Contact us: +372 742 4241 | info@istartu.ee

People

Kristi Aria

Principal

I was born and raised in southern Estonia and have lived in Tartu over 20 years. I am qualified as a primary school teacher and English as a foreign language teacher. I hold a master’s degree in school management from Tartu University. 

I have worked for Tartu International School since its foundation in 2001. As the first teacher and principal I was given a wonderful opportunity to help to create and develop our school. This has been, and still is, an exciting and inspiring journey! 

At TIS we are proud of the caring and inclusive ethos via which we set high standards and expectations for our students and teachers so that they can achieve their very best. It is very important for me that all our students and staff members feel happy and safe at school. I believe that a friendly and welcoming environment helps us all work and achieve better. 

As principal I am privileged to lead a group of dedicated, professional and talented teachers and staff members. They introduce themselves in short profiles below, but really, I hope that you will get a chance to meet them in person at our school in Tartu. Tartu successfully combines the infrastructure and facilities of a big city and the green and friendly environment of a small town; it is a wonderful place to work and learn. Welcome!

Kristi Aria is laureate of the Tartu School Leader of the Year 2018 award and was a nominee for the Estonian School Leader of the Year 2018. In 2016 Kristi was awarded a Citizen’s Day award by the Estonian Ministry of the Interior for bringing together the national and international communities of Tartu. Kristi has been awarded with the Baltic Defence College Medal of Merit Bronze.

Maris Vohla

PYP Coordinator

I was born in a little town called Kohtla-Järve that is located in the north-east of Estonia, only 50 km from the Russian border. I spent my childhood there until I graduated upper secondary school and moved to Tartu to study to be an Estonian as a foreign language teacher. After graduating, I moved to London to learn English and to travel. I started working at TIS in 2005 and have remained since then. I have also worked teaching adult learners in a Russian school. Working at TIS is positively challenging and there are never two years that are alike. The positive, friendly, and tolerant atmosphere creates an endearing place for both students and teachers.

Liis Pariis

Head of Studies, Teacher for Children Ages 5 and 6

I was born in Tartu but very soon afterwards my parents moved to a little village near Viljandi. There I had a wonderful childhood in the middle of the countryside. After graduation from high school in Viljandi, where I took an advanced study class in English, I decided to take one year off. Life led me to Italy where I worked as a babysitter. After coming back to Estonia I started studying educational sciences at Tartu University. Throughout my studies I worked as a kindergarten teacher in two different kindergartens. After graduation I moved to Finland where I also worked as a teacher at an English-immersion kindergarten. As an Estonian my heart will always belong to Estonia, so after six years I came back.

I have been working at TIS since September 2017. It has been a great journey full of new experiences and knowledge, wonderful children and good friendships. I love my work!

I spend most of my free time with my family. We love to take nature trips, go to the cinema and theatre, and experience new things. 

Edyta Kalmus 

Kindergarten Teacher for Ages 3 and 4

My name is Edyta Kalmus and I am from Poland. I was born in Łódź, one of the biggest cities in Poland, where I spent my childhood and went to school. 

During my studies I came to Tartu as an exchange student for just one year. The plan was to experience the international environment and go back home but I fell in love with Tartu. There is something about this town – it’s so welcoming and friendly, not too big and not too small, with a lot of great people! I had no choice but to stay. I have been living here since 2007 and I am not planning to move away. During my studies I met my partner and we have three children together.

I joined Tartu International Kindergarten in 2010. I feel like the people I work with are my second family. We spend a lot of time together, we support each other in good and bad times and, most importantly, we share the same goal – to provide the best education for children.

I speak Polish and English fluently; additionally, I can communicate in Estonian and French. In my free time I like doing jigsaw puzzles, playing board games and experimenting in the kitchen. 

Hanna-Liisa Roone

Kindergarten Teacher for Ages 1½ to 2

I grew up in a small village in eastern Estonia. After graduating high school I lived in Tallinn, but I decided to move to Tartu to study tourism management at Tartu vocational education centre; thanks to that, I lived for six months in New Jersey, USA. When I came back I started to train as an early-years teacher at Tartu University. My mother tongue is Estonian. I have worked at TIS since 2020 and I am really happy to be here! My students have little hands and big hearts. I’m proud to be a kindergarten teacher.

Krista Pensa

Teacher’s Assistant

One of my first jobs was to be a nanny for an 8-month-old child. Today, this child is already 25 years old and I am a mother to three children. I have been an au pair in Germany, Denmark and the United States. My studies in tourism took me to California, where one of my tasks was to entertain the children. I think I did a good job. I received pedagogical early-childhood education at Tartu Health Care College, where there was also a great emphasis on children’s health and first aid. I’m also a big fan of Waldorf pedagogy and I’m constantly supplementing myself with ideas from this. I enjoy working among people from different cultures.

Eevi Allikvee

Dinner Lady

I was born in a small village called Puhja and have lived my whole life in Tartu. I am a trained baker. I have had many jobs and they have all been connected to food. I have worked as a baker in restaurant Volga, as a chef in a kindergarten, as a beer maker in Tartu Beer Factory and a baker in Astri Bakery. And now I have been working in Tartu International School for more than a decade already.