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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Vice Principal
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.
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.
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
Lucy originates from Scotland and graduated with a B.Ed in Primary Education from the University of Edinburgh. In 2020, she achieved a PG.Cert. in Bilingualism in Education from the University of Birmingham.
Lucy taught in a primary school in Scotland before joining ISI in 2013. During the summer breaks, she has enjoyed traveling to different parts of the world. She has worked as an arts and crafts specialist at a children’s summer camp in New York and spent two summers teaching English to children in Kenya and Bali.
In the summer of 2018, Lucy participated in an AERO workshop in Washington D.C. which focused on the teaching of English Language Arts within the curriculum.
Pamala Hansford, Homeroom Teacher & Head of High 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 High 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.
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!
Ella Budzinski, Learning Specialist & Support Coordinator
Ella grew up in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the United States before pursuing a BA at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. At UW-Madison, she earned two majors, one in Spanish and one in Communication Sciences and Disorders, as well as a certificate in Scandinavian Studies. Ella then moved to Washington State to complete an MS in Speech and Hearing Sciences.
During the Fall of 2016 Ella studied at the University of Oslo and interned at an outdoor educational program for kids in Norway ages 4-14 years. During her final year of graduate studies, she worked as an interning Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) at several different primary and secondary schools in Washington State. Ella spent a year working as a licensed SLP in early childhood intervention with the birth-three population. It is there she acquired her passions for working with families, parent/teacher coaching, and the intersections between community support, communication in children, and mental health.
Outside of being an SLP, Ella loves to learn about psychology, neuroscience, theology, art, and different languages and cultures. She also loves camping, traveling, writing, being around trees, soccer, music, spending time with loved ones, and swimming in any body of water she can find.