KIS Staff

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A high performance learning community needs a variety of staff to function well. At KIS we believe in holding a shared responsibility for our environment, where each one of us contributes with our best for the benefit of all, no matter the task. KIS staff in sum come from, and have experience from, all over the world. They are dedicated, passionate, professional – and fun to be around. KIS Staff are great mentors for your child’s point of departure into their life-long learning.

Senior Leadership Team

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Hewa Thompson

Head of School

Hewa is originally from New Zealand and has joined us from the International School of Azerbaijan, an IB World School, where he held the position of Primary Assistant Principal. Previous to this Hewa was employed as Head of School of Wroclaw International School in Poland for several years, helping to guide the school through PYP, MYP and DP accreditation. He has also previously worked at the New Zealand International School in Korea and spent time at Cortez Elementary School in Las Vegas, USA as part of an exchange programme. Hewa is an experienced and passionate IB educator, supporting IB schools throughout  Africa, Europe and the Middle East as a consultant and lead educator, leading the verification and evaluation of IB schools. Outdoor education, student agency and pastoral care are areas of particular interest for Hewa. Family, sport and the outdoors take up his leisure time and he is ready to enjoy everything Kongsberg has to offer!!

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Andrew Gregory

Business Manager

Andrew Gregory is truly the dinosaur of KIS, having worked at the school in many different capacities since it opened in 2003. He originally has a Modern Languages degree from the UK, before moving to Norway and training to be a teacher. Andrew was originally hired at KIS as a German teacher, which quickly expanded to also teaching English and PE. He has also worked as MYP Coordinator, Head of Middle School, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal. More recently, he has taken his career along a different path (although still within the education sector) by moving into administrative areas and completing the Certificate for School Business Management. An active footballer and floorball player as well as a keen cyclist, Andrew is keen on sports and most activities that involve a significant level of competition!

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Sofie Jørstad

Head of PYP and IB PYP Coordinator, Grade 1 Norwegian Teacher

Sofie Jørstad has been working in international schools around the world for over 20 years, including schools in Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, Pakistan and Germany. She has been working at KIS as Head of Primary / PYP Coordinator since 2013. She has a BA in Elementary Education from Cedarville University in Cedarville, OH, USA and a MA in International Education from the University of Bath in Bath, England. She is an IBPYP workshop leader and school visitor. She is the PYP representative to the board of Norwegian International Baccalaureate Schools.

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Hilde Bakken

Head of Middle School and IB MYP Coordinator

Hilde Bakken is originally from Sandefjord. She holds a Master of Sociology degree from the University of Bergen, where she also studied psychology and social anthropology. She studied Norwegian, public administration and counselling at the former Høyskolen i Buskerud (now USN). She also received her teacher qualification, the Praktisk Pedagogisk Utdanning, from Høyskolen i Telemark, Notodden. Hilde is the Head of Midde Years Programme and the IB MYP Coordinator.

Staff

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Alison Mulholland

MYPA Contact Teacher and Science Teacher

Alison Mulholland holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Biochemistry form Edinburgh University and a Postgraduate Certificate of Education in Biology and General Science from Strathclyde University in Glasgow.  She taught science in a range of schools in Scotland before moving to Norway.  While in Scotland she contributed to the development of a variety of national resources including producing teacher support materials for the Higher Human Biology course.  She has also trained as a ski leader and enjoys outdoor activities.  She now teaches science throughout the MYP and is subject area leader for Science, Maths and Design.

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Andrea O'Handley

PYP Grade 1 Contact Teacher

Andrea O'Handley is originally from Canada. She has been teaching grade 1 at KIS since 2015 and her 11th year teaching in the PYP.  Before she moved to Kongsberg she spent time teaching PYP in Japan. She has a Bachelors in Child and Youth from Mount Saint Vincent University in Canada and a Bachelors of education: elementary from the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada. In her free time, she loves to read and to travel. Learning about and experiencing new cultures is one of her favorite things.

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Andreas Woxen

PYP Norwegian Teacher Grade 2-6

Andreas Woxen is from Langesund, Norway. He finished his degree in education in 2022 from the University of Southeastern Norway (USN) and moved to Kongsberg the same year. He has been teaching a variety of subjects in Norwegian schools while studying. This will be his first year at KIS. He has a continued interest in the connection between learning and physical activity in the classroom. 

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Balal Shah Pasand

PYP Grade 5 contact teacher

Balal Shah Pasand was born in Afghanistan, but he was raised in Norway from about preschool age. He studied International Teacher Education for Primary School program at USN, directed towards the IB Curriculum. He graduated from the University of South-East Norway in 2020, with an emphasis on Science and Physical education. He has student-teaching experience from a number of IB schools around the world and joins us as the grade 5 teacher for the 2022-23 school year. In his free time he loves to play football and practice his photography.

