Olavi is the founding director of our school. He obtained both a pedagogical degree and an MA (in Sociology) from Tartu University. Thereafter, he gained a solid package of additional training: Educational Administration (a two-years school management program, partly in the UK), master’s studies in International Relations (European College, University of Tartu), business management (Copenhagen Business School), as well as various IB workshops.
He was formerly the founding director of the Tallinn European School and additionally acted as the educational leader in various schools for more than two decades. He has also worked in a management capacity for the Ministry of Education and Research, and as a biotech manager for Enterprise Estonia. He has simultaneously gained strong expertise in quality management systems while assessing the schools, companies, and public organizations.
In his leisure time, he enjoys sports, travelling, and composing music for his solo albums.
“I am inspired to lead IST to an outstanding position in international education through innovation and the highest quality.”
Kerli was born in Estonia and got her MA in Teaching Estonian from Tallinn University, while also teaching grades 5 to 12 at Pirita Gymnasium of Economics.
She lived in London for ten years, where she taught Estonian as a mother tongue and foreign language to 3–12-year-old pupils at the Estonian School in London, Estonian as a foreign language to adults at different levels, to the current British ambassador in Estonia, and to several British army groups who came to work in Estonia. In addition to this, she has experience in public service interpreting and written translations. In London, she also worked at Sandringham Primary School and Stratford School Academy in the Learning Support department.
In her spare time, Kerli likes to spend time outdoors, read, and visit concerts.
Kerli is keen to introduce Estonian culture and language in a multicultural environment that IST provides.
Lisa is a qualified Primary years teacher from London, England. She obtained her teaching qualification from St Mary’s College, Twickenham and has worked for extended periods in London schools, gaining experience with all Primary age pupils. Lisa is certified to teach all subjects in the primary years and has experience across a range of areas.
In addition, she has come from a leadership background where she was a Coordinator in Mathematics and Design Technology. She enjoys supporting her peers, sharing her experiences and successful teaching practices for the benefit of the students.
Lisa is dedicated to ensuring students receive a balanced, exciting and enriched education in a caring and supportive environment. She is dedicated to her role as the PYP Coordinator and is eager to support the wider community of IST as best she can.
“Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn, and you will.” — Vernon Howard
A motto that is appropriate for the world outshined by the global epidemic, is our new MYP Coordinator, Meena Gaikwad’s adage for her life as an educator. Meena Gaikwad was born in India and is pursuing her M.Ed. from the University of people, USA. Having worked in the education sector for more than a decade, she comes to IST with International experience as an MYP Coordinator from Indonesia and her homeland India.
She has been an enthusiastic Mathematics educator who believes in connecting mathematics to real-life situations. She taught Indian Curriculum for 6 years, she transitioned to teaching the International Baccalaureate program, IGCSE, and has been continuing in the same as an enduring learner. She has been in the IB education sector since 2014. Rather than teaching Mathematics to Middle School, she has held positions of MYP Coordinator, External moderator of Personal Project, Mathematics Head of Department, Examination In-charge of School. She had been a keen member of the school evaluation process of MYP which enriched her knowledge of IB Programme.
She has been awarded “Excellence and Instructional Leadership award” in 2020 from Eminent Govt. Bodies of India and Abroad
Gerard has his B.A. in History from SUNY Plattsburgh/Staten Island College and his M.A. in Secondary Education from Framingham University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Gerard is originally from the United States but has been teaching internationally for the past 22 years in countries such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Taiwan. In addition to teaching History for over 20 years, Gerard has also served as the Social Studies Department Head, 6 years and MYP Coordinator for 3 years. For the last 6 years, Gerard has been employed at IB schools as he believes the program is best suited for educating our children to be global-minded citizens.
In his free time, Gerard enjoys exercising, traveling, and nature.
Julia was born in Estonia and spent her childhood in Tallinn. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Business at EBS (Estonian Business School).
From an early age Julia loved to dance and after school worked for several years as a dance teacher. She has her own dance studio for children. She also had experience as an administrator in the hotel business.
Julia is fluent in Russian language. She speaks in Estonian and English.
IST is a place where she can use her skills in helping people and communicating.
She loves to travel and the happiest is when she is on the road to somewhere. She loves to read classical literature and spend time with friends.
