Meet Our Team!
Agnar & Heidi Jo Hannisdal
Hello! We are Agnar and Heidi Jo Hannisdal, the founders of Discovery International School. Agnar is the Chairman of the Board and Heidi is the Managing Director and acting Principal of the school. We have two young daughters, Madelene and Kate, two older children, and a puppy named Watson. Recently, we also became grandparents and feel a bit older (and hopefully wiser)!!!
Our backgrounds are very different from one another, but that is part of what makes us a good team. Agnar is from the west coast of Norway, so he is able to switch easily between Nynorsk and Bokmål (much to his wife's dismay). He became part of the Norwegian Military at an early age, and has spent most of his civilian career in the defense industry. Recently, he officially retired from the military and has been consulting on defense projects using tools like Lean and Six Sigma, for which he has a black belt.
Heidi is from the USA, has dual-citizenship with Germany and her Great Grandmother is actually from Sandnes, so she feels really "back to her roots" here in Norway. She holds several degrees, has a business degree in process management and consulting, and also has a specialty in international finance. Since taking an active role leading the school, she has also embarked on a Master's degree in Education. Heidi is an entrepreneur and is
always coming up with new ideas (which, much to her hubby's dismay, are excitedly forged at about 11 pm when he is ready to sleep). She also has a love for making sweet treats and owns Heidi's Cakery. The school has kept her rather busy, so the sweet treats have had to be put on the shelf for a bit. Outside of business, she loves to sing, read, write, draw, paint, and enjoy the outdoors.
We also bucked the tradition of dressing up for Christmas this year, and instead wore Christmas pajamas! It was so much fun and nice and laid back--exactly what we needed (even Tarkus was happy)!
When our doors opened in August 2021, Mr. Dewald joined our team as an Administrative Assistant with multiple responsibilities which include Physical Education and substitute teaching and being our handyman. Mr. Dewald has become invaluable to Discovery, as he is someone who can be counted on unquestionably, and the students simply adore him!
Mr. Dewald is passionate about sports and played rugby for most of his life. He obtained his level-one coaching certificate through World Rugby and completed a technical course for coaches in the UAE through Olympic Solidarity. He was awarded Coach’s Player of the year in 2019 and became a touch rugby referee in 2021 through FIT. While in the UAE, Mr. Dewald coached the Al Ain Amblers 2nd team as well as the U/14 rugby team. Mr. Dewald also taught three grade levels across primary and high school.
At Discovery, Mr Dewald's daily gym classes provide students with the ability and confidence to develop motor skills, knowledge, and physical fitness all through fun, playful activities. The students are challenged every day to become stronger, more agile, and stay active. A motto that our students are encouraged to adopt is "I can do it!"
When Mr. Dewald isn't keeping both our school and students in tip-top shape, he enjoys being outdoors as he is a keen hunter, fisherman and gardener. He loves spending time with his family during a “braai” (barbeque) and watching sports on TV. Rugby and Formula 1 are his favorite!
Dewald van der Linde
& PE Teacher
Jennie van der Linde
Mrs. Jennie has been a crucial asset to the Discovery team since opening in August 2021. She is a passionate PYP coordinator and teacher who always strives to make learning interactive and fun. Mrs. Jennie's love of art also makes her classroom bright with color, and students proudly display their amazing work in her classroom. It is incredible to see the growth in her students since the first day, as she motivates and guides them toward achieving their goals. Discovery is so blessed to have someone with such exceptional organizational and leadership skills who is so dedicated to teaching.
Mrs. Jennie graduated cum laude from the North-West University in South Africa. She went on to obtain her Post Graduate Certificate in Education and started teaching in 2003. She now has more than 19 years of international teaching experience in South Africa, the UAE, and Norway. Mrs. Jennie was chosen as “Best Practice Teacher” for her online teaching in 2020 and 2021. In February 2021, she received a secondment to work on a high priority curriculum project for the UAE Ministry of Education and her planning and PowerPoint lessons have subsequently been distributed weekly to all MOE teachers in the UAE as example lessons and used for training purposes.
Mrs. Jennie shares a love of sports and is also a coach and referee for both netball and field hockey.
In her down time, Mrs. Jennie enjoys doing anything creative, spending time with her family, and watching a movie. On weekends, her family usually has a “braai” (barbeque) and watches rugby together.
Jeg er en norsk entusiast. Hele utdanningen min dreier seg om det norske språket, norsk litteratur og kultur. Jeg studerte norsk filologi i Polen i 5 år med engelsk som bifag, og utdypet mine norskkunnskaper på Universitetet i Oslo i 2 år. Som student gikk jeg også et år på Ringerike Folkehøyskole.
