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

Team Preschool

Our Preschool/Kindergarten teachers and assistants have a wonderful team spirit and are enthusiastic about teaching young children.

Heike Schmalstieg
Heike Schmalstieg
Preschool Principal

I have lived in the Bay Area for more than 20 years. I received a degree in Early Childhood Education in Germany and have continued my studies here in the US. I also received a certificate in teaching another language from the University of California at Berkeley. I have gained valuable experience in Germany, as well as American preschools and of course at GAIS.

I started teaching at GAIS in 1994. Over the years, I have seen the preschool grow from 24 children to more than 100 and the whole school from less than 100 to more than 300 students. During my stay at GAIS, I have taken two extended leaves to stay home with my own children, until they reached preschool age and have always been excited to return to GAIS. The school has changed and evolved over the years, yet it has always kept its special appeal. The preschool has a truly unique concept, combining the need of the child to explore freely, challenging the child on all levels and providing a great balance between structured activities and free exploration. The IB Primary Years Program is inquiry based and fosters the child’s natural curiosity.  It is a pleasure to run a program that provides so many opportunities and where a child can still be a child. The children in our program have the opportunity to become independent thinkers, solve their own problems and conflicts, be creative, become knowledgeable about the world around them and so much more; all while learning a second language.

However, it was not only the philosophy of the program that appealed to me, but also the teaching staff. The preschool has an amazing staff of very dedicated and enthusiastic teachers that love what they do.

 

Carol Ferrieri

Carol Ferrieri
Preschool Teacher

I grew up in the United States and Germany and truly consider myself  “German-American” or “American-German”.

I completed a B.A. degree in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University and an Early Childhood Education Certificate from Canada College.

I have lived in Redwood City since 1982 and began teaching, directing and then teaching again in the Kindergarten since 1996.

Over the years I have also operated my own child care business, taught in English language programs and raised two sons.

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
~Albert Einstein

Why did you choose to teach at GAIS? 

Having lived outside of Germany for so many years, teaching at GAIS gave me an opportunity to teach in the German language. Other factors: the preschool philosophy and wonderful preschool environment for the children!

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

The preschool staff is very dedicated, enthusiastic, cooperative, supportive, creative and a lot of fun to work with!

Anita Stoney

Anita Stoney
Preschool Teacher

AFRIKA

CHOCOLATE

BACKENDESERT

EATING

FAMILIE

GARDENING

HIKING

ISLANDS

JOGGING

KINDER

LESEN

MUSIC

NORDRHEIN WESTFALEN

OUTDOORS

PLAYING

QUARKSAHNETORTE

ROCKS

STRAND

TRAVEL

US CITIZEN

VESPA

WATER

XL

YOGA

ZIP-LINE?

Why did you choose to teach at GAIS?

I chose to first volunteer, and then teach at the GAIS pre-school about ten years ago because I felt that the pre-school program was just what young children needed for healthy development.

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

The IB program has influenced my teaching in that I now emphasize the aspects of student attitudes and profiles, which I find important in the development of the whole child.

 

Monika Oser

Monika Oser
Preschool Teacher 

I was born and raised near Stuttgart, Germany, and received my Diploma in Child Development (staatlich anerkannte Erzieherin) in Ludwigsburg in 1983. I worked in different preschool programs near Stuttgart before relocating to the United States with my family. Since 1998 I have been living in the Bay Area. I started at GAIS as a substitute preschool teacher in 1999 and I became a full-time teacher shortly thereafter. In addition, I worked at the German Saturday School for more than 10 years. Now I enjoy working in an international school environment with enthusiastic and motivated teachers.

Why did you choose to teach at GAIS?

I started working at GAIS “by accident” but within weeks I recognized the  great atmosphere at the school. The teachers are enthusiastic and motivated and there is a great team spirit.

What are some qualities that you see within the GAIS students? 

The students in our school are caring, thoughtful, respectful and responsible. They are also open to other cultures and curious individuals.

