The Team at ISI
Get to know the teachers and staff at the International School of Iceland! We come from many countries and backgrounds, but together we are a team! Since our beginning in 2004, the International School of Iceland has searched out the best qualified, most passionate teachers to support our students and build the school of our dreams.
Hanna Hilmarsdóttir, Principal
Hanna has extensive experience in the private sector, both as an administrator and entrepreneur. She received a BA in Human Development and Educational Science from the University of Iceland in 2005. In 2007, she received her MA in Education Administration and Leadership from the same university. She joined the ISI team in 2007. In 2008, she was promoted to Assistant Headmistress and, in 2013, to Headmistress.
Hanna has attended numerous courses and conferences on leadership with the European Council of International Schools, AERO Office of Overseas Schools and Dale Carnegie.
A true believer in the partnership between home and school, Hanna sat as a member of the School Board, School Council and as President of the Parent Association in Alftanes Primary School.
Berta Faber, Curriculum & Instruction, Special Projects
Berta has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Boston University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Berta attended international schools in both Saudi Arabia and Italy. She has many years of teaching experience, having taught all levels, from kindergarten to university preparation in the U.S., Iceland and Japan.
In 2004, Berta founded the International School of Iceland. She has attended numerous conferences and workshops on education through the European Council of International Schools and AERO Office of Overseas Schools in Washington DC.
Marín Hergils Valdimarsdóttir, School Administrator
Marín recently graduated with a B.A. in Law from Reykjavík University. She enjoys working in international environments and thrives when taking on new challenges and learning new tasks. Before joining the ISI team, she worked as a flight attendant. Marín also worked for the international retail store, Zara, for many years as a store manager.
An advocate for a healthy lifestyle of mind, body, and spirit, Marín is a yogi, skier, cyclist, and swimmer, as well as a certified personal trainer. In her youth, she would often accompany her father on horseback-riding tours in the Icelandic highlands.
Marín has one motto in life, which goes, ,,Það er skemmtilegra að hafa það skemmtilegt heldur en leiðinlegt.”
Arnór Jónsson, Homeroom Teacher
Arnór has a BA in social anthropology from the University of Iceland as well as extra credits in Theology. In 2011, Arnór graduated with a Master's degree in system dynamics from the University of Bergen, and in 2017, he received a degree in education, also from UiB.
Arnór has experience working with children and teenagers in Iceland and Norway, both in a traditional classroom setting as well as after-school activities.
Arnór is an avid sportsman and is an active triathlete, snowboarder and judoka. He has lots of experience as a citizen of the world, having lived in London and, for the past 8 years, in Norway.
Áróra Gunnarsdóttir, Language & Learning Support
Áróra Gunnarsdóttir is originally from Ísafjörður. In addition to her work at ISI, she is a Certified tourist guide from the Iceland Tourist Guide School, from which she graduated in 2015.
She has a passion for languages and different cultures and loves to travel and work with children. Before coming to ISI, she has lived and volunteered in Mexico, working with children ages 3-16. In her free time, she enjoys singing/playing guitar, reading and travelling the country with her daughter.
Christopher Bower, Teacher
Bower is a 2015 graduate of Boise State University in the United States, having double-majored in social work and political science with a minor in philosophy. He is the recipient of a 2015-16 Fulbright grant to Tajikistan, where he taught and researched for a year in Khorog. Bower moved to Iceland in 2016 to study international education at the University of Iceland and, following the adoption of a dog, has very happily decided to make Iceland home.
At ISI, Bower will be assisting with English classes for grades 6-10.
The connection of the natural environment to classroom experience and general learning is an imperative one for Bower. He has always loved mountain biking, backcountry backpacking, and anything else that involves being outdoors.
When not traversing the wilderness, Bower can probably be found writing, performing at poetry slams, playing music, making visual art, or working to preserve and restore the natural world - the ultimate teacher for us all.
Bower has taught in six countries, with topics ranging from human rights, ELL, sustainability, philosophy, and creative writing.
Elísa Ósk Línadóttir, Learning Specialist & Learning Support Coordinator
Elísa Ósk has a BS in psychology from the University of Iceland. She has worked as a behavioral instructor for children with special needs, specializing in social skills and behavioral training, since 2012.
Elisa completed a Masters degree in Special Education from the University of Akureyri in 2018.
Elisa has taught English at a summer camp for children ages 9-11 in China. In Bali, Indonesia, she taught classes for children 8-10 years old. She has also worked with children ages 1-10 in an elementary school teaching math and kindergarten in Cape Town. Besides teaching in South Africa, she also worked at a game reserve caring for safari animals there.
Elísa grew up surrounded by animals in Þingeyri, in the west fjords of Iceland. She enjoys music and plays the guitar.
