logoGerman-American International School German-American International School, Deutscher Kindergarten und Deutsche Schule, San Francisco, Bay Area

Team International Middle School

The IMS teachers are a diverse group of educators with local and international teaching experience.  The teachers are all trained and prepared in the curriculum and assessment processes of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program (MYP). We research and work to exchange the newest teaching methodologies with international schools and universities to assure the academic rigor of the Middle School. Often, graduates from European universities visit our school and assist in our classrooms. These teaching assistants speak English and German.

 

Amanda Afshar

Amanda Afshar
International Middle School Principal 

This is an exciting time to be an educational leader at German American International School. I have the honor to work with students, families, and colleagues representing several diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. I believe the International Baccalaureate Program provides an ideal context to allow for intercultural learning and awareness to occur simultaneously. As the International Middle School (IMS) Principal, it is my desire to see the IMS students develop the skills necessary to be confident global citizens, innovative thinkers, and lifelong learners. My colleagues and I work closely within the IMS community to foster a school climate that can reflect these goals.

Prior to my career at GAIS, I taught and led in Public Schools in the state of Illinois. I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Education from Illinois State University with endorsements in Bilingual Education, English as a Second Language, Spanish, Language Arts, and Humanities. While working as a bilingual classroom teacher, I continued my studies and completed my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 2009.

This led to work as the District Bilingual Program Coordinator at Bloomington Public Schools where I oversaw curriculum and instruction for English Language Learners and their families. Over the years, I have worked with students from Grades K-8 in multiple classroom settings and have a passion for international education programs.

When I moved to the Bay Area in 2010, I began teaching Spanish, Humanities, and Instructional Technology (IT) at GAIS. My enthusiasm for the IB Program and GAIS fostered my engagement and work within the administration team. I served as Assessment Leader (2011) and Assistant Principal (2012) prior to becoming the IMS Principal. I have learned much from these experiences and look forward to seeing the IMS progress even further.

 

Eva Chase
Head of Department:
Language A (German)

MYP Assistant,
Language A (German), Humanities (German)

I was born and raised in Erfurt, Germany, where I discovered my passion for teaching and foreign cultures. I studied in Basel, Switzerland, Montpellier, France and primarily in Freiburg, Germany, where I completed a Masters degree in teaching foreign languages, religion and geography.  I have taught middle and high school for five years, mostly in Germany and the US, but also in France and India.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, drawing, singing, dancing and playing music.

But you will often find me outdoors, because I really love hiking and climbing in the mountains. It is a great experience for me to discover the world together with the students from GAIS.

What makes teaching at an IB school special?

Teaching at an IB school is a challenging, but also very rewarding experience for me. The IB curriculum not only demands high academic standards, but also fosters creativity and problem solving through the inquiry-based and project-oriented approach. Even though the acquisition of knowledge is valuable, the IB approach gives the students more opportunities to apply their knowledge in long-term projects. This is the reason why I see myself more as a tutor who encourages the students to discover and develop their inner potential by providing well-structured input and constructive feedback in their learning process.

What qualities do you see in the students that have been through our program?

When I compare students from GAIS who went through the IB curriculum with students from other schools where I have taught, I observe that they are more curious, open-minded and creative when approaching new tasks. This motivation is essential to ensure life-long learning in a world which changes very fast. In preparation for this world, the IB curriculum not only imparts knowledge, but also requires students to improve their learning technique skills. IB students are able to work independently because they learn to plan, implement, present and reflect on their ideas in long-term projects.  Since the students at GAIS study internationally-relevant topics and most speak at least three languages, they also learn to see the world from different perspectives and to find their role in the global community.

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Deborah Trimble
Head of Department:
Science

Math and Science

Hello everyone, I have lived and worked my entire life in California. My first job was working with children as a swimming instructor and lifeguard in Salinas, CA.  After I graduated from college I coached an AAU swim team in San Jose, and started graduate studies at San Jose State University.  I was very fortunate to be hired as a geologist at the U. S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park.  For nearly 20 years I worked in the Radiocarbon Laboratory, first as a technician and later as the supervisor of the lab. 

