Secondary Humanities and Economics teacher, Grade 12 advisor
Mena Abal has over 9 years of international teaching experience. She was born in New Jersey, USA, and raised in Argentina. She holds a MA in International Economics and Finances from Chulalongkorn University and graduated with honors from Montclair State University with a BA in Economics. During her studies, she worked at an Accounting firm where she learned about Accounting and Personal Finances. After finishing her graduate studies she worked in the field of Economic Development for several years. She worked for international organizations such as the United Nations in Thailand. From an early age, Mena recognized the importance of education to empower individuals and countries. It was for that reason that she volunteered at a local NGO in New Jersey to teach English classes to immigrants. Throughout the years she continued promoting education and used her knowledge in Economics to empower women in rural areas in India and Ecuador. She taught Personal Finance and Business classes to low-income households and helped fundraise to build schools in Ghana. She spends her summers visiting countries and learning about new cultures as well as volunteering with NGOs to improve the life of the people living in those counties.
Secondary Biology teacher, Mission & Service Coordinator, Grade 7 advisor
Early Years teacher (Linden)
I am a qualified Early Childhood educator from Latvia with 20 years of experience in IB PYP. My former preschool students are now taller than I am! I have worked with children of different ages in an English speaking environment and in various capacities all my professional life. I was there at the beginning of ISR. I love working with children from all over the world and I think it is an honor and a big responsibility to be the child’s first teacher! I wish all my students lots of exploration and free spirited happiness throughout the process of learning what this world is about!
Secondary Latvian teacher, Grade 8 advisor
I was born and raised in Latvia. I have been working at ISR for more than 20 years, the entire time of this school’s existence. I have two bachelor’s degrees – as a Latvian language teacher and also as a Psychologist and a Master’s degree in Pedagogy. I am currently studying for a Ph.D. I love being a teacher, and especially at this school! An international community of students, parents and teachers gives a broad vision of the world and gives the opportunity to always learn, accept and understand something new. The work of a teacher is challenging, but my belief is that a positive and encouraging atmosphere in the learning process is the best that a teacher can give to students to help them grow.
Grade 3 Homeroom teacher
I was born in Latvia and have had a lifelong passion for teaching, particularly in an international setting. I firmly believe that effective teaching is the cornerstone of nurturing individual talents and building self-confidence in children. Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to work with exceptional students and families who are committed to their child’s learning. I am deeply committed to personal excellence and continuously seek out innovative approaches to education.My three sons have been my greatest teachers, offering me a unique perspective on education from a parent’s point of view.
Secondary Physics and Chemistry teacher, Grade 12 advisor
I started my journey through education at a time, which I describe to my students as BC – before calculators! I began my teaching career (1986) in the school that I myself had attended, which often made me think, “If I ever had children would I be a good enough teacher for them?” This thought has been the philosophy underpinning my attitude towards my work and any task that I have undertaken. I have been involved with the IB since 1994, teaching both Chemistry and Physics, as well as holding a number of posts of responsibility within the Diploma Programme, including CAS Coordinator and IB Diploma Programme Coordinator. I am also a part of the larger IB community – International Educators Network (IBEN) as an examiner for the internal assessment (IA) for Physics since 2007 and a workshop leader for Chemistry and Physics since 2010. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or if I can perhaps help in any way!
Early Years Support teacher (Linden)
Secondary French teacher, Grade 8 advisor
Secondary English teacher, Extended Essay Coordinator
I graduated with a degree in English writing from Concordia College. While waiting to have lunch with my mom one day in her classroom, I realized she had the best job in the world. I returned to school to get my Masters in Education and began teaching the next year. After teaching high and middle in the US for quite a while, I became fascinated with the idea of teaching abroad. With nine suitcases, I packed up my family and moved to Indonesia to teach at the Intercultural School of Surabaya. When not reading essays or preparing for classes, I like to write, and I have a middle-grade novel coming out in August of 2023 from a publisher in the US.
Secondary History and Social Studies teacher
I was born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. I studied German and Latin at Concordia College, and later added endorsements in Health/PE and Social Studies. I have been teaching and working with young people for a little over 20 years. After teaching in Minnesota and Montana in the US, my family and I moved to Surabaya, Indonesia to begin our international teaching careers. While teaching there, we had some wonderful colleagues and neighbors from Latvia. After finishing out time there, we took the opportunity to come teach and live here in Riga.
Secondary Math teacher, Grade 11 advisor
I started working in the oil and gas industry as a field engineer in Ohio. I ended up moving to teaching and worked at public schools in Montana. ISR is my first international job and I am enjoying the new experience and challenge that comes with being an international educator.
Secondary English teacher, Grade 9 advisor
Both my wife and I have been teaching internationally since 2000. This is our sixth international school that we have worked in. While we have enjoyed many places and learning communities, we have found Latvia and ISR very welcoming. Teaching and learning has many facets: interests, cooperation, communication and planning are just a few of the ways we can enjoy being involved in schools. Whether we have been in Guinea, China, The Dominican Republic, Azerbaijan, Morocco, or Latvia, we have enjoyed our experiences living and working as international teachers. Thank you to ISR for appreciating what we can learn together.
