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.”
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
Martin has been a member of the IST community since 2018, teaching Mathematics and Sciences. He obtained his BSc in Applied Chemistry and Biotechnology at Tallinn University of Technology and is currently wrapping up his master’s studies at Tartu University in the field of Secondary School Science Education.
Martin previously had an experience of the IB curriculum while completing the Diploma Programme as a student at Tallinn English College. He thereafter gained five years of practical teaching experience as the Mathematics and Science teacher at Kadriorg German Gymnasium, teaching the core science and mathematics curriculum for grades 5 through 12.
During his free time he likes to work out, sleep, and travel.
“My students are the leaders of the future. I try to inspire and support them to achieve their goals. They know that with every problem, there is a rational solution and I am there to help them find that solution.”
Administrative & Support Staff
Katrina was born in Estonia and spent her childhood in Narva-Jõesuu. She finished school with a gold medal and afterward moved to Tallinn, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Economics at Tallinn University of Technology. In 2019 Katrina started to study at Narva College of Tartu University and she is going to have a master’s degree in Pedagogy by Spring 2021 (specialized to Language Teacher in a multicultural school with an additional module of Estonian philology).
Katrina has working experience in marketing and communication, real estate valuation, and hotel management. After working several years in private sector, Katrina decided to continue in the positions related to education. For Katrina, IST is a place where she can use her skills in management and finance, being at the same time near to children, who every day give the energy to live. Katrina speaks fluently in Estonian, Russian, and English, she has a basic knowledge of German and Spanish, so the multicultural team of IST is what she appreciates a lot.
Devyn Allen graduated from Mount Vernon Nazarene University with a Bachelor of Arts specializing in Middle Childhood Education. She started her teaching profession as an English teacher at Mount Gilead Middle School in Ohio (USA). Devyn left her former job to help start IST where she is currently serving as a homeroom teacher and Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator.
“I maintain a personal commitment to developing students as global citizens, striving to prepare students to become empathetic, knowledgeable, and principled adults to build a sustainable and just world. We are creating a space where students feel valued and encouraged to care about each other. In building a diverse community, we strive for authentic and respectful interactions. I believe in providing an equal and fair learning environment.”
Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world. — Nelson Mandela
Nargiz was born and raised in Baku, Azerbaijan. She obtained her BA in Korean Language from the Azerbaijan University of Languages. She has since trained professionally as an interpreter and translator, and is fluent in Korean, English, and Azerbaijani (she also has a working knowledge of Turkish and Russian).
She is currently pursuing her MA in Social Entrepreneurship at Tallinn University. Over the past six years, she has worked with a range of business professionals, public sector agencies and corporate houses, engaged in international business negotiations as trusted interpreter and translator. She has a keen understanding of business communications, and is eager to direct her global work-experience skills towards the advancement of the IST community.
Nargiz is a voracious reader, with a personal preference for management and mindfulness literature. She loves travelling and experiencing unique cultures and cuisines.
Enely is a school assistant whose responsibilities include a variety of tasks from administration to communication. Dividing her time between IST and Emil School, she is skilled in multitasking and is happy to apply her varied skills in education, HR management, and sales.
She was born and raised in Estonia but has roots in both Sweden and Ukraine. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Education (Vocational Education in Sales Management), and is currently in her final year of MA studies, studying Human Resource Management at Tallinn University of Technology. She additionally has many years of experience working in retail.
Enely enjoys nature photography and cooking. She especially likes Asian cuisine. She has taken numerous pictures of IST events and school lessons.
Hanna was born and raised in Rapla, Estonia. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Special Education from Tallinn University. She started her career as a special educational needs teacher and has since had a number of different roles teaching children who need additional support in the classroom. She has gained experience in working with various students across many levels, grades, and subject areas.
Hanna enjoys photography, spending time in nature, and music. For years, she has also helped to organize summer camps for children in Estonia.
“I am passionate about fostering a nurturing environment for students of all abilities so that they feel valued and supported in their growth. Working at IST has inspired me to be more creative in my teaching strategies and my approach to education. Being at this school has given me the opportunity to see how a diverse group of people work together to bring unique and effective strategies to the classroom.”