Emma-Jane Daníelsson, Homeroom Teacher
Emma-Jane was born and raised in Peterborough, England before heading off on her travels in 2005. She has a combined BA in Archaeology and literature and has worked on a number of excavations around the world including England, South Africa, Italy and even Þingvellir in Iceland.
In 2010 she moved to Stockholm Sweden with her husband and then three year old daughter.There, whilst working as a support teacher in a Reception classroom at the British school, she discovered the joy of teaching! Two more daughters later and another international move, this time to Lisbon Portugal, she completed her PGCE from the University of Sunderland. During her early teaching years Emma taught at a British school, a bilingual school and a top IB world school before moving to Iceland in 2018.
Emma considers herself more as a facilitator of learning than a traditional teacher and believes that children should be active agents in their own education and daily lives. Emma hasn’t changed so much from when she was a child, still very much enjoying adventuring, investigating, playing with playdough and singing out loud.
Hafdis Helgadóttir, Teacher
Hafdís graduated with a B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Iceland in 2009 and a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching Studies from the same university in 2011. She completed a M.Sc. degree in Nutrition from the University of Iceland in 2013; part of her studies were undertaken in Copenhagen.
During teacher training, Hafdís worked in Sjálandsskóli as an assistant teacher in a 7th grade classroom. She was also an assistant teacher in chemistry laboratory classes for B.Sc. students at the University of Iceland. In 2014-2015, she taught Nutrition at Menntaskólinn í Reykjavík and coached children and teenagers at Boot Camp physical center.
Health and the well-being of society are Hafdís's primary interests. She is coauthor of Heil og Sæl, a textbook for teenagers about health and a sustainable mindset. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle of her own, she has climbed the highest peak in Iceland, Hvannadalshnjúkur, run the off-road tracks Fimmvörðuháls and Laugarvegur, and participated in numerous other althletic events.
Hanna Sirrý Couper Ragnarsdóttir, Icelandic Teacher
Hanna Sirrý graduated from the University of Iceland with B.Ed in 2013; she is currently completing her M.Ed from the same University.
Hanna has experience teaching both in Iceland and abroad. She taught English as a second language to children in Thailand, Cambodia and Brazil. She was also an assistant humanities teacher in a secondary school in England. In Iceland, she worked as a substitute teacher at Sjálandsskóli.
Hanna is a board member of Stop the Traffik, an organization in Iceland with the goal to raise awareness of human trafficking and inhumane work conditions. She has an active interest in human rights and environmental sustainability and enjoys traveling with her husband and two daughters.
Helena Frederiksen, Homeroom Teacher
Helena has a B.Ed in Primary Education and Arts from the University of Iceland. She started working as a teacher in 2008 in Iceland before going to Sweden in 2015 where she taught in an elementary school for three years. Helena also has experience working with children, teenagers and young adults with special needs.
Helena was born in Iceland but grew up in Sweden. She moved back to Iceland in 1993 and studied classical singing for some years. In 2015, she moved to Sweden and lived there for three years, working as a teacher in elementary school.
Justin Shouse, Homeroom Teacher & Athletics
Justin has a BA in Elementary Education from Mercyhurst College. Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Justin has taught at schools in the USA, Germany and Iceland. He is certified to teach in both the US and Iceland.
Justin taught 6th grade Geography and History at Westlake Middle School in Erie, PA before moving abroad. Then, he taught sports clinics at various schools in Germany in the Cologne and Dusseldorf areas. After coming to Iceland, he taught English to children from grades 4 to 10 in Stykkisholmur and later he taught a class of special needs students at Hofstaðaskóli in Garðabær. At ISI, he has taught IPC and Math in addition to leading the athletics program.
He plays and coaches youth basketball for the Stjarnan club. Justin began teaching at the International School of Iceland in 2009.
Kirsten Kummerfeld, P.D. Coordinator &
Originally from Germany, Kirsten has a BA in Early Education from Alte-Eichen in Hamburg, Germany. Her MA, in Elementary School Education, is from Elly-Heuss-Knapp. Kirsten also attended art school for 2 years at Christian-Albrecht University in Kiel, Germany.
Kirsten has more than 20 years of teaching experience in Europe and the United States. She worked in Sweden at the International School of Lund, in the US at St. James Episcopal School in Los Angeles and Cedar Creek Elementary School in Canyon County, CA.
In addition to her education degrees, Kirsten studied Art History and Painting, Drawing and Sculpture at Temple University in Rome. Her talent and experience is perfect as the Art Department Head at ISI.
Kirsten has also completed Forest School Teaching training (Level 3) which allows her to teach effectively in nature. Kirsten loves horses and dance. She started horseback riding at age 5 and is a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, specializing in Interactive Vaulting. She has danced professionally and at a competitive level for 13 years and is a certified Ballroom Dance instructor (Level 1) from the Dance Vision International Dance Association.
