Faculty and Staff

The faculty and staff members of Saint John's Academy are committed to striving toward three principle aims for its students:

1)  Agape, or "Divine Love" : To foster spiritual growth through love for Christ and his Church.

2)  Logos, or "Truth and reason" : To cultivate intellectual acumen and academic excellence. 

3)  Sophia, or "Wisdom": To become productive members of society, as well as active proponents of a higher quality of culture. 


Julia Paramonov, Interim principal

4-5 gradeS homeroom Teacher

Mrs. Paramonov joined St. John's Academy in 2013, where her daughter also attends. She has a background in linguistics, with a BA in Spanish and an MA in Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language. Prior to joining St. John’s Academy, Mrs. Paramonov taught English and Spanish in a variety of settings including U.S. undergraduate level courses and private business schools. She also taught at an elementary and secondary school in Turkmenistan while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her lifelong interests have been learning and teaching languages. She is an avid reader, and enjoys swimming and bicycle riding in the city with her family in her free time.





Mrs. Musleh joined St. John's Academy in 2013, where her son also attends. She has a background in Finance, with a BS in Finance and Banking and a minor in Accounting. Prior to joining St. John’s Academy, Mrs. Musleh worked in the banking industry for 15 years and in property management for 5 years. She is an avid reader, and enjoys whipping up exotic Middle Eastern cuisine and desserts during her down time.



Nina Philipoff, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

K-1 homeroom Teacher

Mrs. Philipoff began her career in education as a teacher’s assistant at Sts. Cyril and Methodius High School while studying child development at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. She joined Binet Montessori School where she became the After-School Staff Supervisor. After a decade in education, Mrs. Philipoff took a break to study Interior Design and worked in the design industry for fifteen years. She returned to education in 2002 when she joined St. John's Academy in her present role. When school is not in session, Mrs. Philipoff  can be found exploring the back roads of the West Coast with her husband.



Mikaela Holland, dean of students

2-3 Grades homeroom teacher, Music

Miss Holland joined St. John's Academy in 2012. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance with a secondary concentration in Psychology from Indiana University where she began studies on her sixteenth birthday. She spent her formative years competing and performing as a violinist across three continents before turning her attention to sharing what she has learned with the next generation through the field of education. In her spare time she enjoys exploring San Francisco on foot, spending time in the nature, studying history, traveling, and attending symphony and ballet performances.  



Mary Jaghab

K-3 Teacher Assistant

Miss Jaghab joined the St. John’s Academy community in 2016. A San Francisco native, she grew up as a camp counselor. Over the years, she has also volunteered and enjoyed internship opportunities at various child enrichment organizations throughout the city. She is currently completing her Infant/Toddler Learning, Culture, and Family degree at San Francisco City College. On her free time, you can find her biking along the San Francisco Bay, or hiking one of the city’s many hilltop mountains.


Mr. Jajeh

science, speech, computing

Mr Jajeh joined St John’s Academy in 2018. He loves to cook and bake, especially spicy foods and dessert. His favorite book is “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Mr Jajeh is earning a Master’s Degree in Education at the University of San Fransisco.



Fr. Sergey Kiryukhin

Chaplain, Religion

Fr. Sergey joined St. John’s Academy in 2012. He serves at Holy Virgin Cathedral. He holds a Master’s Degree in Education from the State University of Humanities and Technology (Russia) and a Master’s Degree in Theology from the Moscow Theological Seminary and Academy where he also later taught. Fr. Serge resided in New York for many years while teaching at the the Holy Trinity Orthodox Seminary in Jordanville. He enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and five children.

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Fr. Philip Halliwell


Fr. Philip started teaching at St. John’ Academy soon after arriving in San Francisco with his family as the Rector of Christ the Saviour Church (OCA) in 2013. He has an MA in Education and worked as a Special Education teacher for 16 years in Essex, UK. He completed his MDiv at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in 2013 with honors. The son of an Anglican priest, he traveled the world before earning his Performing Arts college degree, playing guitar, jazz piano, drums, and studying music composition. He enjoys singing in the Diakonia male voice choir, and takes an active part in the wider Orthodox community of the Bay Area.


Dimitrios Florakis

English, history

Mr. Florakis joined St. John’s Academy in 2016. Originally from New York, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University, NYC, where he also completed an Orthodox Christian Studies minor. He enjoys traveling and Greek dancing.



Mykhaylo Sinkevych, Ph.D.

Algebra, Geometry, Calculus 

Dr. Sinkevych joined the St. John's Academy community in 2003. A Mechanical Engineering graduate, he earned his Doctorate Degree in Applied Mathematics from Ukraine's National Aerospace University where he later worked as an Associate Professor. Dr. Sinkevych also teaches mathematics courses online and at Grand Canyon University, College of Marin, and Evergreen Valley College. He is married and has two daughters. He loves playing tennis and traveling.



ben gallion

advanced math

Mr. Gallion earned his diploma in Computer Science at San Francisco State University. He shares his time between Saint John’s Academy and his tutoring agency, where he helps students from several schools in the Bay Area with their studies in advanced math. He enjoys reading books, watching baseball and taking walks.



Dimitra Armenakis


Mrs. Armenakis joined St. John's Academy in 2015. She graduated from San Francisco State University , where she studied Child and Adolescent Development. A child-development specialist, she has a Master Teacher Credential, and is working towards a Master's degree in Education. She is passionate about teaching Greek to children and adults, which she does at various learning institutions, including The Annunciation Cathedral in San Francisco and San Francisco State University. She also prepares students for the Greek Language Proficiency Exam administered by the Department of Education in Greece.



Helen Sinelnikoff-Nowak

Physical Education, Art, Photography

Community service coordinator

Mrs. Nowak joined the St. John's Academy community in 2002. A Bay Area native, she grew up on California's lakes and waterways as a competitive water skier. She was an NCAA soccer athlete at Arizona State University and San Francisco State University. She graduated with a B.F.A. with an emphasis in photography from San Francisco State University, before working in the photo industry for more than two decades. Mrs. Nowak enjoys sports, the outdoors, and loves riding motorcycles with her family.



Claudia Rubanova


Claudia is the proud grandmother of our alumn, Steven Philipoff, and a reliable volunteer of many years for SJA. She is the smiling face that greets your children when they arrive to school every morning. She also takes attendance and prepares snack.