While working at the USGS I married my husband Mike, also a geologist, and we started our family.  We have five wonderful children, and now a granddaughter.

Children have always been close to my heart.  While at the USGS I founded GeoKids, a parent cooperative daycare center, which still remains a model for employer supported childcare.  In 1995 I left the USGS to return to school and received my teaching credential from Norte Dame De Namur in Belmont.  As an intern, I found my passion; I love teaching Middle School.  Inspiring young teens in math and science is my great joy!

After 17 years of teaching at a parochial school in San Carlos, I am excited to begin a new phase of my teaching career.  I became aware of IB programs first as a parent; both of my younger children were enrolled in the IB diploma program at Sequoia High School.  My husband and I were very impressed by the quality and depth of the education they received.  As I teacher, I realized how closely my teaching philosophy aligns with the IB program.  Teaching at GAIS is a dream come true for me.  I was very impressed by the school’s learning environment and enthusiastically look forward to working with the wonderful teachers and students at this exceptional school.

 


Caitlin Curry

Caitlin Curry
Head of Department:
Language A (English)

English & Humanities (English)

Hello GAIS Community,

I was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland before moving to Northern England to complete a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Spanish at the University of Durham. My love of languages and new countries inspired me to teach abroad in Spain and in Chile where I began to understand the impact of an international education.

On my return I was recruited by Teach First, a fast-track teacher training organization. Over the course of the next few years I fell in love with teaching. In my most recent post in Plymouth, England I had responsibility for Middle School English, re-building the curriculum and mentoring training teachers.

Shortly after completing my Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, we received a very exciting opportunity to live and work in California and so I landed in Menlo Park! I am passionate about the impact that reading, writing and speaking skills have on our lives and love guiding students in my classroom to discover their interests, opinions and voices through the study of language.

Kiran Singh

Kiran Singh
English & Humanities (English)

I grew up in beautiful Southern California. I received a bachelors in humanities and art history from Loyola Marymount University, and a teaching credential in secondary English from Cal State University, Los Angeles. I have taught ESL and language arts in Italy, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Spain and India at the middle school and adult levels for 5 years. In my spare time I practice yoga, mindfulness, and becoming fluent in Spanish.

I am an avid walker. I love traveling and trekking in the outdoors, especially in Spain, so I look for opportunities all the time!

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Alex Norwood
Head of Department:
Math

Math & Science

Hello! I was born and raised in Canada where I received two degrees from Queen’s University and University of Toronto. Since then, I have had five years of teaching experience in four different countries (Japan, Canada, Mexico, England) and now USA, covering a breadth of subjects ranging from ESL and science to mathematics. As an educator my goal is to apply my academic expertise and my learning experiences to dedicated global citizens. I am excited that my international experience has brought me to the Bay Area to work within the framework of the IB curriculum at GAIS.

I am an advocate for life long learning through academic and personal experiences.  I look forward to educating young dedicated global citizens for another year at GAIS.

What qualities do you see in the students that have been through our program?

After chaperoning the Berlin Grade 8 Trip, I can attest that the recent graduates of GAIS exhibit a strong sense of self-confidence.  Their confidence is apparent not only in their academic skills, but they are also willing to adapt easily to new responsibilities – such as navigating their peers to various destinations across Berlin using the U-Bahn.  The students have shown that they have benefited immensely from developing the IB learner profile attributes and from the support they have received from the GAIS community.

What are some qualities that you see within the GAIS teaching staff? 

Additionally, the teachers at GAIS are very dedicated to the school community.  Collaboration between teachers takes place almost daily and often there are in depth discussions on how to foster positive learning experiences for our pupils.  The teachers here are also risk takers, and will bring forth their originality and insight into their classes.  I personally enjoy the aspect that there’s a willingness to learn from and educate each other.  Simply put, lifelong learning is not limited to the students, but permeates our entire school community.  Great educators are lifelong learners too!

