Happy International Women's Day from Institut Montana


For the International Women’s Day, we asked some of the most inspiring women at Institut Montana to share their experience and to give advice to the young girls.


Katja Valentino teaches Economics, Business Studies and Theory of Knowledge and has previously worked as academic dean, IB DP coordinator and project manager for CIS Accreditation at Institut Montana. She has a master’s degree in economics. Ms. Valentino’s great-grandmother drove rally back in the 1920s, and growing up with such a role model proved that there is nothing that girls cannot do or cannot achieve.

“Ask yourself a question – if there were no boundaries at all – what would I do? How would I earn my income? How would I become financially independent? Don’t ever let circumstances define who you are, and don’t limit yourself to what easily comes to mind. Keep your opportunities open. Don’t be afraid of math and try to become friends with numbers; they will help you in your future”.


Siobhán Gleeson is teaching English and Social Studies at Institut Montana. She is also the head of the learning centre, which provides extra academic support to our students. Ms. Gleeson grew up on a farm in Ireland and helped her parents take care of the horses, cows, and chickens. This great responsibility moulded her work ethic and shaped her love for the outdoors. In 2019 her passion for sports and the outdoors turned into a new adventure – Ms. Gleeson climbed Mount Kilimanjaro!

“My mum and dad taught me to always put my best foot forward and present myself at my best. This helped me tremendously in life. Be confident and believe in yourself. I truly believe that if you work hard and have the right work ethic, you will find success in life. You are the one who directs your future. Never forget how important balance is. Always make time for sports and stay active – it will make you not only a healthier but also a happier person”.

Dr. Anne Faassen is the Head of the IB Diploma Programme in the International School and higher-level IB Biology teacher. Dr. Faassen is passionate about molecular biology and has earned a Ph.D. in Pathobiology even before turning 30. Before starting her successful teaching career at Institut Montana, she did biomedical research investigating the migration of metastatic melanoma cells. Dr. Faassen finds it truly inspiring to work with students and share her passion for biology with them. It is very rewarding to see when students choose to pursue biochemistry, as she once did, and support them in achieving their goals.

“It is essential to find a balance between your studies (and career in the future) and personal life. Remember, it is not just about the academics. It is equally important to pursue your interests and engage in a variety of creative activities and sports”.

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