Dr. Virpi Vatanen comes to us from Maunula Secondary School and Helsinki School of Mathematics, one of the leading middle and secondary schools in Finland, offering education in Finnish and English. Dr. Vatanen has spent the last 15 years at Maunula serving as Assistant Principal in charge of middle school and teaching Chemistry and Physics. Dr. Vatanen holds an MSc and PhD in Physical Chemistry from University of Jyvaskyla, one of the top 100 universities in the world, a Teacher Diploma in Physics and Chemistry and a degree in Education Administration (Qualification for Principals) from Finnish National Board of Education. Previously, Dr. Vatanen has worked at the University of Jyvaskyla as a researcher and has published in leading journals of Physical Chemistry. Dr. Vatanen’s approach to leadership, teaching and learning is welfare through education. To her, every child is valuable as him-/herself and deserves a safe physical, mental and social environment to practice and learn new skills – even through errors – individually and in groups. Dr. Virpi has taught Chemistry and Physics mainly in the Secondary School with grades 7 to 9. Her method to teaching is a problem / question oriented, where students can find answers co-operating together by doing guided experiments and research projects. Learning process is enriched by shared discussions, notes and results. Technology is used when it is appropriate. “As educators and leaders we are obliged to provide every child a unique path to learn and develop according to his or hers own abilities, together with the families we must enhance and nurture their passion seek knowledge for the future.” Dr. Vatanen will lead the school based on best practices of Finnish education system and will particularly focus on training and coaching international and local teachers in further implementing the Finnish philosophy and pedagogy in learning. She will also be teaching a few classes in Physics and Chemistry at our school.
Vice Principal and Biology Teacher
Born in England in a Greek Cypriot family, Dr. Tassos Anastasiades is an education veteran with over 35 years of experience of which more than 20 in international education. He joins us from Edubridge International School in Mumbai India, where he was Head of School. Dr. Anastasiades has a plethora of experience which includes, Director of Ajman Academy in UAE where he led the school to accreditation with IBO, CIS, BSO, and Apple Distinguished School, Principal of Dubai Gem Private School, Director of Quality Assurance at Innoventures Education across four schools and headships and school leadership positions in UK, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, China, Nigeria, Zambia, Malaysia and Cyprus. For many years he has been an expert and accreditation team leader with Council of International Schools (CIS). Dr. Anastasiades has a PhD in Biochemistry (Nottingham University,) MA Education (Bath University), MBA Educational Leadership (Leicester University) and National Professional Qualification for Headship. Leadership of progress and attainment tracking with a focus on all students making above expected progress through quality teaching interventions is one of his personal targets. Dr. Tassos is above all a teacher, inspiring learners, and has taught all Sciences and particularly Biology and Chemistry to A level and DP. His innovative approaches to teaching, are typically described as learner-centred – with an emphasis on student self-assessment, students actively designing their own learning activities, working collaboratively in teams on projects, and particularly designing projects that cut across the traditional subject or disciplinary lines. His philosophy is that “as educators and leaders our most important role is to empower students to become independent learners and to develop the skills to navigate in a technology driven, ever changing world.” Most recently Dr. Tassos has achieved qualifications in Positive Psychology and is an advocate of mindfulness and well-being. Dr. Anastasiades will work with our leadership and staff to develop further the Upper Secondary School and integrate Cambridge A Levels into our Finnish curriculum and pedagogy, as well as lead the school efforts in obtaining CIS Accreditation, the gold standard in international education. Dr. Anastasiades will also teach A Level Biology and will help teachers with assessment and integrating CAT4 (Cognitive Abilities Test) into our curriculum as a means to providing better understanding of our students’ abilities and developing Student Individual Learning Plans.
