Born and raised in Kazan, Russia – a large city 600 miles from Moscow, Irina came to the U.S. in 1994 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. She adopted Asheville as her new home when her husband secured a research position in the area. Irina began studying English with the Literacy Council and soon became an ESOL tutor herself, working with students from the Ukraine. In 2000, she joined the Literacy Council staff.
“Our students and their stories make my job especially meaningful. I know first hand how difficult it is for adults to learn a new language,” Irina remembers. “It is very hard work. At the Literacy Council, we see small but significant victories every day. It’s really rewarding to give people something now that helps them long term.”
Irina earned a masters degree in Physics from Kazan State University and taught math courses at the Kazan State Power Engineering University. She and her husband, Airat, have two grown sons and enjoy reading, hiking, and traveling.
By Fred Chappell
Poet Laureate Emeritus of North Carolina
It waits as patiently as a forest trail
To take you to a place you must have heard about,
Quiet and exciting, a glade to be alone in,
With those who came before.
At first the journey is one slow letter at a time,
But sooner than you thought, you clip along,
Your pace growing smarter with each step.
You never arrive at an end
Because you never want to,
And a thousand other trails lead off from this one path,
Mysterious, inviting, alive with shadowy light.
The book will go with you as far as you desire.
And if you like, I will come with you.