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Bulent Yarligac

Cleaner and Caretaker

Bulent Yarligac comes from Adana in Turkey. In Turkey, he was a nightclub DJ in Alania and Istanbul. He did a lot of swimming and beach volleyball, activities that he is still keen on today, although rarely finds the opportunity. Bulent moved to Norway in 2006, and after studying Norwegian for 5 months, he started working at KIS as cleaner and caretaker. This is a role which he has held ever since, making him one of the longest-serving members of staff. His hobbies today are DIY and working out in the gym. He declares himself to be very happy to be part of the KIS family.

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Claudia Videira

Librarian and PYP Grade 1 Assistant

Claudia Videira is from Portugal. She has a degree in Computing and Management and was the head of the Academic services and the Library in a Portuguese university for about 20 years. She has been working at the KIS since 2013 as a teaching assistant in Grade 1, and since 2017 as the librarian. She is also the representative of the non-teaching staff to the Board. With lots of enthusiasm, she loves working with young kids. In her free time, she loves swimming, canoeing, traveling and reading.

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Diane Hansen

MYP SEN Support Teacher

Diane Hansen gained a Bachelor Degree in Civil Engineering at Brighton University. She then started working as a Senior Technical Officer for a British Rail. After having a family of three boys, she worked at Oriel High School in West Sussex, England as Design Technology Technician, while working and studying a Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) at Brighton University. She gained her Qualified Teacher Status in Design Technology and became a secondary school teacher. Since moving to Kongsberg she has been working at KIS as a cover teacher, most recently working as SEN support teacher with individual students.

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Erin Gonzalez

PYP SEN Assistant - on maternity leave

Erin is originally from Mexico where she became a social worker. She has worked in Mexico helping children who struggled with their schoolwork in orphanages and communities with low resources. In Norway she has studied to become Child and Youth Worker (BUA) and currently working towards getting her diploma. She has worked in both daycare and schools as a special needs assistant and works in an institution that houses children and youth with special needs. In her spare time Erin likes to garden, hike and run together with her family and dog.

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Hanna Pawlowski

PYP SEN Teacher

Hanna Pawlowski is originally from Germany but has been living in countries such as the USA and India. She moved to Norway in 2016 to complete her BA in International Primary Education at the University of South-Eastern Norway. During her studies she focused on special needs education. Hanna is part of the KIS staff as a Special Needs Support Teacher while completing her MA in Special Needs Education. In her free time, she likes to go hiking, playing the piano and the guitar and you will probably see her racing down the ski slopes in the winter.

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Hemangi Kulkarni

PYP Support Teacher

Hemangi Kulkarni comes from the state of Maharashtra in India. She holds a Diploma and a Bachelors degree in Teaching with a specialization in teaching English, History and Geography. She also has a Bachelors Degree in Arts, with a specialization in the English language. She has been teaching in India for the past 16 years and has always been the contact teacher of grades 3 or 4. She taught at KIS in the year 2015 – 2016 and was the contact teacher of Grade 3, but left at the end of that academic year due to personal reasons. She is now a part of the team at KIS again as a support teacher (including SEN / EAL / second teacher in English and Math). Apart from teaching, she enjoys art and craft activities, socializing, outdoor activities and travelling. Tennis is her passion, and she was also a part time tennis coach in India.

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Ida Løver-Gårderhagen

MYP Mathematics Teacher

Ida moved back to Kongsberg after living 17 years in Oslo/Bærum, where she taught upper-secondary level Science and Maths. She has a bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology, and postgraduate certificates in Education and Mathematics. She is passionate about teaching, striving to help everyone to perform at their best regardless of their premise, and to make math relevant by connecting the units to current news and historical facts. Outside of school she enjoys reading, outdoor activities and spending time with her family.

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Ida Tveiten

PYP SEN Teacher and Grade 5 Music Teacher

Ida is originally from Notodden and holds a Bachelor in Arts with an immersion in Art/Drawing (USN) and Musicology (UiO). She also has a masterdegree in Music pedagogy from the Norwegian Academy of Music (NMH), and has been teaching in Schools of music and performing arts and Norwegian public school for 16 years. Ida started working at KIS in 2022 as part of the SEN-team, and will also teach Music in G5.

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Ina Verdi-Ruckstuhl

PYP Grade 5 Contact Teacher - on maternity leave

Ina Ruckstuhl is originally from Switzerland and grew up in Cork, Ireland. Having trained at KIS during her studies, she is now a full-time member of the teaching team as the Grade 5 teacher. Ina holds a BA in archaeology and anthropology and an MSc in Migration Studies from the University of Oxford and completed a BA in International Teacher Education at the University of South-Eastern Norway. In her free time, Ina enjoys reading, playing the violin, and spending time in nature. 

