Academic Faculty


Stephen Gabb, Academic Dean

Stephen Gabb grew up in Yorkshire, starting his education in boarding schools at 7 ½ years old in the British countryside. Later he attended Haileybury College, Hertfordshire for high school, and finished his college education in the USA, completing his BA at Excelsior College, Albany and his Masters in Education at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh. Since then he has taught in the USA, Israel, Palestine (Gaza), and for the last 17 years in South Korea. He was the Global Department Director at CheongShim International Academy, one of the top boarding schools of Korea, responsible for developing the leadership & exchange programs as well as teaching English literature to both middle and high school students. He has extensive experience overseas helping students whose second language is English, as well as gifted students, to excel in their subjects.

During his time in Korea, Mr. Gabb was responsible for developing partnerships with over 160 schools around the world as well as coaching students and teachers in leadership roles. He advised students on events such as the Model United Nations conferences (8 years consecutively), Peace One Day and Korean Adventure & Round Square conferences (international student-led conferences).

Mr. Gabb looks forward to every new challenge at Kirov Academy and to helping students balance their passion for ballet with their need for a solid foundation in academics that will open their path to a university education.



Jonathan Frank, Math TeacherJonathanFrank

Jonathan Frank graduated from Hillsdale College in Michigan in 2008 with a BA in Mathematics. His initial teaching experience came in South Korea as an ESL teacher with a tutoring academy in Suwon, near Seoul. He taught Mathematics at Alexandria Academy during the 2010-11 school year. At KAB, he is responsible for all Math curricula.  His interests outside of the classroom include the arts, especially classical orchestral music and choral singing, various social dance, playing and analyzing both board-and computer-based strategy games, and sports. He is also a dedicated reader, consuming mainly science fiction and history.



Alexandra Tomalonis, Ballet History TeacherAlexandraTomalonis

Alexandra Tomalonis has a B.A. in American Studies from the University of Virginia, and a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University’s Liberal Studies program. Before coming to KAB, she taught professional literature, dance history and aesthetics at George Washington University and George Mason University.
Ms. Tomalonis came to KAB in 2005, after working as a dance critic, writer and lecturer for 25 years. Her reviews appeared regularly in the Washington Post from 1979 through 2006, and she also wrote for Ballet Review, Dance International, and other publications. She is founder editor of DanceView, an internationally distributed quarterly magazine, which now has an online reviews supplement, She is also the author of Henning Kronstam: Portrait of a Danish Dancer (University Press of Florida, 2002). She has lectured frequently about dance in the Washington area, and has been part of the Kennedy Center’s Ballet: 360 Program since 2007, giving four lectures each season on a variety of ballet topics.
At KAB, Ms. Tomalonis teaches ballet history, as well as aesthetics, art history, and great ballets, where students watch and discuss the ballets they dance in KAB performances, or are likely to dance. With Ralph Hoffmann, she developed the artistic-academic curriculum that is unique to this school.



Kirsten Obadal English Teacher

Kirsten Obadal is a DC native and began teaching in 2010 at a women’s university in Saudi Arabia. She has taught English at college and high school level in Virginia and at Tiffin University in Ohio. Her favorite author is Charles Dickens. Ms. Obadal studied ballet with Thomas and Ilona Russell in her student days. She enjoys hiking, horseback riding, and reading good literature.



Allison Bruemmer ESL Teacher Bruemmer_Allison

Born and raised in central Connecticut, Allison Bruemmer graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in History, focusing primarily on 19th-century Russian empire building. Having acknowledged that the Russian language would be essential for her studies, Ms. Bruemmer moved to Krasnoyarsk, Russia to learn the language while also teaching English. Initially, Ms. Bruemmer intended on staying for a year or two, but she ended up staying for seven years. During this time she developed a love for teaching English and went on to become a well-known teacher in Krasnoyarsk. Ms. Bruemmer moved to Washington D.C. in 2012 and earned a graduate certificate in TESOL from American University in 2013. From 2012 to August of 2015, Ms. Bruemmer taught at the International Center for Language Studies, teaching ESL to students from all over the world. She has also taught private English lessons to employees at the Russian Embassy in D.C. Along with her background in ESL and History, Ms. Bruemmer spent much of her childhood and adolescence dancing with the School of the Hartford Ballet in an intensive program very similar to the Kirov Academy’s. She hopes she can bring this experience to the classroom and form a strong relationship with her students. Ms. Bruemmer lives in Adams Morgan with her husband and their wonderful terrier, Kobe. During her free time, Ms. Bruemmer loves exploring D.C. on her bike, playing Yahtzee, watching the Washington Nationals play, and spending time with her family and friends.



Kerrington Shields History Teacherkerringtonshields

Kerrington Shields graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 2014 with a B.A. in History. At this college, he served as a resident adviser and as the History and Study Skills Tutor. He also has an M.A. in History with a concentration in Imperial and Colonial Studies from The George Washington University. During his time at this university, Mr. Shields served as a teaching assistant in multiple courses. He came to KAB in 2016 and is responsible for the Social Studies, U.S. Government, U.S. History, and European History courses. In his free time, he enjoys reading historical fiction and historical nonfiction, as well as watching D.C. United.



Karine Onana French Teacher

Karine Onana is a native French speaker, who grew up in Cameroon (Central Africa). Her experience in teaching foreign language started with an Italian neighbor who was interested in learning French. Before Kirov Academy, Karine taught French for almost 6 years, in the United States, to families and professionals who were relocated in French countries. She also worked for the immersion program in several public schools located in the Metropolitan DC area. Passionate about communication since she was in middle school, she has a Bachelor degree in Journalism from the Advanced School of Mass Communication, the most prestigious school of communication in Cameroon. In the United States, she studied Business Administration and graduated in May 2017, from American Public University System. Karine is a great cook, who likes to share new findings with family and friends. She also likes to travel around the world and make good connections.



Konul Rasulova Science Teacher

Konul Rasulova is a chemist and has been teaching science at an international school for five years in Baku, Azerbaijan. Ms. Rasulova has a PhD from the Institute of Charles Gerhard (ICGM) University of Montpelier, France. Her research thesis focused on the new generation of thermoelectric materials and their applications. The subjects she has taught are general chemistry, inorganic chemistry, solid state chemistry, as well as biology and physics for high school students. Ms. Rasulova is fluent in Russian and Turkish, and she has strong skills in French. She enjoys working with students and helping them to reach their goals though education. She came to the U.S. in 2016 with a great desire to integrate into an international work environment in order to improve her skills as an educator and chemist.



Junko Araki Dance Therapist/Counselor

junko-arakiJunko Araki, a native of Japan, is a Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. She earned her MA in Somatic Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and BA in Performing Arts from Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, Japan. She has been working with individuals with emotional, behavioral, and/or mental health struggles in various settings including hospital, day treatment program, residential treatment center, nursing home, and school. 

Junko is also a recreational dancer, taking classes and performing locally. She is thrilled to be a part of the Kirov family as she had been dreaming of helping dancers to pursue their goals and maximize their potential.