Trustees, Patrons and Consultants

Maria Gavrilova
Russian, brought up in Estonia, in UK since 1990. Background in Russian Philology (Tartu University of Estonia) and Applied Linguistics MA (Birkbeck, London). From 2000, founder of AZBUKA, London’s first Ofsted registered Russian Nursery, Saturday School and Russian Cultural Centre for children. After a 2-year debate with Department for Education (DfES) AZBUKA Nursery became the first “language immersion” pre-schools to be working within the English legislation for pre-school education. Parent of 2 bilingually educated children. Enthusiast and supporter of bilingual education for all children. Founding member and chairman of AZBUKA Foundation.

Svetlana Malinina (Rifaat)
Russian born, raised and educated in Moscow. Background: principle dancer of the famous Moiseev Dance Company and Riverdance. Dancer and choreographer for various UK based productions and theatre companies. Since 2002 teacher and then Deputy Head at AZBUKA Russian School in London, working on school development and writing and directing nine AZBUKA school theatre productions. Svetlana supports the ethos behind bilingual education and is a firm believer in promoting Russian culture and heritage. She lives in London and is a parent of two bilingually raised children.

Charmian Kenner
Dr Charmian Kenner is Reader in Educational Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on children’s bilingual development in home and community contexts, and how bilingual learning can be encouraged in schools. She has directed research projects on early biliteracy, intergenerational learning between young children and grandparents, and bilingual learning through partnerships between primary teachers and community language teachers. Her books include Home Pages: Literacy Links for Bilingual Children (Trentham, 2000), Becoming Biliterate: Young Children Learning Different Writing Systems (Trentham, 2004) and others. Parent of a bilingual and biliterate son. Great supporter of bilingualism in mainstream schools.

Andrew Jack
Andrew Jack is a journalist with the Financial Times, and was based in Moscow in 1998-2004. He is co-chairman of Pushkin House (, a London based cultural charity (Russian Cultural Centre), and has previously served as a trustee of two other charities: one promoting philanthropy in emerging markets, and the other providing social services to low income families in London. He is the parent of trilingually educated child and a loyal parent of AZBUKA School.

Peter Reznikov
Born in Russia. Background in Russian studies, linguistics, simultaneous interpreting. Head of Russian at Eton College for the past 15 years. He has done a lot for promoting Russian language At Eton.
Parent of bilingually educated children. Director of Educational consultancy PRINCE.

Taissia Chinina-Kelly
Background in Linguistics and Japanese studies + MBA (Nottingham University). Born in Novosibirsk Akademgorodok, Russia. Now lives and works in London with her husband and 2 bilingually educated sons. Event organiser, friend of Pushkin house, supporter of Russian culture and heritage. Both through her work and voluntary activities Taissia has gained an extensive experience of producing large scale conferences and other events, including cultural and educational projects related to Russia.

Andrey Usachev
Russian chidlren’s writer, poet, script writer. Andrey Usachev was born in 1958 in Moscow. Since 1985 he has published more than 150 books for children. He is one of the most famous and best loved contemporary Russian writers for children. Andrei Usachev is a member of the Writers’ Union of Russia. His works have been translated into many languages. He visited AZBUKA School in 2011 and became a patron of AZBUKA Foundation.

Jason Manning
English, geologist, parent of 2 Russian-English speaking daughters and a long term supporter of Russian-English bilingual education in London and AZBUKA. Since the birth of his daughters he has been converted into “bilingual education” philosophy and practice. He has also learnt Russian and uses it in his work, home and abroad. Founding member of AZBUKA Foundation.

Marc Wolstencroft
Marc Wolstencroft is retired Headteacher (and consultant) of Wix Primary school which has established a French-English “Two-way immersion” bilingual stream, where the curriculum is taught for half the week in English and the other half in French. This work has been supported by the Lycée Charles de Gaulle, French cultural embassy and Wandsworth Council. Wix Primary, which was in difficulty when Marc joined in 2004, now achieves high academic results, a national and international profile and a long waiting list.Marc’s career started in the oil industry, followed by a PGCE (IoE) and teaching science in secondary schools. He later moved on to training, advising and inspecting in a LEA. He has worked for most of his career in multicultural London primary and secondary schools and is therefore no stranger to the challenges of inner city schools.The bilingual model Marc has pioneered works for any combination of languages, as demonstrated by his work with groups who are planning to or have established bilingual schools in English- French, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese and German. He was recently made a “Chevalier dans l’ordre des Palmes Académiques”, a formal recognition by the French authorities of the work that has gone into creating a bilingual school and supporting bilingualism.

Maya Gavrikova
Maya studied economics and accountancy with Financial Academy under Russian Government in Moscow. She has been living in London for the past 14 years. Maya worked for Big4 accountancy practices both in Moscow and London. Qualified as a certified chartered accountant in 2003. Since qualification has been working as an accountant/ auditor with an accountancy practice in London Gorman & Darby Co.
Long term AZBUKA Nursery and School parent and a big supporter of bilingual education for children.