Ms. Stella Sichrovsky
Head Kindergarten Teacher
Stella Sichrovsky has over 15 years of experience in teaching in early years and ESL of which 9 years working within kindergartens. For the last two years she has worked as Early Years Teacher at World International School of Torino in Italy while before that has lived and worked in China for most of her career. Stella has an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development from Penn Foster College and a BSc in Child Development from Walden University, both in the U.S. In addition to this, she has been trained and worked in Montessori method and is certified in working with children with special needs. She holds a TEFL Certificate and is a qualified ESL teacher and has a level 6 proficiency
Dr. Katrianna Raunio
Primary school teacher and Teacher of Global Perspectives and Geography
Dr. Katrianna Raunio joins our school this year as 1st grade teacher and 0-2 grades coordinator, after 8 years of teaching in one of the Helsinki primary schools. She has a pervasive teaching experience from primary up to university level. Dr. Raunio is recognized as one of Finland’s 100 innovators in Education by Hundred.org and received the “Teachers can award” for creating novel and innovative teaching methods and pedagogical models by University of Helsinki. She has a BA and MA in Education (Primary School teaching) and a BSc and MSc in Agriculture and Forestry and a PhD in Environmental Studies all from University of Helsinki. Before embarking on a primary teaching career, Dr. Raunio was a research in higher education pedagogy at University of Helsinki and has published in top journals. Her teaching philosophy is: “For me, it is important to facilitate meaningful learning experiences on a daily basis and to build creative learning environments. My educational research focuses on assessment practices and teacher thinking. The philosophy of critical pedagogy is driving praxis in my classroom; empowerment, ownership, critical thinking and makers’ culture are the keywords of my teaching. I closely collaborate with my colleagues and with the families of students.
Ms. Emily Exter
Primary school teacher
Ms. Emily Exter has been teaching primary aged children for over 3 years. She was born and raised in South Africa and moved to the UK 10 years ago where she completed her degree in Primary Education. She is passionate about helping children and strongly believe in building secure and meaningful relationships with them. She enjoys arts, music, travelling and family and friends are an important part of her life.
Ms. Elisa Juola
Primary school teacher
Ms. Elisa Juola comes from Rovaniemi, Finland. Rovaniemi is a really nice town in southern Lapland in the Arctic Circle and it’s the home town of Santa Claus. Ms. Juola is really excited and happy to start working as a class teacher in the Finnish school of Kosovo and she is looking forward to learning new things and sharing her knowledge of the Finnish approach of learning. Ms. Juola has ten years working experience in Saari elementary school in Rovaniemi and an MA in Education from University of Lapland. Her personal interests are in playful learning and physical education. She wants to guide and teach students with the joy of learning and support them to succeed.
Mr. Matthew Rowlingson
MSc Matthew Rowlingosn grew up in the UK and has a Masters degree in Chemistry with a PGCE in Secondary Education. Teaching has always been his passion and with 5 years of experience, his focus is on developing strong and respectful relationships with the students. In his spare time, he enjoys socializing with family and friends, cooking and playing sports.
Ms. Diellëza Troni
Primary School Teacher
Diellëza obtained her Bachelor’s degree in the English language department at the University of Pristina “Hasan Prishtina”, and she is currently working on her Master’s thesis at South East European University on the Assessment Methodologies for Primary and Secondary Schools in Kosovo. Her career as a teacher started four years ago as she has been volunteering for a youth center. She has been teaching students of different ages in private courses and kindergartens as well. Apart from that, she has been proofreading and editing research papers for international journals. “I have been fortunate and blessed to be teaching in an amazing school that has a nurturing, loving environment where children can learn and experience new challenges that will help build their confidence while they play. I look forward to continuing to have a positive impact on the children’s growth and to discoveries with an amazing team of teachers.”
Ms. Natyra Abdullahu
Natyra Abdullahu is originally from Presheva, Serbia but was raised in the United Stated of America. She moved to Kosovo to enhance her learning experience and challenge herself. She completed her degree in Speech Pathology. Natyra has completed many practices and works well with early age children and children with special needs. Since speech and language development is the most important part of children’s growth, Natyra is the Preschool teacher in the Finnish School. She has been with us since the beginning starting out as a teaching assistant for the 0-2 grades. Natyra is very passionate about the work she does and has the benefit to educate young children and create an amazing classroom atmosphere.
Ms. Ylberina Mahmutaj
Ylberina finished her Bachelor studies at the University of Prishtina in English Language and Literature and is completing her Masters studies. Her experience includes working as teacher of English as first and second language for 4 years and has been a TOEFL trainer at the same time. Her experience includes working with different age groups starting from 7 to 30 years old. This is her second year in the Finnish School International. Ylberina IGCSE and AS English to grades our students. “I really think that teachers give a great contribution in changing students’ lives. I strongly believe in the ability of young generations in reaching full potential to change the world. So I try to support and teach them to be the positive change that everybody wants to see in our society.”