Grade 1 Homeroom teacher
I decided that I want to be a teacher when I was in Year 1 in England which would be the same as KG here. I had an inspiring teacher that made learning fun. Even now I aspire to do the same to all the children I teach. I recieved my BA hons in Primary Education from St Martins colege andhave been teaching for 16 years. I have been lucky enough to teach from 3-18 year old and in the UK, Egypt, UAE and now Latvia. I have a passion for sports and love to try anything that keeps me young and active.
Grade 4 Homeroom teacher
Secondary Geography and Humanities teacher, TOK Coordinator
Originally from northern Canada, but I grew up as an international student in the jungles of Sulawesi and the megacity of Jakarta. After graduating with my IB Diploma I went back to Canada for university and began my career teaching game development and design theory to university and high school students. However the thought of going back international was always there and I missed the adventures of teaching and learning alongside students who brought new ideas, new perspectives, and cultural understandings. Now in my third year at ISR and can certainly say I am always learning something new from my colleagues, parents, and students.
Secondary Computer Science teacher, Grade 10 advisor
Early Years Support teacher (Kindergarten)
I was born and grew up in Riga, Latvia. Since my childhood, I always knew, that someday I would be a teacher. When graduating from the university, I received my teaching certificate and became a part of the ISR community by teaching Early Years students by helping children to discovering the world around them. During my free time I like being in the nature, reading, painting, traveling and learning all about Italy, it’s culture and language. I believe that a good eduaction is the key to unlocking the world around us, building bridges and inspiring people.
I was born and raised in Jurmala, Latvia. My journey in education started in 2019 and I am happy to be apart of the ISR family!
Early Years teacher (Maple)
I am an ISR’s “dinosaur.” I have been in this school since its beginning (1997) and have experienced all its changes and challenges. As a teacher, I am “forever young” since I have always worked with the best age – Preschool children. These kids help keep creativity, patience, and good humour balanced through the years. My education also helps. I have my Masters in Education and Management of Culture and a Certificate in EY Education from the University of Latvia. The other passion of my life is traditional culture. I enjoy performing traditional Latvian songs and sharing my knowledge during various traditional events in Latvia and abroad. I am always open to new challenges and experiences.
Secondary Spanish teacher, Grade 10 advisor
Secondary Math teacher, Grade 10 advisor
I am originally from Minneapolis Minnesota, so the “cold” of Riga is not bad at all. This is currently my 11th year teaching, spending 7 years in Portland Oregon 2 years in Saudi Arabia and now in my second year at ISR. Teaching math is something I enjoy and my hope is that my students can see my passion for math. Living in Riga has been a fantastic opportunity for myself and my family.
Secondary Chemistry teacher, Grade 11 Advisor
Teaching, living, and experiencing the cultures of Canada, the United Arab Emirates, China, South Korea, India, Jamaica, Hong Kong, and Latvia since 1997, I have had the pleasure of teaching science in a meaningful and purposeful way. “Learn to do by doing” is the motto of 4-H, a youth organization that I was actively involved in from age nine to twenty-one. This motto is my philosophy of teaching, too. I believe that modeling what you would like others to do is the best way to achieve results, whether with students or colleagues. I make mistakes, I admit them, and I hope that my students would do the same.
Latvian Language teacher
I was born and raised in Kuldīga. Kuldīga is one of the most charming and magical towns in Latvia. It is the pearl of Courland for those who appreciate history and charm. I love working with children and seeing their eyes light up when they discover something new. In 2014 I started my career at ISR by working as a support teacher. I have a bachelor’s degree in pedagogy, qualification as a primary teacher and a Latvian language teacher in primary and middle school. I am passionate about Latvian culture and traditions, and also actively participate in the worldwide Latvian family camp ‘3×3’ organization.
Primary music teacher
I was born and raised in Latvia, where I developed my passion for music and singing. According to my parents, first I started singing, then talking. I graduated from Riga Cathedral Choir school and received a Bachelor’s education in jazz vocals and pedagogy from the Jāzeps Vītols Latvian music academy. As a student, I had a chance to study in Germany, “Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg” for a half year. I have been teaching music and singing since I was a student. I have had a chance to teach singing to kids with special needs from the organization “Nāc Līdzās”. I appreciate being a part of the international community and love being a part of ISR.
PK – 12 Librarian
Secondary German & Latvian teacher, Grade 7 advisor
As my name, Līga, indicates, I was born in Latvia, in Riga where I attended a school that was only 5 minutes away from my home. There I discovered my passion for languages. I then went to study German language and literature at the University of Latvia, still in Riga, where I passed a master of Germanistic. I also studied at the “Universität Rostock” in Germany. I started to work at ISR in 2014 in Preschool and I made my way up to Secondary where I now teach German and Latvian from Grade 6 to Grade 12.