Mr. Neuwahl is a driven IB educator with years of experience as an IB teacher and IT Director in international schools in Estonia, Switzerland, and China. He joined IST in 2020 and teaches PYP ICT, MYP Design, and DP Design Technology. He will teach the complete MYP Design program, which includes Food, Product, and Digital Design. The program is intended to teach students transferable life skills, enable them to explore design thinking, and establish meaningful connections with prior learning.
Karina was born in a small town called Moca in the Dominican Republic, she has a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology from the Catholic University of Santo Domingo, Rep.Dom, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education and Early attention from the International University of Valencia, Spain. She has lived and worked in Taiwan, Mexico as a teacher and Dominican Republic where she did community service as a Psychologist in a Psychiatric department for multiple years.
Karina speaks Spanish as her mother language and English as a second language. She is a passionate cook, who also likes to spend her day baking, hiking, and having fun with her family and friends. She looks forward to knowing more about Estonian Culture and pretending to learn the Estonian Language.
Neetu was born and brought up in India. She is holding a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology, History, and Political Science from the University of India( Bikaner). She has a Master’s degree in Public Administration.
Neetu started her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher at a nursing school in India. She strongly believes in the importance of nurturing children and give them special attention. She speaks two languages Hindi and English.
Neetu enjoys sketching, coloring, painting, and walking around in nature in her spare time.
Her inspiration in working with IST is that the team is really good. All of them are really helpful and full of positive energy.
Nabila lived most of her life in Indonesia. She attended Bina Nusantara University in Jakarta gaining her Bachelor’s in Communication and Marketing.
Driven to create positive change in the world she wasn’t happy being a news presenter. The idea to switch careers into education started during her time at Volunteer Teaching in her University, a program to help educate the kids with no access to education.
Then she started as an assistant kindergarten teacher and Preschool teacher at Mighty Minds in Jakarta for 4 years. That’s where she really felt, that she belonged. She finds her passion, teaching. After moving to Estonia, she still longed to work in preschool. Eventually, she found IST. The Beliefs of IST really resonated with her so she applied, to continue to inspire and be inspired by the very youngest.
Nabila knows 10 languages. She loves singing, playing ukulele, drawing, and cooking.
Riina was born and raised in Estonia.
She has her BA degree in Early Years teaching from University of Tartu. And her MA (cum laude) in Counselling in Special Education from Tallinn University.
She started her teaching career in 2015. Before joining IST, she was teaching in kindergarten for 7 years, working with children aged 3-7. She believes that in early years, children learn best through play. When teaching, she uses a lot of playful approaches to reach academic achievements. In teaching, Riina values creating a safe environment and building trustful relationships, she enjoys art, creativity and robotics.
In summertime, she has helped organise English languages camps for Estonian youth.
In her spare time, Riina enjoys good music, spending quality time with friends and being in nature. She also likes different cultural events (concerts, theatre).
Iryna was born and raised in Ukraine, yet she has lived in other countries since 2005. She is a qualified linguist, specializing in English and German Languages as well as World Literature. Iryna received her BA in English and German Languages at the Cherkassy State University in Ukraine. Thereafter, she focussed on her teaching, obtaining a PGCE in Primary Education degree at the University of Sunderland in the UK. Since embarking on her teaching career, she has worked in Egypt, the UAE, the Ukraine, and Estonia. For over twelve years, she has been a staff member of four highly regarded independent schools.
She is also rather passionate about pursuing various leisure time activities, e.g. dancing salsa, drawing portraits, writing poems, attending art exhibitions, learning new languages and watching documentary films about the history of world’s greatest empires.
Dragan comes from Serbia and he graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy Nis in 2012. In addition, he has got two TKT certificates, Young Learners and Module 1.
He has been working as a teacher since 2013. He came to Estonia in 2019 and prior to that he was working in Serbia and China. So far he has taught different age groups from kindergarten students to adults, with most of his experience in primary years.
He is very passionate about sports, especially football and he possesses UEFA B football coaching license.
Todd has his B.A.(TESL) and B.Ed. from Brock University in St.Catharines, Ontario and his M.Ed from Framingham University in Boston, Massachusetts. He was born in Canada and began teaching English to immigrants there 28 years ago. In 1999 he began his international teaching career in Monterrey, Mexico. After almost 20 years there, he moved to tiny, tropical Brunei. In 2022, he was given the opportunity to join the IST team, and see the seasons change for the first time in over two decades. Todd believes that building character and integrity is essential in education and cannot wait to share his experience with his students and learn from his fellow teachers here in Estonia.