Jeg stortrives med å jobbe som språklærer. Det er givende og flott å observere språkutviklingen hos mine elever. Jeg er en engasjert lærer som liker å yte noe ekstra utenom det vanlige. Jeg er også mor til en 11 år gammel gutt som deler min lidenskap for språk. Mine språkinteresser strekker seg videre til spansk. Jeg er veldig glad i bøker og elsker å danse.
I am a Norwegian enthusiast. My entire education is about the Norwegian language, Norwegian literature and culture. I studied Norwegian philology in Poland for 5 years with English as a second language, and deepened my Norwegian skills at the University of Oslo for two years. I was also a student at Ringerike Folkehøgskole for a year.
I truly enjoy working as a language teacher. It is rewarding and wonderful to observe the language development of my students. I am a committed teacher who likes to give something extra and out of the ordinary. I am also the mother to an 11 year old boy who shares my passion for languages. My language interests reach further towards Spanish. I am very fond of books and love to dance.
Erika van der Bergh
Head of Mathematics
PYP & MYP Teacher
My name is Erika van der Bergh, and I am excited to join the Discovery International family in August 2022. I am from South Africa, where I received both my Bachelor's and Master’s degree in Education from North West University, with a major in Mathematics and Learner Support. I have been a passionate and extremely dedicated teacher for the past 14 years, teaching in both South Africa and most recently in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
There is a quote by Jerry Whittle who said “To teach is to touch lives forever,” and it sums up my teaching philosophy in a nutshell. My goal as a teacher is not to only teach but to inspire and motivate young minds to become lifelong learners who strive to never stop growing. I believe that the difference between a good teacher and a great teacher is connection, passion and preparation. Through building a trusting relationship with my students I aim to inspire them to acquire the interest to “want” to learn and encourage them to be the best they can be.
Personally, I have been married for almost 14 years to my best friend and have three wonderful children who are 24, 11 and 8 years old. Our eldest daughter is currently in South Africa studying to become a teacher, and works as a teaching assistant in a pre-school. Our two youngest children will be joining us at Discovery International School and they are extremely excited to meet everyone. We love to do many activities as a family, spending quality time with our children watching them grow!
I look forward to working together with you as partners in your child’s education, growth and development!
Manna van der Bergh is an IT Specialist who has years of experience supporting the education environment and small businesses in all their IT related needs, developing CMS websites, managing social media strategies and providing technical support on hardware and software needs in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates. Manna has a passion to empower teachers and students, young and old, to get comfortable in building STEM projects using SCRATCH and/or Python for coding on Lego Education and Arduino infrastructure. In addition he is a professional photographer, and loves to capture special moments. He has experience taking photos for schools, businesses and special events.
Manna started as a COBOL programmer in 1995 on financial systems in telecommunications after six years in financial auditing. Adding Delphi and Visual Basic programming thereafter, and settled in the new century in website CMS Portal development including e- commerce solutions.
Manna is married with three children. His eldest daughter studies ECD through Montessori in South Africa while the youngest boy (11) and girl (9) are very excited about joining Discovery International School in Norway. As hobbies he enjoys mountain biking, squash, fishing, hiking and kitesurfing (novice) and loves outdoor activities and is an avid foodie and handyman.
Manna van der Bergh
Design & Technology
Music, PYP & MYP Teacher
Miss Julee joined us in January as our part-time music teacher and in the fall, she will be joining us every day to teach Music, English, and Math at Discovery.
Ms. Julee was born in Seoul, South Korea, where she spent most of her childhood. She also is somewhat of a globe trotter, and has lived in different countries such as Saipan and Canada, as well as traveling all over the world.
Miss Julee found her passion to be a teacher while volunteering as a keyboardist and a leader in a youth service at church. After she found her dream, she came to Norway in 2018 to pursue her studies. She enrolled in the the International Teacher Education for Primary Schools program at the University of South-Eastern Norway and has just graduated! Congratulations, Miss Julee!
Prior to coming to Norway, she worked as a Korean-English translator in South Korea. Her enthusiasm for teaching English led her to take the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certificate. Moreover, her love for teaching music motivated her to complete the First Piano Adventure course, where she was trained to teach beginning keyboard skills to children. Furthermore, she is looking forward to exploring math with students through everyday activities including music, games, and cooking recipes. Miss Julee is very excited to share the joy of learning English, Music and Math with students at Discovery!