Athletics Director, ASAA Coordinator, Secondary PE teacher, Grade 6 advisor
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest of America where I developed my love of sports and the outdoors. At university I studied science and curriculum development at Gonzaga University (GO BULLDOGS!) Eastern Washington University (GO EAGLES!) and Nova Southwestern University (GO SHARKS!). For the last 20 years I have taught Science, Math and PE, and I can honestly say I love my job. I now get to help create engaging activities and manage the athletics here at ISR (GO BEARS!!!!!!!!)
Secondary EAL teacher, Grade 9 advisor
Early Years Support teacher (Maple)
I grew up in Seattle, Washington, in the northwest corner of the United States. Surrounded by water, mountains, and forests, I spent much of my childhood playing outside. I took my first international trip to the capitals of Asia with my grandma when I was 9, discovering early that there are many ways to live life. During college, I studied French in Grenoble, France, and earned my BA in French and English. After a year of teaching French in Seattle after-school programs, I returned to school for my Master’s in Teaching from Seattle University. As a middle school French teacher in Seattle, I began my official teaching journey. Thoroughly enjoying the experience, my husband and I decided to teach internationally. We started in a small village in Guinea, West Africa, in 2000 and have been teaching abroad ever since. I have endorsements in K-12 EL, French, English, and Language Arts. Here at ISR, I enjoy spending the day collaborating with colleagues and English learners as they challenge themselves, and each other, to learn, laugh, support one another, and grow. ISR is the home away from home of many creative, wise, and witty humans. I am thankful for the opportunity to share and learn with this community in lovely Latvia.
Secondary Art teacher, Grade 8 advisor
I am born in Latvia. From five years of age, I knew I would be an artist. I liked to do art and took the challenge to enter Jana Rozentals art school in Riga. I have been practicing art since finishing the art school, working on art-related projects, and privately tutoring adults and children. In between, I received a Bachelor’s education in Psychology. My international experience started in Egypt, where I taught art to grade 4-8 students in one of the international schools for three years. Later, back in Latvia, I worked in several private schools and am now at ISR for the 4th year. I like observing our students develop their artistic skills by responding to different art challenges and being proud of their successes.
Primary PE teacher
Primary Latvian teacher
PK – 12 SEN Coordinator
I was born in Michigan , USA but have spent most of my adult life living in the UK.
Nicola Weston Bell
Secondary EAL teacher
I grew up on the Isle of Wight, an island to the south of England. I studied Pathobiology BSc, followed by a PhD in Biomedical Science at the University of Reading in the UK and then worked for 12 years as a cancer research scientist at the University of Southampton. I found I enjoyed the teaching aspects of this role and so took an international teaching opportunity in Moscow. I joined ISR this year and am enjoying combining my scientific and English language backgrounds to support EAL students with the specialist vocabulary and skills they need for their studies.
Grade 2 Homeroom teacher
I was born and grew up in a multicultural city in Canada,Toronto. I have also lived in Germany and Australia before finding my way to my roots in Latvia. Following high school, I studied and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree with a Double Major in Dance and Psychology from York University, Canada. I gained my TESL/TESOL Certificate followed by a Master of Education Degree (MEd) at the University of Toronto. After joining the ISR community in 2010 I also continued my studies with a Postgraduate Certificate of Education from Sunderland University, UK. Some of my interests during my journey to date have included dancing (folk, ballet, and modern), music, singing, art, skiing, studying massage, pilates, travel and the exploration of nature. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of the ISR community. I enjoy the magic of facilitating learning, each individual is unique with a voice to be heard, and I learn from the students daily.
Grade 3 Support teacher
Grade 5 Support teacher
I was born and raised in Latvia in a family of teachers, so as a KG student, I said I would be a teacher when I grow up. I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in German and English linguistics with a qualification as a teacher and a translator. I started teaching languages at a school while being a student myself but after graduating chose to enhance my language experience and joined Carnival Cruise Lines as a Youth staff. During almost 11 years spent on board, I moved my way up to the position of Youth Director. I returned back to Latvia in 2013 where I joined a Language Center as an English teacher before joining the ISR community in 2015. I love teaching but I love learning as well and working at ISR gives me a great opportunity to grow!
Secondary Music teacher
Primary Art teacher
I was born and raised in Latvia, and all my work experience also sticks to my beloved country; I appreciate being part of a local and international community. I graduated from an Art high school in Riga and received a Bachelor’s education in pedagogy from the Latvian Academy of Arts. I am proud to be with the ISR from the beginning of our school. I started as a Preschool teacher for the first seven years, and now I teach art to our amazing Early Years and Primary students. I am passionate about my job and happy to see my student progress as young and independent artists.
Grade 5 Homeroom teacher
I am from Nova Scotia, a province on the east coast of Canada. I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education in Curriulum studies. I have been teaching overseas since 2001. I first realized how much I enjoyed teaching by teaching EAL in Taiwan and South Korea. Afterward, I decided to become an elementary teacher and have lived and taught in Macau, Ukraine, Singapore, The United Arab Emirates, and in Latvia. My love of nature and an eagerness to experience ‘the seasons’ after living in hot countries for eight years is what drew me to Latvia. In my spare time I enjoy hiking, reading and tea.
Early Years teacher (Kindergarten)