In his spare time he likes to play sports, go hiking and see live music.
Kaitie grew up in the USA, and since then has studied and taught in different parts of the world. She attended the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a focus on child development in 2012. During this time, she briefly attended Charles University in the Czech Republic. After her initial degree, Kaitie quickly returned to UNC to earn a graduate diploma in elementary education, finishing the program and her practicum in 2014. Since then, she has taught in grades K-5 in Seattle, Washington, DC, and southeast China, seeking to create quizzical and empathetic individuals and constantly broadening her pedagogy as a learner-driven educator.
In the classroom, Kaitie puts emphasis on the inquiry cycle and nurtures her students as individuals, social and empathetic beings, problem-solvers, and knowledge-seekers. She looks forward to connecting with nature, history, and innovation in Estonia alongside her students.
Outside of school, Kaitie enjoys engaging in creative pursuits from cooking to writing, learning through media, exhibitions, and experimentation, and exploring the great outdoors.
Alaaeddine is originally from Morocco. He graduated in finance and accounting from EFET ( école française d’enseignement technique ) Morocco . He has been teaching French for the past 10 years in Morocco, Colombia, and Bangladesh; he taught the 3 programs of IB PYP, MYP, and DP. Alaaeddine served as head of French department during last 2 and half years.
He enjoys teaching IB program because students are given a unique education that helps them develop strong academic, social, and emotional characteristics. They are also likely to perform well academically – often better than students in other programs and often more likely to be recruited by top universities worldwide.
Alaaeddine speaks fluent French, Arabic, English, and Spanish.
He loves playing football, basketball, working out, and cooking.
Tokay Ogtayoghlu (Ahmadov) is from Azerbaijan and lives in Estonia since 2018. Tokay holds two diplomas of higher education in Social Sciences and has rich experience in management and coordination.
Tokay started his academic journey in 2017 by passing the certification on Regional Development and Innovation Policy at the Alcide De Gasperi University of Euroregional Economy in Jozefow. Later in 2018, he graduated from the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy (ADA University) with the bachelor’s degree in State and Public Affairs. Right after the graduation, Tokay got admitted to the MA program in Democracy and Governance at the Tartu University in Estonia. During master studies, he was also admitted to the Jagiellonian University of Poland and passed special courses on EU Policy and Decision Making.
In the period of higher education studies, Tokay also used to work as a teacher and coordinator of one of the leading NGOs that fostered integration of local youth to Europe. Tokay used to design curriculum and taught social studies for 6th –11th grade pupils within the state educational framework. At times he was a research and teaching assistant at ADA University as well as taught language courses to the diplomats of the Baltic States in Azerbaijan. Besides gaining degrees of higher education in Social Sciences, Tokay participated in various trainings and courses in the fields of public governance and policy making in Azerbaijan, Estonia, Germany, Poland, North Macedonia, and Turkey.
Tokay is also a musician and has many compositions in symphonic and pop genres of music.
Abraham was born in the United States and spent his childhood in Colorado. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Biological Science with a minor in English Literature from Colorado State University. He also holds a Master’s of Science in Teaching and Learning from Colorado State University Global.
He started his educational career in China where he worked as a middle and high school science teacher for three years before teaching MYP science for a year in Washington D.C.
Abraham enjoys cycling, hiking, movies/TV, and cooking in his free time, as well as pursuing creative pursuits such as acting in, writing, and directing stage shows.
Helmi Kreinin is originally from Estonia. After being schooled in three different countries in three different languages Helmi started university in Scotland. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Glasgow gaining an MSci in Chemistry with Medicinal Chemistry and continued on to a Ph.D. in Chemical biology linked to a new important biological target. After completing her Ph.D. she felt drawn to teaching and completed a two-year PGDE Leadership in Learning course at Sheffield Hallam University. During her teacher training, she also continued to work full time in two English secondary schools in one of the most economically disadvantaged areas in England.
Helmi is passionate about science communication and outreach, she believes that scientific literacy has the power to change lives for the better for everyone. To achieve this she relies on evidence-based teaching methods.
