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Founders & Staff


Our school was founded by Sophia Baranov and Julia Baron, two women of European descent looking to recreate the same warm, inclusive atmosphere they remember from their own childhood.

In the past, Sophia after receiving Master of Arts in two majors of Education and Music, worked with children as a piano teacher. Working individually with each child has allowed Sophia to closely observe the young students and see each student’s potential abilities. Sophia’s students participated in various international competitions. Sophia’s 8 year old pupil won the first prize at the international competition in Czechoslovakia , while Sophia received a certificate as the best teacher.

When she came to the US, Sophia was surprised to see schoolchildren having problems with reading, even at a middle school and high school level. She understood that pupils who do not have a good grasp on reading, do not have well developed memory, attention, speed, and agility skills, and do not understand stated problems, will not know history, chemistry, biology, and geography. Organizing her first Child Care, Sophia began cautiously developing her children, their memory and attention skills. She saw how joyous and playful the children were while memorizing, categorizing, recognizing, understanding, while learning. Sophia has been retired and visits WHCA for celebrations and school events.

Julia Julia, current director, had a tremendous share in the development of the programs. Having 25 years of education and experience combined, being torn between traditional and Montessori methods of educating young children Julia spent lots of time to create a “Home away from home” where children learn joyfully, excel in academics, social, and artistic areas and are in harmony with themselves and with each other.

The teaching staff here reflects that attitude. The bonds with our young charges often grow beyond the classroom: we have a treasured and still growing collection of letters and photos from former students who found success in all walks of life. Nearly all of them credit their accomplishments to the education and support they received at WHCA.

Every child is like a precious flower, and like flowers they don’t simply blossom on their own. They need a nurturing environment and proper care. Providing this care is our carefully selected staff of teachers and assistants. To them, it’s more than just a job. They commit themselves enthusiastically to the children, deeply understanding each one’s unique interests and needs. Their greatest reward is growth of the boys and girls in their care.

We apply the same rigor in choosing our teachers as any parent would in finding a caretaker for their child. Each one is highly educated in the field of Early Childhood Education. Each one is trained in CPR and First Aid techniques. But we don’t stop there. Every member of the staff likewise possesses an all-around understanding of child development, taken from the classical texts as well as new books, magazine articles, and experiences of other childcare professionals.

We encourage every member of the faculty to continue their professional development, knowing that to promote achievement and give children access to the newest educational technologies, they must know the innovations themselves.

"We know our children not only by reason
but also by the heart."

– B. Pascal
West Hollywood Children's Academy