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Irene Marita Jensen

PYP Norwegian Teacher Grade 1-4 and PYP Visual Arts Teacher

Irene Jensen is from Lofoten, Norway. She started her career as a pre-school teacher for 12 years. She has also worked for 9 years in Norwegian primary schools and one year with adults. She holds a degree as a Barnehagelærer with extra coursework in Norwegian reading and math. She loves to spend time outdoors and with her family.

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Jessica Page

PYP Grade 6 Contact Teacher

Jessica Page is originally from Juneau, Alaska, and is excited to be a part of the Kongsberg community.  She began teaching in 2005 when she joined Teach for America in New Mexico.  From there, she taught in Alaska, Tanzania, Brazil, and now here in Norway.  She received her BA degree from the University of Puget Sound, and her Masters of Arts in Teaching at the University of Alaska Southeast.  She is passionate about life and considers herself to be a very active person in and out of the classroom. When she is not teaching, you can find her training or enjoying the surrounding mountains.

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Joana Branco

MYP Student Support Coordinator

Joana Branco is originally from Portugal but has lived in Norway since 2012. She has a 5-year degree in Applied Psychology from ISPA, Portugal and specialized in Clinical Psychology. She holds a Master of Arts in Psychoanalysis and Management from the University of Essex, UK, and an MSc in Applied Behaviour Analysis with Autistic children and other development disorders, from ABA Spain.

Joana has worked with children and education since 2006, in a therapy centre and in cooperation with several schools before she came to Norway.

Joined KIS in 2013 and currently integrates the Student Support Centre as the school’s Educational Psychologist.

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Jorunn Vaadal Snipen

Accountant

Jorunn Snipen was born and raised in Kongsberg, and now live in Risør. She has worked with accounting, economics and HR all her professional life and has worked part-time at KIS since September 2014. In addition to her position at KIS, she also runs her own accounting firm.

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Kalyani Garkhedkar

PYP Assistant

Kalyani Garkhedkar is from Mumbai, Maharashtra in India. She holds (MCM) Master in Computer Management- IT and (BSc) Bachelor of Science- specialization Chemistry degree from India. She has diverse experience of being Teacher- Assistant in Schools to Assistant in SFO and Barnehage to Software Tester in IT field in Norway from 2012. She has been working with KIS from 2019 as Homework helper, cover teacher and volunteer for language club; she is now a part of the team as a PYP and SEN Assistant. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting, reading, arts and craft, and food blogging.

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Kjersti Vanessa Weeden

MYP Individuals and Societies and Arts  Teacher

Kjersti Vanessa Weeden has had a range of different roles in the school over the last decade and knows the school very well. She has a background from sciences both from her education and previous work experience, and with an addition of sociology and pedagogy. With a passion for the combination of technology, creativity and innovation, Kjersti is an active participant in various technology and art projects both in and out of school. She is also a contact teacher in addition to teaching science, individuals and society and performing arts.

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Laila Christiansen

MYP SEN Assistant

Laila Sørby Christiansen is originally from Sandefjord but has lived in the Kongsberg area since 2001. She works as an assistant out on the playground and in Homework Help. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, being outdoors in the garden and knitting.

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Magda Mitter

Cleaner

Magda started at KIS in 2021.

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Maha Basheer Sharaf

PYP Grade 2 Contact Teacher

Maha Sharaf is from Cairo, Egypt. She has a Bachelor degree in English Literature, a Post-Graduate Diploma in English/Arabic translation from Cairo University, and a Masters in Education from the University of Bath, UK. She has also been granted the IB Advanced Certificate in Teaching and Learning Research. She has been at KIS since 2015, teaching the IBPYP since 2008, and is in her 19th year of her teaching career. She has been mainly teaching children aged 5-7, but she also worked as a pedagogical leader for first and second grade teachers supporting them with the implementation of the IBPYP. She is an IB consultant in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East region.

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Müberra Koc

PYP Assistant

Muberra is from Turkey and holds a bachelor’s degree in English Language Teaching as Foreign Language from Uludag University in Turkey. She has lived in South Africa for five years and taught Life Orientation in an international school. She moved to Norway in 2019 and is happy to be a part of KIS team. She likes to read books and listen to songs, and she is very keen on outside activities with her family and friends.

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Neil Armstrong Arulappu

SFO Leader

Neil Armstrong is originally from Sri Lanka but has been residing in Norway since 2008. He gained Norwegian citizenship in 2015. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration (BBA Hons) from University of Jaffan, Sri Lanka and a Masters degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Sikkim Manipal University of Health, Medical and Technological Sciences of India.

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Rob Millburn

PYP Grade 4 Contact Teacher

Rob Millburn comes from England and has lived in Kongsberg since 2010 and has worked fulltime at KIS since arriving in Norway. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree, a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and a Masters Degree in Education. For his Masters Degree he focussed on online literacy which continues to be an area of interest for him. All three of his children have or are studying at KIS.

