for all levels for the Pennsylvania Cyber School. Her curricula are used by online schools in six other American states.


Milena Yalamova-Dwyer
Bulgarian Language


Milena Yalamova-Dwyer teaches Bulgarian language at the  Bulgarian School Otets Paissii. A native of Sofia, Bulgaria, she studied applied linguistic at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. While still in Bulgaria, she taught middle-school English at the 142 School Veselin Hanchev, as well as adult English classes in the Institute for Foreign Students in Sofia.

Since immigrating to the U.S., Milena has been involved with children in various capacities: as a Homeroom Parent, an after-school activity aide, and a board member of the Parent-Teacher Organization of St. Rosalia Academy. Milena is also a registered volunteer for the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania.

Annie Lazarova
Bulgarian Dance


Annie Lazarova teaches folk dance at the Bulgarian School. She began her dance training and career at Pat’s Dance Studio (now the Steel City Academy of Dance) in Duquesne, PA, enjoying the classical genres of ballet, pointe, tap, and jazz. Folk music, song, and dance were soon added to her repertoire as a performer with the Duquesne University Tamburitzans and Junior Tamburitzans, the North Hills Junior Tamburitzans, Pittsburgh Junior Slovakians, and the Pittsburgh Slovakians. While performing with the Duquesne University Tamburitzans Annie studied under many top choreographers from various countries of Eastern Europe, including Dimitar (Mitko) Manov. 


She has restaged choreography for the Duquesne University Tamburitzans, has taught Bulgarian dances to several children’s folk ensembles around Pittsburgh, and has assisted Bilyana Stoyanova-Stafura and Aleksander Zankin with adult and children’s folk dance classes and concerts at the BMNECC.


Annie and her husband Yavor Lazarov, both dancers with the Otets Paissii Performing Folk Ensemble, have three children. She is a certified school nurse with Upper St Clair School District.


For more detailed information about instructors and the school’s administrative team, please email us at bgschool@bmnecc.org.