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Elena Zelenina’s journey as a mother has personified the very spirit of Horace’s
philosophy. Her fascinating background within the art community and education taught her how
to navigate through life’s normal trials and tribulations. However, it wasn’t until her daughter
(now fourteen) was diagnosed with a life-altering disability that she was able to truly find her
Elena is the founder and director of Biryukov Academy. She holds a Masters in education
from the Moscow State Pedagogical University and has 30 years of teaching experience. Lena
comes from a family of artists, most notably Nikolai Gladkikh (1926 - 1995) and Mikhail
Biryukov (1927 - 1995), both Soviet era painters and Russian academicians of wide notoriety.
Elena’s currently started a movement “Paint Your Breakthrough” in hopes to change the
current state of the art education in the US.
Zelenina suspected something was inexact as her child’s speech caused her concern around
age three. After several visits to different speech therapists, one therapist mentioned the phrase
“Auditory Processing Disorder.” While Elena feverishly researched the potential disorder,
something she had never heard of, her daughter was placed in special education classes as she
began school. Finally, after close to four years of debate and searching for an answer, Elena
Zelenina’s presumptions about her daughter’s possible disorder were verified. Her daughter was
finally diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder at age seven.
Elena decided empowerment through education and art would not only be the most
beneficial choice for her daughter. Armed with about thirty years of teaching experience, and a
natural affinity for art and music, she began a pursuit of healing for her daughter.
A crucial path to self-discovery for both Elena and her daughter was about to be brought
to light. Zelenina decided to host classes in her home when she discovered that many schools
had cut art and music programs to the bone, and share what she had seen work for her own child
with others. Then in 2003, she opened the academy to broaden the reach, influence, and positive
messages of her programs further. The academy is proud to have provided life-altering lessons
for hundreds of students.
Biryukov Academy is dedicated to both the social and cultural enrichment of students,
offering art, music, foriegn language and theater classes that foster personal empowerment, and
teach self-esteem & community responsibility. Classes are for children and adults of all ages and
curriculums are designed for students starting at beginner level expanding to professional level