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.
Ana was born in a small town in Akhalgori, Georgia, which is now occupied by Russia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from Ilia State University Tbilisi, Georgia, and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. While studying, she started working with children with special needs, and at that time she decided to focus on children’s and adolescent’s psychology.
She worked with children with special needs for four years and gained experience and knowledge in this field. Also, she worked in Kindergarten and had practice in schools. After finishing the MA, she decided to challenge herself, so she left her country and came to Estonia as a volunteer. She worked in a day center with adults with mental health problems. After falling in love with Estonia, she decided to stay and continue her career here.
Kristi has a B.A. in Special Education, and is an experienced SEN teacher who has taught students with a wide range of educational needs.
A significant component of her professional development and experience is centered around working with students who have been diagnosed with Autism and behavioral needs.
Through her experiences living in countries such as the Netherlands, Switzerland and more recently China, Kristi has had the opportunity to keep up with professional development and best practices across the globe as she continues to strive for the highest levels of excellence in special educational needs in an effort to enhance the support provided to all SEN students.
She has worked with several of the most prominent international schools in Beijing over the past three years, and had the opportunity to explore and reinforce their Special Education Needs departments. These years of valuable international school SEN experience have given her an excellent foundation to reinforce the IST SEN team and support the school in achieving its SEN objectives.
Latifat is an Early-Years Practitioner, born and raised in Nigeria. She has since lived and worked in different countries all around the world: the UK, Ireland, and the UAE, to name just a few.
She obtained her Masters’s in Educational Innovation and Leadership at Tallinn University. She has done BA in Social Studies from Ogun State University in Nigeria. Thereafter, she received a Diploma in Early Childhood Education from the same institution.
Latifat is a fluent English speaker who has spent over seven years working in international education. She worked with GEMS Education in Dubai for five years, teaching a British curriculum, and acting as Team Leader to all kindergarten staff. She further taught an American curriculum while working with the Dubai Modern Educational School.
She is the mother of two boys and loves both traveling and dancing.
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.
Sonia was born in Madrid and soon in her childhood, she knew she wanted to become a teacher. She studied her bachelor’s degree in Education specializing in English as a foreign language and completed her Practicum in Greece. Since then, back in 2003, she hasn’t stopped teaching and traveling. She has also lived in England, Hong Kong, China, and the Czech Republic, nurturing her vision of the world and learning about different education systems and methodologies.
Sonia is also a teacher of Spanish, Mindfulness, and a student of Social and Cultural Anthropology.
In the classroom, she guides her students through the inquiry-based approach, fostering critical thinking, emotional awareness, and positive reinforcement.
She loves reading, cooking, hiking, practicing yoga and qigong… and music, of course!
Estonia means for her a new world to explore while contributing to the International School of Tallin’s mission and vision and its blooming school community.
Amanda MacLeod was born and raised in Canada. She began her post-secondary studies at
MacEwan University and later transferred to Thompson Rivers University where she completed
a diploma in Hotel and Resort Management. Mrs. MacLeod also holds a Teaching English as a
Foreign Language Certificate (TOEFL).
Before joining the IST team, Mrs. MacLeod worked in a Canadian international school in Egypt. In her time there, Mrs. MacLeod led the ESL department for one year and then worked as a lead teacher in the primary program for three years.
Mrs. MacLeod has a passion for education and helping young children grow into responsible
life-long learners. She prides herself on her organizational skills, and when she is not in the
classroom, she likes to spend her time baking and traveling. Mrs. MacLeod traveled to over
thirty countries and is very happy to make Estonia and IST her new home.
Lynne was born in Canada to Lebanese and Palestinian parents. Over her childhood, she lived in Canada, Turkey, the UAE, the UK, Switzerland, and Lebanon. She studied Elementary Education at the American University of Beirut. Lynne went on to complete her Masters of Science in Education at the University of Edinburgh, graduating both times with distinction.
