Board of Directors
The Board of Directors has primary responsibility for overseeing the management of the school and preschool. This includes setting the annual budget, tuition and fees, contracting for facilities, hiring the head of school, teachers and staff, and supporting the administration and teachers in their operation of the school.
- All board members are GAIS parents. Anyone can run for election. If you are a current parent and are interested in running for a seat on the Board of Directors, please contact the Secretary (currently Kristen Hughes) for additional information.
- Half of the Directors are elected each year at the January meeting of the GAIS Members: they serve for two years, staggered terms.
- The GAIS Board of Directors currently has eight members, including the President and the Vice President.
My family and I have been part of the GAIS community since 2008. Over the years I have had the chance to work in a variety of volunteer roles across different parts of GAIS.
One of my favorite activities are the annual field trips that we are organizing to local technology companies to educate the school’s elementary and middle school classes about the internet and IT. Making sure that kids are exposed to technology in a responsible and safe manner is important to me.
GAIS, with its focus on multi-lingual and IB based education is a unique and special place that I am excited to help prosper and grow.
Matthias grew up in Switzerland near Basel. He moved to the Bay Area in 1997 and now lives in Belmont with his partner Davina. They have one child at GAIS.
Matthias holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science from ETH in Zurich. He has worked for a number of software companies as engineer and manager, including Borland, VMware and Google. He has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2010, chairing the Education Committee.
He supported the school’s administration in implementing a good balance between all aspects of the IB’s approach to learning and strong academics for all children at GAIS.
Secretary, Policy Committee Chair
My husband, Tony Loeser, and I have two children at GAIS; we have been a part of the GAIS community for over 6 years. GAIS was a forgone conclusion for our family: I attended a bilingual elementary school (the French school in San Francisco); Tony has German, and I have Austrian heritage; GAIS is the second-closest elementary school to our house; and most importantly, we love the educational program.
We were first attracted to the school because of the preschool and the Vorschule (kindergarten) year. Now that both of our kids have graduated into the elementary school, we are very happy with the entire IB program, the excellent curriculum, and the teachers at GAIS.
I’ve spent my career in high tech and venture capital, and currently manage a private investment fund. I volunteer with Collective Roots, a gardening and nutrition nonprofit, and in addition to GAIS, I serve on the boards of SwiftTest, Inc. (a technology company) and the Palo Alto Community Fund (which funds local nonprofits).
While neither Tony nor I speak German with the kids, we appreciate the supportive academic and social environment at the school. Our children are not only growing up bilingual, but also growing and learning in an environment committed to nurturing open-minded inquirers!
Kristen’s current term will end in January 2014.
The Plechschmidt family moved to Palo Alto in August 2010. They have two children at GAIS, one preschooler and one 5th grader. They value the IB program and the holistic approach of teaching and learning at GAIS.
Elke holds an MBA in Economics. She worked in Loan processing for Bayerische Hypotheken- und Wechselbank AG.
She spent six years in internal auditing of Deutsche Telekom AG being responsible for internal audit of T-Mobile International AG and T-Online International AG. From 2003 to 2005 she worked as Project Manager in HR Controlling of T-Mobile International AG.
As a board member, Elke would like to help GAIS in growing further, and keeping a solid financial basis during this process.
Elke’s current term ends in January 2014.
Fundraising Committee Chair
Indra is originally from Frankfurt, Germany, where she grew up and worked for over ten years in investment banking for various financial institutions like J.P Morgan and Deutsche Bank.
In 2000, the Pachtner family emigrated to the Bay Area. The family has four children; three are currently attending GAIS.
The Pachtners have been with the school for almost five years and since then Indra has been a parent representative for different classes, has organized several “Sommerfest” events, and has helped out with GAIS’s annual fundraisers.
As a board member, Indra wants to take on more responsibility to help shape the future of our school. She is proud to be a part of this unique educational institution and strongly believes in the quality of the program.
Indra’s current term will end in January 2014.
Campus Committee Chair
New Member since January 2013.
Text will follow soon…
Janice grew up in the Bay Area but has also lived in Vienna and Berlin. Her husband Lukas Gründler is from Vienna. They have two children at GAIS. The Bishop/Gründler family speaks both German and English at home, is committed to a German/English bilingual educational program, and values the multi-cultural and forward-thinking IB education offered.
Janice holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry and remote sensing from Stanford University and a PhD. in chemistry from Brown University. She was a Humboldt Fellow at the DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Berlin and has been at the SETI Institute and NASA-Ames studying the planet Mars since 1997.
As a board member, Janice seeks to strengthen the academic programs at GAIS to make sure that all children are engaged and challenged. She is working with the staff to help teachers provide instruction at many levels in each class and increase communication between teachers and parents.