Nicole Mueller
Head of Department:
Language B

French & Humanities (German)

„Bonjour“ and „Güetun Tag“! No worries, I don’t expect anybody to understand the second phrase, as it is in the dialect of my mother tongue, Swiss German. I grew up in Switzerland in a region that is considered to be at “the foothills of the alps”, but I would say I am a real mountain girl. I love the mountains with all its sheep and cows, but I also love the sea. Now, I live up in “the city”, meaning that the mountain girl has moved to San Francisco. Of course, the surrounding of this place is very different from Switzerland, but I love it all the same.

I studied German, French and English to get my Master’s of Art in Secondary Education. While studying, I taught at a Middle School in Berne and for my end-of-studies internship, I came to GAIS in Menlo Park. I fell in love with that nice school on my first day and not in my wildest dreams would I have dared to imagine that one day, I could work there as a teacher. But, sometimes dreams do come true. So here I am: the French and Humanities teacher.

What makes you an international teacher?

My passion for languages, my open-mindedness, my interest in and curiosity about different cultures and the joy I get from living abroad.

Why did you choose to teach at GAIS?

It’s a school of an enjoyable size (neither too big, nor too small). I know that the school administration and the parents have high expectations of me and also of the students, therefore it’s a challenging, yet fascinating and very instructive setting.

Moreover, I like the spirit of this school.

Lydia Kirchhofer

Lydia Kirchhofer
Head of Department:
Performing Arts/Music

Performing Arts/Music

Hello! My name is Lydia Kirchhofer. I am half Swiss and half Chinese. I was born in Basel, Switzerland and lived there for seven years. I moved to Los Altos California at age seven and have lived there ever since. I started playing music at the age of four when I took my first piano lesson. I added percussion lessons on top of that at age eight. In high school I realized the incredibly large role music had in my life and that is when I made the decision to try and be a professional musician.

I went to USC (University of Southern California) to pursue a bachelors degree in Percussion Performance. I then stayed at USC to receive a Masters in Teaching Music as well as my teaching credential. Throughout my musical career I have performed with the Peninsula Youth Symphony, Korean American Youth Symphony, San Francisco Youth Orchestra, Peninsula Symphony, Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra, and the USC Symphony. I have performed in Carnegie Hall and the Berlin Concert Hall. I have also toured with orchestras in Spain, France, Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

Music is the language of the world and no matter where you are, music will always bring people together. I am honored to be teaching music at GAIS and I cannot wait to meet all of you!

Janine Weers
Head of Department:
Physical Education (PE)

PE and Language B (German)

„Moin Moin“! Here I am the new Head of PE from the north-west of Germany! I was born and raised in a very small town and moved to Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, to pursue what I always wanted to be: a PE and English teacher! It may sound a little advantage of these awesome PE facilities and explore it!weird but I always loved going to school – the place in my small hometown where all my friends were and all the excitement happened!

I graduated from the University of Oldenburg and came to California the first time to work as an AuPair and immediately fell in love with this beautiful place on earth! California is the perfect place for a person who loves sports: running tracks, race bike tracks, basketball-, soccer-, volleyballfields, surfing spots, swimming, hiking and even skiing in the mountains! The perfect place to combine all my hobbies and follow my favorite sport: Basketball! I got my first teaching job at two different High Schools in Oldenburg where i have been working for three years before I got the oppurtunity to move to the Bay Area and work at this IB school. Now I am looking forward to taking

How has your teaching been influenced since you started working at the school?

My teaching has been influenced a lot working at this private IB school since it is very different from teaching at a huge public school in Germany. I absolutely enjoy working at a smaller school, knowing all the students, working closely with my colleagues and also being close to the parents, which makes teaching and learning a give and take!

What are some qualities that you see within the GAIS teaching staff? 

The biggest quality in the teaching staff is the variety of origin countries, different cultures, different languages, and therefore the diversity of different characters, living experiences that they bring into our daily teaching life! With this we all learn from each other every day and grow ourselves. I love this way of learning and challenging myself over and over again.

Ron Pence

Ron Pence
Head of Department:
Design Technology

Design Technology

Hello,

My name is Ron Pence. I was born in Heidelberg Germany to a German Mother and an American Father who was stationed there as a soldier. I grew up traveling a lot and ended up settling down in Florida where I received an A.S. Degree in Graphic Design Technology.