In her professional experience, Lynne has taught Grades 3 & 4 Mathematics and Grade 3 PYP Homeroom in Dubai and Beirut respectively. She has 6 years of international teaching experience, 4 of which in the PYP. After having passed through so many curricula as a student and teacher, Lynne found her ideological home in the PYP, a truly globally transferable teaching and learning experience. Lynne moved to Estonia in 2020 and loves it. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and playing futsal.
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.
TracyAnne was born in the United States but spent her childhood in Europe. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego. She further holds a master’s degree (Maîtrise de Pédagogie) in Organic Chemistry and Natural Science from the Coopération Française.
She started her teaching career at a Nursing School in Zinder, Niger. After working several years in West Africa, she taught science and math in grades 6-12 in the United States. She has written both a high-school Organic Chemistry textbook and a Physical Science lab manual. She has additionally translated a Physical Science and Chemistry lab manual into French. She strongly believes in the importance of hands-on, inquiry-led learning in Math and Science.
TracyAnne speaks six languages and has lived in eight countries, moving permanently to Estonia in 2011. She enjoys philanthropy, hiking, and running in her spare time.
Sheldon is from Canada and earned a bachelor’s degree in Canadian History and Political Science from Thompson Rivers University. After traveling through Africa and working in a variety of different industries, he applied to the prestigious University of Alberta where he completed, with distinction, a bachelor’s degree in education specializing in Social Studies and English as a Second Language. He embraces the concept of being a citizen of the world and takes great interest in learning from different cultures, people, and places.
Mr.Perris recently spent four years teaching in Egypt, where he also led many extracurricular programs, such as a school newsletter, chess club, long-distance running club, and a boys and girls basketball club. His pedagogy includes an emphasis on connecting the content of a course to the nature of being of the individual learner and which is why he is tremendously enthusiastic to guide the learning of the diverse student body at the International School of Tallinn!
Tamari Sekhnaishvili was born in Georgia and was raised in a Georgian-Russian family. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Regional Studies in European Studies at Caucasus University Tbilisi, Georgia. She was an Erasmus grant holder and exchange student at Tallinn University and studied International Relations at the Faculty of School of Governance, Law, and Society. Recently she is working on her master’s degree in Anglistics.
She started her career in IB education five years ago as MYP coordinator’s counselor and homeroom teacher at the European School, Tbilisi. She has been teaching Individuals and Societies to grades 6-7 for five years. Besides teaching IS, she was holding positions of Service as Action Coordinator, Head of School Library and resource center, and Personal Project Supervisor at the European School. She was a member of the European School during IB MYP evaluation and CIS accreditation process, which equipped her with experience and knowledge of IB philosophy and skills of the implementation process. Being an SA coordinator and Head of the Library and resource center, she initiated and created a number of handbooks and school policies.
Tamar was raised in an international family and spent the majority of her life in an international environment. She speaks English and Russian fluently. She enjoys traveling, socializing, and cultural exchange.
Although David grew up in the California Bay Area, he has spent many years living abroad. He holds a doctorate in English Literature and Creative Writing (PhD, Bath Spa University, UK), degrees in English Literature (BA, University of Alberta, Canada; MA, University of New Brunswick, Canada), as well as a master’s degree in Publishing Media (Oxford Brookes University, UK).
He has taught in several different contexts over the years, from undergraduates to international students, from mature students to those of high-school age. In Canada, he taught introductory classes in English to first-year undergraduates. Later, he provided numerous tutorials and guest lectures at the University of Oxford. Between 2008 and 2012, he further taught and organised secondary-level courses in both English Literature and Creative Writing at one of the more esteemed international summer schools in Oxford.
Besides being a teacher, he is a published author and playwright. He also loves films, old music, and the sea.
Nicolas is a French teacher from Brittany, Western France. He studied Linguistics and Literature, in France and Finland, and currently finishes his MA in Anthropology at the University of Tallinn. Nicolas has been teaching over the past 9 years in both Estonia and Latvia. In his free time, he is researching and actively supporting the preservation and continuity of endangered languages. Aside from his passion for languages, Nicolas also enjoys hiking and exploring remote corners of the globe.