In her spare time, Helmi is a keen hiker and likes to cook elaborate meals from different cultures.
Andrea was born in the United States where he lived to the age of sixteen. Driven by a passion for French culture, Andrea moved to Paris to follow his dream. In Paris, he attended the University of Paris VIII and completed his bachelor’s degree in General Linguistics, with a minor in Pedagogy, and his master’s degree in English Syntax. He further holds a doctorate in law (JD) from the Boston University Law School.
He started his teaching career in Paris and has taught throughout his life in Hong Kong, Boston, Providence, and Tallinn. His teaching career has focussed primarily on English, but he has also taught French, Spanish, and Yoga. In addition to teaching, he has worked as an immigration and human rights lawyer in Hong Kong and Boston. He is devoted to human service and firmly believes that teaching is one way to change the world, one step at a time. In his teaching, Andrea stresses the importance of self-inquiry, exploration, and questioning.
Andrea speaks five languages and has lived in Asia, North America, and Europe. He moved to Estonia three years ago to be closer to his elderly parents. He enjoys reading and working in his garden in Saaremaa. Andrea is a practitioner of ashtanga yoga and he is interested in Eastern Philosophy.
Darwin Baird is a Canadian citizen who has lived and taught English in seven countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North America, and Europe. He has chosen Tallinn as his home. Darwin has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Simon Fraser University, and a master’s degree in Comparative Literature and Cultural Semiotics from Tallinn University.
His academic interests lie in studying the relations between types of knowledge and their communicative effects in literary and visual arts. An empiricist, Darwin believes learning best occurs through giving clear attention to the forms we find in the world around us. Darwin enjoys swimming, hiking, bog walks, and trying to remember tree taxonomies.
Julie Morin was born and raised in Connecticut in the US. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in English and theatre from the University at Albany, SUNY in Albany, New York. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in the Digital Learning Games program at Tallinn University.
After graduation from SUNY, Julie began traveling and teaching English as a second language to primary, middle, and secondary school students; first, in Suwon, South Korea, and most recently in Warsaw, Poland. She has 7 years of experience teaching ESL in the classroom and online. In class, Julie focuses on creating an inclusive and supportive environment where students can gain confidence in speaking English.
Outside of the classroom, Julie enjoys reading, watching films, and going to the theatre. She is looking forward to exploring Estonia and wants to continue traveling, hopefully to Antarctica.
Larissa is a native German. She holds a Bachelor degree in Special Education and Pedagogy and a Master degree in Educational Science with a focus on Special Needs Education.
She has been a special needs educator for 10 years in Germany. She started her professional career as a social education teacher, where she supported the adolescent with learning difficulties to finish their schools, vocational trainings and to find suitable jobs. Larissa also worked for the German Child Protection Agency where she accompanied children in the school, helped them to make new friends and to have fun during leisure activities. She was helping the families and individuals dealing with difficult or stressful situations. These included issues of children behavior, social competences, financial difficulties, drug addictions and illnesses.
Larissa loves the nature and the sea. She enjoys hiking, skiing and camping in the forests in Estonia.
Larissa is very motivated to bring new intercultural creativity to IST’s learning environment for making learning foreign languages more fun and exciting. She believes learning foreign languages helps to open new doors in life and to understand the different cultures better.
Araceli was born in Valladolid, Spain. She graduated in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Salamanca and in Law from the University of Valladolid. She also holds a Master Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Public Services, and her final master thesis was selected to be presented at the European Commission Translation Studies Days in Brussels in 2012.
After working as a translator, interpreter, bank lawyer and language teacher in private academies, she decided to focus her career in school teaching. In 2019 she became Spanish language teacher at the IB International School of Gabon Ruban Vert. In order to complement her training, she is currently studying for a Degree in Early Years and Primary Teaching.
Passionate of languages, Araceli is bilingual in Spanish and French and has a good level of English and German. And she is currently learning Estonian.
In her free time, Araceli likes to spend time with her family, travel and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a good book.
Carolina was born in Bogota, the capital of Colombia. She studied Performing Arts at Teatro Libre Drama School in her natal city. Then, she traveled to the United States to study English at Miramar Comunity College in San Diego, California. To further her passion for Languages she started studied French traveling to Morocco. Meanwhile, she worked as Drama and Language Teacher in different prestigious schools in Colombia such as Lycée Fraçais, IB school Liceo Pino Verde, IB school Mayor de Los Andes, among others.