Ms. Bulza Havolli
Music and Drama Teacher
Bulza is the music and drama teacher at Finnish School of Kosova. She has finished her studies at the Academy of Arts in the “University of Pristina” for opera singing. Bulza has also collaborated with many businesses and educational institutions in Kosovo where she has held music sessions and has helped many students to develop their music skills through personal singing and piano courses. Bulza is a born musician who has been a part of many children’s music choirs since her early years and her passion for singing has led her to attend many concerts and festivals. She has started playing musical instruments from an early age when she now enjoys a wide spectrum of playing on many instruments such as piano, guitar, recorder and various percussion instruments. Bulza has completed many different trainings such as the use of Electronic Music Software and training sessions for Group Management through Non-formal Education.
Ms. Doruntina Maliqi
Doruntina finished her Bachelor studies in English Language and Literature from University of Prishtina and has obtained a Masters degree in English Language Teaching from South East European University from North Macedonia.
“Ever since I started teaching, I have been passionate in my commitment to four things: maximizing individual student performance, developing a student-centered classroom, doing my utmost to develop their critical thinking skills and instilling a sense of self-worth among all students.” Her participation in different trainings in Kosovo and abroad such as: Project Based Learning, Integrating Technology in the Classroom, Differentiated Instruction in the Classroom have equipped her with a lot of knowledge and skills, thus challenging her to use multiple methods to engage and reach as many students as possible during the learning process.
Ms. Besa Bajrami
Besa Bajrami graduated from the University of Prishtina in her Bachelor studies in Graphics and has obtained also a Masters degree in Graphics. From 2014, she has worked as a Face Pint artist in several centres and also as event creator artist. Her previous teaching experience include the position of Arts Teacher at public and pricate schools in Kosovo of over 4 years. She actively participates in art exhibitions and her knowledge of caligraphy and design programs is extensive. She joined our team at Finnish School of Kosovo in January 2020 as Art Teacher
Ms. Shemsije Tigani
Albanian and Home Economics Teacher
Shemsije finished her studies in Albanian Language at the University of Prishtina. Her background consists of a lot of teaching experiences in several schools in Kosovo. She joined our school 3 years ago. “It is an honor to combine Finnish educational system with the one from Kosovo. As an Albanian Language Teacher, this only makes our literature richer and richer every day!”
Ms. Minire Shala
Minire joined our team as German teacher two years ago but her experience as a German teacher is over 20 years. She teaches students of different age, both children and adults. In her work with them she uses different props and TPR techniques and is also able to balance between the right amount of the teaching and having fun in order to make the class engaging for the student. “My primary goal is to help my students improve their German skills and gain self-confidence so that they can freely express their thoughts and attitudes in German.”
Ms. Anita Lukaj
and Psychology Teacher
Meet our school counselor and Psychology Teacher – Anita Lukaj. It’s Anita’s second year working for FSI. Anita was always curious to understand what affects people’s thoughts, feelings & behavior, and that’s why she decided to study Psychology. Helping people find their way to manage these three processes is the main thing that keeps her motivated to do her job. Anita has finished her Psychology studies at the University of Pristina and is about to finalize her Master studies and gain a “Social and Organizational Psychologist” title. Her first working experience as a special education teacher has helped her to understand kids’ world better. Self-education and self- love are the main purposes which she wants to achieve with her students, cause that will help students to know how to manage everyday situations without forgetting to love themselves and also be right with others.
Ms. Arjeta Godanci
Arjeta joined our school as French Teacher back in 2018. Previously, she had worked at several public and private schools. She holds a Masters Degree in Education from the University of Pristina. Currently, she is pursuing her second Masters in Management and Informatics. “My passion towards art has always been present in my life. In our school I have a fun club when I teach origami and other paper crafts”.
Mr. Flamur Kaçiu
Flamur teaches Business Studies. He holds M.Sc. from the Anadolu University, Turkey and now a Ph.D. student at the University of Prishtina. He is very keen on management education and believes in using a variety of teaching and learning methods for competency development.
Ms. Blerta Babatinca
Blerta completed her bachelor studies in mathematics at the University of Prishtina, Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and is now pursuing a master’s degree in teaching mathematics at the University of Prishtina. She is passionate about teaching and math and always helps and challenges her students so they get the most from the lesson and themselves. Her primary goal is to guide and teach them with the joy of learning and support them to succeed.