Rémi was born in Paris in 1975. He went to different schools in France and Germany and before moving back to Paris as a teenager to attend the International School of Paris (ISP). From this moment, he knew that learning languages was his passion. He later went on to study German, Educational Sciences, and French as a Foreign Language.
Rémi has gained a range of teaching experiences in Germany, Portugal, France, and Estonia, working with ambassadors, civil servants, artists, businessmen, pupils, nursery children, university students, teenagers, CEOs, soldiers, disabled people…He has thus learned how to adapt himself to a variety of teaching methods and contexts. He has also learned to value good mood and humour, while also maintaining a rigorous pedagogical framework.
Besides teaching, Rémi’s other passion is contemporary painting. Art feeds his soul and stimulates his creativity at work, as well as with his friends and family.
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.
Maricarmen was born in Monterrey, Mexico but she has been living in Tallinn since 2019. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Language Science with a specialization in English teaching from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Mexico. She also holds an international master’s degree in Adult Education for Social Change awarded by four European universities being University of Glasgow the host university.
Maricarmen started her teaching career at different language centers in Monterrey. In 2016, she worked as a Spanish teacher in a French high school institution. In 2020, she worked for a language camp in the UK. She strongly believes that learning a language is key to understanding others’ ideas and culture. Her classes are dynamic and planned according to the students’ needs and goals.
She speaks four languages that include Spanish, English, French, and Italian. She has lived in six countries. She is a hot chocolate and dog lover!
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.
Heddy was born in Tartu, Estonia, and holds an MA in Estonian Linguistics from Tartu University. Being part of developing a school, using her diverse professional and teaching experience to work with international students, is inspiring and rewarding work for her.
Her experience in teaching Estonian as a foreign language was acquired in a multicultural environment while teaching university and community college students in Finland. During this time, she also trained employees of the Finnish Public Administration, as well as diplomats and private sector clients. Her diverse work experience also includes acting as a Project Manager and Senior Editor of business handbooks at a media corporation in Estonia. She has further worked as a Translation Editor for National Geographic magazine in the US.
Heddy loves hiking and spending time in nature and gardens, having obtained degrees in Gardening from KLC School of Design (UK), and Räpina School of Horticulture.
Merily Heinmaa was born in Hiiumaa – it is a little island in Estonia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music as a Choir Conductor at the University of Tallinn. She further holds a master’s degree in Music Education.
She had also completed many professional courses at the Tallinn Academy of Music and participated for several consecutive years in a Music Educational Expo in London.
She started her teaching career when she was 20 and has been a music teacher for over 10 years. She had led the children’s choir and achieved good results in many different competitions.
“My educational philosophy lies in the understanding that the teacher is the one who must strive to support the students on their path, focusing on and developing their talents. I strongly believe the idea that all people are musical!”
Gözde was born in Bursa, Turkey but spent her childhood in Antalya. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Marmara University, Istanbul. After her bachelor studies, she started her teaching career at Doga Colleges in Istanbul. While working as a music teacher, she studied audio engineering at SAE Institute and she further holds a master’s degree in Digital Learning Games from Tallinn University. She designs sounds and composes music for video games.
Gözde speaks three languages and has to move permanently to Estonia in 2019. She enjoys phone photography, pilates, and traveling in her spare time.
Hsuan-Hsiu is a visual and dance artist from Taiwan. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and her MA in Creative Practice from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. She has also trained professionally as a dancer at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York.
In Taiwan, she taught five years in a school, collaborating with teachers to integrate visual and movement arts in the learning process of different subjects. She has also taught in the US and in Europe as a guest teacher in workshops, conferences, festivals, and retreats. Her works have been exhibited in Chicago, New York, London and Taiwan, in galleries, theatres and site-specific events.
“I think art is a way of learning and knowing. I enjoy supporting students with creative tools to learn about themselves and the world with curiosity and with a caring attitude.”
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.