While attending school, I worked as a Behavioral Training Specialist, teaching children with severe autism spectrum disorders. From there, I landed a job with Walt Disney Feature Animation and was transferred to California. L.A. that is, swimming pools, movie stars…

Anyways, after a fun run animating for Disney and DreamWorks, I received a teaching credential to teach Multimedia Production, and taught High School for eight years. I also received a B.S. Degree in Organizational Leadership and taught ESL to students from China and South Korea.

When I have free time, you can probably find me at the beach playing volleyball or working on some kind of art project. I love all art and really enjoy helping students succeed.

Now, I have embarked on a new journey with my lovely wife and beautiful baby girl. We love it up here in the bay area, and look forward to the good times to come.

 

Daniela Klimetschek

Daniela Klimetschek
Language A (German) and Performing Arts/Drama

„Einen wunderschönen, guten Morgen”, that’s how I used to welcome my students in Berlin, where I studied and worked for more than ten years.

I grew up in Lower-Saxony next to Hanover, where I got my accent-free German. After my Abitur I went to Spain to work in the entertainment department at a resort. That was the first time I worked with children and teenagers. I enjoyed it a lot and I decided to become a teacher. I studied German and History in Berlin.

During my years at university I was able to work at a school for students with special needs, teaching them English, German and History and also provided them skills to cope in life. I then worked at a private international school with 250 students. They were coming from Russia, Korea, Croatia, Australia. Also the teachers were international staff and everyone benefited from the differnet cultures.

I very much enjoy teaching and looking forward to continue my career at GAIS.

 

Herminia Gil Guerrero

Herminia Gil Guerrero
Language B (Spanish)

¡Hola¡ I was born in Murcia, a small town in the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain. I studied Spanish Linguistics and Literature at the University of Murcia and in parallel to my master worked at a Spanish language school for exchange students. Thanks to that experience, I discovered my passion for foreign languages and cultures.  As a consequence, I moved to Germany for my doctoral research and three years later I finished my Ph. D. in Spanish Literature at the University of Hamburg. After that, I have been working in several universities: Luneburg, Hamburg, Bremen and Giessen.

I always enjoyed the international character of my work and the cultural diversity enriched my professional but also my personal life.

One year ago, I moved to California with my husband and two small children. We are a German-Spanish family in a trilingual context. I still admire the ability of children to learn foreign languages and to assimilate other cultures. Now I am looking forward to teaching the international students of GAIS and convey them my passion for the wonderful, rich and diverse Spanish language and culture.

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Anke Glück
Math (German)

Never thought I would leave my beloved Leipzig – but life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan. And I must admit I really enjoy living in California! After receiving my Master’s Degree in Physics I rejected a career as a physicist and finally decided to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher, continued my studies at the University of Leipzig and earned a Master’s Degree in teaching Math and Physics.

I taught in middle and high school and learned to juggle both my job and my two kids. As a volunteer I assisted the math and science staff at GAIS and am now very much looking forward to contribute even more by working as a math teacher here.

 

Janet RoitschJanet Roitsch
Head of Department:
Visual Arts

Visual Arts

I was born and raised in Leipzig and I am a credentialed elementary school teacher who graduated from the University “Alma mater lipsiensis” (university of Leipzig). After my studies and one year of internship I received my diploma in Montessori education. I loved teaching children according to Maria Montessori’s ideas at my first job as a classroom and music teacher at a private elementary school in Dresden.

I really enjoy music, like to sing and dance and I play the guitar. Above all, I love to make music with children. I am excited to work at GAIS and look forward to combining my interest in music and teaching.

What makes teaching at an IB school special?

The IB Classroom is a dynamic work environment. Every day the IB teacher is challenged to engage his/her students in a personal exploration of the topic. It requires creativity, innovative ideas and personal growth. I like to be challenged in that way. And it is very rewarding to see students being excited and enjoy learning so much.

What qualities do you see in the students that have been through our program?

The IB program teaches children how to think about and analyse what they are learning, rather than simply memorizing facts. Higher-level thinking is one of the best qualities I have seen in the students that have been through our program.