Dunja Zaun

Dunja Zaun
Preschool Teacher 

Having grown up in a small town in Thuringia, Germany, I went to Frankfurt/Main to study for a diploma in hotel management. I then worked as a housekeeping manager in a first class hotel in the vibrant city of Berlin. After moving to the US with my husband in 2000, I started volunteering at the German-American International School and other non-profit organizations working with young children. I enjoyed this work very much and decided for a career change. So, I took classes in early childhood education and earned the Child Development Teacher Certificate from Foothill College in nearby Los Altos Hills.

Why did you choose to teach at GAIS?

GAIS offers a great learning environment in all areas of children’s development and I love being part of it.

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

The GAIS preschool team works closely together, shares ideas and experiences, supports each other and models many of the IB’s attitudes and attributes of the learner profile.

 

Simone Campbell

Simone Campbell
Preschool Teacher

I grew up in southern Germany near the Swiss city of Basel and earned my teaching credential from the “Paedagogische Hochschule” in Freiburg i.Br., Germany. After some years of employment with Lufthansa, I moved to the Bay Area in 1991. Ever since, I have enjoyed living in Palo Alto with my family. Before I joined the GAIS preschool team in 2003, I gained experience working with preschool-aged children as part of a co-op nursery school. In addition, I volunteered extensively at various local public schools. Presently, I am having fun keeping current with child development classes at Foothill College, and I am happy to say that teaching is one of my true passions in life.

What makes teaching at an IB school special?

“When you are inspired…dormant forces, faculties, and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” -Patanjali

 Why did you choose to teach at GAIS?

I enjoy being part of a learning environment that allows one to inspire and be inspired as well; a place where values like caring, respect, tolerance and integrity aren’t just empty words but lived.

Katrin Huelse

Katrin Huelse
Preschool Teacher

I’m originally from Germany and had a  multi-lingual upbringing, speaking German, French and English. I came to the U.S. in 2006 as an AuPair and lived with a family in Marin.
 In 2008, I started studying ECE (Early Childhood Education) at local community colleges and graduated in 2013. I have been working with children of various age and developmental levels in a variety of settings for about 10 years and have been loving it!

I am a spontaneous, creative and active person and I love to travel. While working here at GAIS I am looking forward to expanding my horizons and knowledge and enriching your children’s experiences and relationships to make there time here memorable.
 My favorite quote is: “A great life isn’t about great huge things; it’s about small things that make a big difference.”

Franziska Braunstein

Franziska Braunstein
Preschool Assistant / After School Care

I grew up in a very small town in the beautiful Black Forest in Germany.

I received my diploma in Child Development in 2010. I took one year off from university and became an Au Pair in Woodside where I took care of four lovely kids.

After my Au Pair year I worked from 2011- 2012 as a preschool teacher in Germany, before I started an advanced training in Cologne to become a therapist for children with special needs.

Because I enjoyed working and living in the Bay area, I decided to come back to the States and became a teacher at GAIS. I’m very proud and happy to be part of the GAIS team.

Katarina Kuhlke II 120x160

Katarina Kuhlke
Preschool Assistant

I was born in Croatia, but I grew up in Waldzell, Austria.

I studied Educational Science (Pädagogik) at the University of Vienna from 2005 to 2010. From August 2007 until August 2008 I took a year off from university and worked as an Au Pair for a family in Pacifica, CA.

I came back to San Francisco in 2010 after graduating from University to be with my now-husband, Matthew. I have always been very interested in child development and education, therefore I’m very excited about the opportunity to work at GAIS as a preschool assistant.

In my spare time I like to travel, read and listen to music.

Jennifer Porscha

Jennifer Porscha
Preschool Assistant / After School Care

I grew up in a small town between Heidelberg and Karlsruhe, Germany.

After finishing my Child Diploma in 2010, I came to the US to be an AuPair and took care of two wonderful twin-girls in the Bay Area. During that year I met my husband. We recently moved to Redwood Shores and we enjoy going for walks or runs with our dog.

I’ve been working at GAIS since May 2012 in the afterschool care (Hort) program. I am very excited to be working in the Preschool and to be part of the GAIS Team.

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Ulla Yechale
Preschool Assistant / After School Care

Picture and text will follow soon.