When she returned to her hometown in Colombia, she decided to study International Business to profit her proficiency in English and French. Afterward, she moved to Bangladesh with her family to work for the Australian International School as EAL Teacher for PYP and later after moved to China to work as a Spanish and French Teacher, continuing her studies with a Master of Arts in Education at Liverpool John Moores University.
Carolina has just arrived in Estonia and is very enthusiastic to share her knowledge and experience at IST. For her, “students have always something to teach us back!”. She is passionate about Learning Development, Entrepreneurship, Movies, and Series.
Anna was born and raised in Tallinn, Estonia. She obtained her MA in Slavonic Languages and Cultures from Tallinn University, where she also specialised in English Philology.
In her classes, she helps students to master the Russian language, discover Russian culture, and broaden their minds about language-learning more generally. Her main priority is making students love the process of learning foreign languages and discovering other cultures.
Anna has been teaching Russian as a Foreign Language for over three years. She herself is very keen on learning languages. Although she speaks Russian as her native language, she is fluent in both English and Estonian, and has also taught English language to children as well.
She loves travelling and outdoor activities, believing that outdoor activities support physical health, while travelling broadens the mind and allows people to explore world cultures.
Keiu is from Estonia. She got her BA degree in Estonian and Finno-Ugric linguistics and MA degree in Estonian language and literature teacher from the University of Tartu. Keiu started her career in the university, where she taught Estonian language to Erasmus students. Since then she has been passionate about teaching the language to native speakers as well as a foreign language. She continued her career in Tallinn where she has taught in Tallinn English College and Tallinn 21st School.
In the summertime Keiu has worked in several language camps. She has worked with foreign Estonians in Suvekodu camp in Long Island, New York and participated as a group leader and teacher in language camps in Estonia.
In her spare time Keiu likes to spend time with her friends, visit concerts, cultural events and read. Her goal in IST is to engage students in discovering Estonia, it’s language and rich culture.
Ismini Pachi was born in Greece. Her educational background is in Philosophy, Pedagogy, and Psychology with an expertise in Special Education acquired from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
After working as a special education teacher for 3+ years, she attended sculpture classes in the Chalkis Jewelry School-Eric Robbert in Greece. Additionally, she was trained in jewelry design and since then she has been working as a jewelry artist and a designer, actively participating in worldwide exhibitions. Her passion for knowledge led her to Estonia where she acquired her Master’s degree from the Design and Crafts faculty of the Estonian Academy of Arts in Jewelry (Cum Laude). Her graduation work was nominated for the Young Applied Artists Award from the Design and Crafts faculty of the Estonian Academy of Arts and she was classified from the International Organization ‘Art Jewelry Forum’ among the International Outstanding Graduates of this year (2021).
Her strong belief in cultivating creativity as a way of living led her in applying for the art teacher position in IST.
Oskar was born in Sweden and before moving to Estonia he lived a year in Croatia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Vocals from the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden. He has previously worked as a vocal and instrumental teacher at children’s music schools and at higher education institutions, teaching semi-professional adults. Since high school, Oskar has worked professionally as a singer and has written, produced, and released lots of music, which is to be found on all streaming services. In 2015 he had the honor of composing an official interpretation of the Nobel Prize winner in literature.
Oskar believes curiosity and patience are key values in finding a musical understanding, excellence, and freedom. In his spare time, he enjoys playing chess, working out, expressing his Christian faith, and spending time with his wife and dog.”
Maarja was born and raised in Tartu, where she also graduated with her master’s degree in Sports Sciences at the University of Tartu. Maarja has previously taught rhythmic gymnastics to little girls and during her studies, she also started teaching group fitness classes and personal training at MyFitness, where she is currently teaching. For eight summers in a row, Maarja spent in the USA and Canada promoting educational books and software to families.
Past few years Maarja’s biggest passion has been yoga, as a hobby and practice for herself and also teaching others. She also loves traveling.
Her one mission and goal in life and also in IST is to motivate people to move and enjoy sports. Sports is a wonderful way to teach children discipline and develop good habits for life.