Ms. Ardita Hoxha-Shala
Physical Education Teacher
Ardita finished her Masters studies in Physical Education from the University of Prishtina. She has over 10 years of work experience as a PE Teacher and 20 years of experience as active athlete (Athletic and Handball). Her work experience also include 4 years as BootCamp Instructor at the US Embassy in Prishtina, and 2 years as participant in Handball Coaching Course organized by the Olympic Committee in Pula/Croatia. “Working with teens you have to have the patience of the whole world, knowing how to find the way to keep them engaged, motivated and staying active/healthy. My hobby is to spend as much time outdoors walking and cycling.”
Ms. Gresa Bajraktaraj
Math and IT Teacher
Gresa finished her Bachelor studies in Mathematics at the University of Prishtina, Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences and is about to conclude her Master studies in Teaching Mathematics. She has a great interest in mathematics, science, art and enjoys working with children and giving them the space to be creative and self-improve. “I find education as a powerful tool for a better life. Success in personal and professional life comes from the right education. Education itself includes all goals, forms, methods that prepare students for life and builds their self-esteem, the feeling of love, care and pride.”
Ms. Jetmira Dobruna
Jetmira finished her Bachelor studies in Albanian Language and Literature at the University of Prishtina and also has a Master Degree on Teaching and Curriculum. With over 10 years of experience in working as a teacher, she has also attended several trainings in the field of teaching and management including here crucial areas such as curriculum implementation, performance evaluation, language and communication, reading, writing, and critical thinking, etc.
Ms. Artë Blakaj
Teaching Assistant in Kindergarten (Germia Campus)
Arte Blakaj is an experienced teacher with children of different ages. She has finished her Bachelor studies in Psychology at the University of Prishtina and has undergone several trainings regarding early childhood development. Besides this area, she has also been trained in managing behavioral problems for children with autism, identifying learning difficulties in children and intervention methods, and also in identification, evaluation, and intervention in early childhood. Her work experience includes also the profile of special educational needs teaching assistant in kindergartens. She has taught diverse groups of students with autism, ADHD, and learning disabilities, and possesses the skills in differentiated instruction, assistive technology, and multi-sensory lesson planning.
Ms. Florida Ademaj
Teaching Assistant in Kindergarten (Germia Campus)
Florida Ademaj has several years of experience in teaching in kindergartens and primary schools. She finished her MA studies in Theoretical and Scientific Pedagogy and her Bachelor studies in General Pedagogy. She works closely with children of different ages and supports children in any areas necessary. Her previous experience of over 4 years in educational institutions have equipped her with the necessary skills and knowledge on how to take care of the children and create a loving and comforting environment.
Ms. Bardha Gërdovci
Teaching Assistant in Kindergarten (Main Campus)
Bardha is an early childhood teacher with eight years working background in New York plus two years working in Prishtina. Finished bachelor’s degree in Liberar Arts- Psychology at St. John’s University in New York. Also, finished Masters degree in Fielding Graduate University in Media ‘Psychology in Los Angeles, California. “I believe that with a positive attitude and positive reinforcing environment children will grow a healthy mental and physical life style. Let’s educate our future leaders!”
Ms. Amire Qerimi
Teaching Assistant in Kindergarten (Main Campus)
Amire finished her Bachelor studies from the University of Prishtina “Hasan Prishtina” on English Language and Literature. She has been an exchange student in Michigan, US, and has studied English for one academic year at Saginaw Valley State University, where she attended several intenrship programs as an English Teacher to ELP students. Moreover, she studied at the University of Applied Sciences in Nysa, Poland, where she finished other internship programs in public schools. With over five years of experience in teaching worldwide, she facilitates learning and helping to develop skills to our youngest learners. Her teaching philosophy primarily focuses on developing grit toward learning and exploration of the world we live in, simultaneously creating a safe environment for the children.
Ms. Lurjana Krasniqi
Teaching Assistant in Primary School
Lurjana Krasniqi holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Prishtina where she is also currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature. She has been teaching students for over two years and has worked in different schools, language centers and courses. Lurjana is characterized by an idealistic nature and regards teaching as her way of making a change in the world. The possibility of having an impact on her students’ life inspires her every day. In the classroom, she strives to create a fun and positive learning environment, nurture a love of learning, build strong and meaningful relationships with students and encourage their creativity. Apart from education, she is also passionate about reading books and creative writing.