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Sierra Gentleman

MYPB Contact Teacher, Arts and English Language and Literature

Sierra Gentleman is originally from the United States and moved to Norway in July 2020. Prior to KIS, Sierra taught IB DP Visual Arts at a Boarding School in Northern Germany. Sierra has degrees in English Literature and Secondary Education from the United States and Germany. Along with a passion for literature, Sierra has an ardent interest in the Arts. Sierra is currently the MYPC Contact Teacher, and teaches English Language & Literature, English Language Acquisition and Visual Arts in the MYP. Outside of school Sierra enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, working on various art projects, and going on adventures. She is thrilled to be working at KIS and intends to settle in Norway for good.  

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Sarah Corbisier

PYP Student Support Coordinator and Music Teacher

Sarah Corbisier is originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin, but has lived in Norway since 2006. She has a BA in Music Education with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Luther College, as well as a Masters in Cultural Studies (Administration) from Telemark University College. With experience teaching all age groups from pre-schoolers through adult learners, she joined KIS in 2015. She took on her current role as Student Support Coordinator in 2017 and also teaches music in the PYP.

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Sedat Koç

MYP Design Teacher and ICT Coordinator

Sedat Koç Holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Systems Teaching.  Sedat graduated from Gazi University in Ankara. He taught high school Computer Science and Information Technology in South Africa from 2012 to 2019. He also worked as an ICDL (International Computer Driving License) coordinator and trainer in the same school in South Africa. Before starting to teach, Sedat worked as a computer programmer and network administrator for one and half years in Gazi University, Turkey. He likes sports and outdoor activities.

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Tânia Valente

MYPD contact teacher and MYP Spanish Language Acquisition Teacher

Tânia Valente is from Portugal and moved to Norway in the beginning of 2013. She holds a master’s degree in Teaching English and German as Foreign Language from The University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) in Portugal. She holds a certificate of Spanish by Instituto Cervantes and she is currently continuing her studies in a Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language Master from The University of Madrid. She has taught English and Spanish in a range of public and private institutions and schools, focusing on vocational training programmes for almost 9 years which includes adults’ teaching programmes, prison scholar programmes and a language school. She is interested in volleyball as she played it for 7 years and she still gets to get together with her team once a year while in Portugal to remember old times. She likes travelling, social activities and cabin trips.

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Tina Fjelddalen

School Secretary, Admissions and Communications Officer

Tina Fjelddalen grew up outside of Hønefoss and moved to Kongsberg to attend school. Her background is mainly in IT and she holds a certificate of apprenticeship as an ICT-systems operator. Tina started working at KIS in January 2012 and loves the varied tasks that come with the position. Outside of work she enjoys spending as much time as possible outdoors hiking, fishing, hunting and enjoying nature with her family and dogs. She also enjoys gaming and reading when time allows.

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Vegard Nygård

PYP and MYP PHE Teacher, MYP Norwegian Language Acquisition Teacher

Vegard Nygård was born and raised in Kongsberg. He holds a Masters in Sports, Physical and Outdoor Education from the former Telemark University College (now USN). Vegard teaches Physical Education in PYP and Physical Health Education in MYP. Vegard has a broad range of hobbies and spends a lot of his time kiteboarding and working out.

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Willam Dwyer III

MYPC Contact Teacher, English Language and Literature and Individuals and Societies Teacher

William Dwyer started teaching on the Navajo Reservation in the American Southwest. He has since taught in Alaska, Australia, South America, and Africa. He has a Masters in Teaching from the University of Alaska and a B.A. in Literature with a minor in environmental studies from the University of the Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington U.S.A. He has also spent several years instructing mountaineering throughout Alaska, the Andes, and the Himalaya. Mr. Dwyer teaches Language and Literature and Individuals and Societies across the grade levels of the MYP and he is the subject area leader for Languages and Individuals and Societies.

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Øyvind Berge

MYP Norwegian Language and Literature, Individuals and Societies Teacher and Career Counsellor

Øyvind Berge hails from Fyresdal in Vest-Telemark and has worked at KIS since 2015. He has degrees in Norwegian and English Language & Literature and History. His background includes teaching Norwegian Language for Foreigners at the former Telemark University College, journalism, music and working as a translator/interpreter. He is currently the MYPD Contact Teacher, Careers Counsellor and teaches Norwegian Language & Literature and Individuals & Societies in the MYP.

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Zachary Gagnon

PYP Grade 3 Contact Teacher

Zac Gagnon is originally from the east coast of Canada. He received a Bachelor of Journalism degree and later returned to university to get his Bachelor of Education. He also holds a Master of Education in Integrative Learning. Zac has been working as an educator since 2001 and within the IB programme since 2008, most recently in Bergen, Norway prior to joining the KIS team. In his free time, he loves travelling near and far, hiking and biking with his family and dog, and fishing.