top of page

Bulgarian School Otets Paissii - Current Instructors

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.

Aleksandar Zankin

Mr. Alexander Zankin is a renowned Bulgarian folk and character dance choreographer with 50 years of teaching dance experience. He holds a master's degree in Choreography from theAcademy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Mr. Zankin has been teaching Bulgarian folk dances at the BMNECC Bulgarian school for 10 years. His additional experience as a dance teacher and choreographer with dance schools across the Pittsburgh area includes Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, Ballet Academy of Pittsburgh, Wexford Dance Company, Laurel Ballet Greensburg, Allegro Ballet, and Irwin Ballet. Currently he is teaching at West Point Ballet and Pennsylvania Ballet Conservatory. Prior to this, he worked for the State Military Ensemble, Sofia as a principal dancer and assistant choreographer. He also taught Bulgarian folk dances at public schools and culture community centers in Sofia. Mr. Zankin was artistic director of numerous dance companies for Bulgarian folklore with which he won various awards and four golden medals from National Folk festivals. He also founded his own dance company “Zankin Show” and performed with it in Bulgaria, Switzerland, andCyprus.Mr. Zankin was the Artistic Director of the only one Macedonian folklore ensemble in Sofia -“Goce Delchev”, numbering 85 members - dancers, singers, and musicians. The activity of the ensemble included 70-80 performances per year in Bulgaria and abroad and was awarded with several international and national awards.Mr. Zankin also was the Artistic Director of the “Authentic Folklore Ensemble “Bistriza” and won the “European award for authentic folklore” with it. He has conducted a lot of seminars and workshops on Bulgarian authentic dances around the globe – Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Canada, and USA. For his work Mr. Zankin has been awarded with several state awards: “Dancer ExtraordinaryCategory”, “Choreographer 1 st Category”, “Golden Pin” for remarkable achievements inChoreography, and the highest Bulgarian state honor in the field of music and dance culture“Golden Lyre“ for outstanding achievements in choreography.

For more detailed information about instructors and the school’s administrative team, please email us at

bottom of page