Lára Stefánsdóttir, Homeroom Teacher
Lára worked at Sierra Vista Kirk Baucher School in Modesto, California, from 1999 to 2012. At first, she taught art and culture related subjects to children ages 6 to 14. As she was going to school, she served as support staff in various classrooms until she graduated from Stanislaus with a degree in Art and minor in Art History. In 2005, she took over teaching technology at the same school as well as yearbook creation with the help of the 7th and 8th grade students.
Since returning to Iceland in 2012, she has taught Icelandic at Centrum Studium Linguae in addition to her work at ISI. In the summer of 2013, she attended the IPC Summer School conference in the Netherlands.
She is currently enrolled in a program to earn an International Teacher Certificate through Cambridge University and the European Council of International Schools (ECIS).
Beyond teaching, Lára is an accomplished artist. She participated in a group show at the Jay Jay Art Gallery in Sacramento, CA, in 2012. The following year, she showed her art at the Götusýning Reykjavik Art Festival.
Lucy Averell, Homeroom Teacher (On Leave)
Lucy originates from Scotland and graduated with a B.Ed in Primary Education from the University of Edinburgh. She taught in a primary school in Scotland and has experience working with children with a wide range of ages and support needs.
After moving to Iceland in August 2013, she began working with Moðurmál English Program as an English teacher. Lucy spent one year working with 1st- 4th grade Icelandic children in an after-school programme in Breiðagerðiskóli. There, Lucy coordinated a variety of activities for the children. Lucy volunteered at the International School of Iceland starting in January 2014 and taught IPC and English before becoming a homeroom teacher in Fall 2014.
Lucy studied dance at college and enjoys craft making. She has worked as an arts and crafts specialist at Green Chimney's Summer Camps in New York for the past four years.
Marianne Skovsgård Nielsen, Danish Teacher
Marianne is born in Denmark. She and her family moved to Iceland in 1989. Marianne has a Bachelor degree in problem-and project orientated social work with emphasis on teamwork from Ålborg University, Denmark. She worked in this field in Copenhagen prior moving to Iceland. Once arrived in Iceland, She attended numerous courses at the University of Iceland in Icelandic, Danish, Spanish and translating skills.
Marianne works mainly as a translator, interpreting various professional and technical texts in Danish, Icelandic and English, including conference material, software and web sites: e.g. medical, psychological, engineering, Master’s and Doctorate material and historical texts, as well as proofreading Danish. As a language teacher, she teaches courses in Danish as a second language and “Móðurmál”/Mother tongue Danish for individuals and groups as well as private lessons to students in primary and secondary school and courses for children in The Nordic Association.
Mirjam de Waard, Math, Science & STEAM Teacher
Mirjam de Waard has many years of teaching experience working in the Netherlands, Guyana and Iceland. She has taught all levels, from kindergarten to university preparation. Mirjam has a Master’s degree in Biochemistry and Education from the University of Nijmegen, the Netherlands, with a specialisation in Montessori teaching.
Mirjam is a very dedicated and motivated person who wants students to leave her classroom feeling confident and successful. It is her goal to create a community of learners who are committed to working hard in a spirit of cooperation and fun.
Besides her teaching career, she is the author of a bestselling Dutch-language guide book on Iceland and works as a mountain leader during summer. Outdoor activities are her passion.
Ólafur Schram, Music Teacher
Ólafur graduated from the University of Iceland with a B.Ed in 1998 and has taught music ever since. He is a full-time music teacher at our host school, Sjálandsskóli, and has taught ISI students since 2007. In addition, he works part-time at the University of Arts. Alongside his teaching, he is working on a MA degree at the University of Iceland.
Music is Óli´s passion and he is both a classical and jazz pianist. He can also play various other instruments, when necessary. In his free time, he creates educational materials for the National Association of Educational Materials, plays football, reads and, of course, listens to music!
Pamala Hansford, Homeroom Teacher & Head of Middle School
Pam has a Diploma in Educational studies from the University of Iceland. She also completed B.A. degrees in Icelandic for Foreigners and English at the same university.
Originally from England, Pam worked in scientific research before setting off on her travels. She lived and worked in Australia and Israel before arriving in Iceland in 1986. During her time in Iceland, Pam has taught English in Icelandic primary and secondary education, adult ESL and in the Moðurmál English Program.
At ISI, she teaches English and Humanities. Pam is passionate about literature and all things connected to reading. As a result, she is perfectly suited to being the school librarian.
Pam has been the Middle School coordinator since September 2016.
Pam has been teaching at the International School of Iceland since 2004, apart from the 2011-2012 school year, when she was on sabbatical at the International School of Oslo.