Administration

Senior Leadership Team

 

Dr. Michael Schramm, Director
Mike Schramm

Mike Schramm comes to GAIS from the Uruguayan-American School in Montevideo, a Pre-K to 12 school with both Spanish and English tracks leading to an IB Diploma, a Uruguayan High School Diploma and a US High School Diploma.

Mike began his career in the United States as an elementary school teacher and then as a teacher and coordinator of gifted and talented programs. He then embarked on an international career, holding various positions at several highly acclaimed and very large international schools. He spent five years at the Singapore American School as a teacher and then Director of Curriculum and Professional Development.

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Next, he spent nine years at the International School in Santiago, Chile as the Assistant Elementary School Principal and then the Director of Curriculum and Professional Development. While at these schools, he helped with the consolidation of three campuses into one, led the development of long-range technology plans and led teacher development programs.

In addition to leading his school, Mike has served on accreditation teams and participates on a curriculum-writing team for International Schools. He has pursued numerous professional development courses and earned an Ed.D. while teaching in North Carolina.

 

Sally Thorogood, School Principal
Sally Thorogood copy

I was born in England, near London, and studied, lived and worked in several different parts of the country before moving to Munich in 1997. I have been an educator for more than two decades and have taught children from kindergarten through fifth grade, initially in the English state school system and from 1998-2012 in Munich International School (MIS). My family moved to Munich as a result of my husband’s two year secondment with BMW but stayed far longer, having become positively immersed in the international school environment, International Baccalaureate curriculum, Bavarian countryside, and German language and culture. Soon after joining the MIS community as a parent, I was asked to sign up for substitute teaching and the following year I accepted the position of Grade 2 homeroom teacher. Subsequently I held the positions of PYP coordinator and Junior School Assistant Principal.

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During my years in Munich I completed the Certificate of International School Leadership and trained as a School Visitor for the International Baccalaureate Organisation, leading school authorization and evaluation visits in a variety of international schools from 2006 onwards. Many of these visits involved working closely with Middle School and High School administrators and my experience as a parent of children studying the MYP and IB Diploma also broadened my knowledge base of the IB as a whole. In 2008 I began studying part-time for my Masters in Education through Bath University in England and earned my M.Ed. in July 2014.

By 2012, our children, James and Jenni, had graduated from different universities in England and based themselves in Munich and London respectively. So my husband (Mark) and I decided we were ready for a new adventure and were delighted to have the opportunity to become positively immersed in the GAIS school community and life in California.

I am excited to be extending my responsibilities to K-8 Principal in the coming year after three years in the role of Elementary School Principal. I am particularly looking forward to reconnecting with many of the students and parents I have known in the younger grades, and working alongside the Middle School teachers as we implement the Next Chapter of the Middle Years Program.

When I am not working I enjoy singing, reading, playing tennis, skiing and walking in the mountains or by the ocean.

 

Heike Schmalstieg, Preschool Principal

Heike Schmalstieg copy

I received my degree in Early Childhood Education in Germany more than 20 years ago and have continued my studies here in the US. I also received a certificate in teaching a second language from the University of California at Berkeley. I have gained valuable experience in German, as well as American preschools and of course here 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. I have always been excited to return to GAIS and my children have had the privilege to attend GAIS as well. 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.

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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 as many opportunities, while 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.

 
 

 

Administration

 

Alex Norwood,
Assistant Principal and Science & Math Teacher

Alex NorwoodI was born and raised in Canada where I received two degrees from Queen’s University and the University of Toronto. Since then, I have had six years of teaching experience in four different countries (Japan, Canada, Mexico, and England) and now USA, covering a breadth of subjects ranging from ESL and Science to Mathematics.

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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. 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.

Monika Hoge, Elementary School Assistant Principal

Monika HogeI was born in Alameda, grew up in Truckee and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary and Special Education. During my first 3 years of teaching, I earned a Master of Arts Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I have over 20 years teaching experience as a classroom teacher of grades 1-5. My teaching career began in public schools in Reno but took an international turn with a Fulbright grant to teach in Dumbarton, Scotland.

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In 2000, I moved to Amman, Jordan to become the English Programme Coordinator for Amman Baccalaureate School (Bilingual school). I then moved to the International School of Tanganyika (IB World School) as Head of Department for ESL/Special Needs. My next step was Munich International School (IB World School), as a grade 5, ESL, and most recently Middle School Math and English teacher.

Since 2009 I have been working with the IB as a workshop leader, leading teacher training workshops throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. I have attended meetings at the Hague, contributing to some of the more recent curriculum documentation connected to the PYP. I am excited about my return to the Bay Area with an international twist at GAIS. I am an avid skier and enjoy just about anything outdoors including SCUBA, adventure and travel.

Roman Bruegger,
Admissions and School Services Manager

Roman Bruegger copyHello! I was born in Bern, Switzerland, and have lived, studied, and worked around my hometown most of my life. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Certificate of Advanced Studies CAS in Leadership and Communication from the University of Applied Sciences Bern, Switzerland, and used to work in the financial corporate world for many years. After gaining experience and profound knowledge in various financial institutions and eventually leading six branches of a regional bank as ‘Head of Customer Relations’ and ‘Member of the Management’, I decided to  to broaden my horizons and move on and out…

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After being a trainee in Chicago and New York City in 1998 and undertaking a world trip in 2002, it was my  dream to go and work abroad. In 2011, I finally moved to San Francisco where I started to work in the Tourism and Hospitality Business.

As chance would have it, the opportunity arose to become a Communications Manager at the German-American International School.

Since I like to work with different cultures, languages, kids and people in general I did not hesitate to take on this responsible job at GAIS. I am happy to be a part of the GAIS community and look forward to many interesting and communicative moments!

Tim Farris,
Hausmeister

Tim Farris copyI was born and raised right here in the Bay Area and grew up in San Mateo, so I’m a “native Californian.” I’m the youngest of 7 kids, all of whom live in California. My wife is from Germany and we have a 10 year old son who speaks German.

I’ve worked in the Tech field for numerous companies until the year 2000, when the economy took a down turn. After that I started my own business as a painting contractor (Method Painting), which was going well until the most recent recession in 2008. At that time our son had been attending pre-school at GAIS for about 6 months, when I took the position of Hausmeister (custodian) here at GAIS.

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Sad to say I never attended college, but I did take courses in electro-mechanical drafting, architecture, multimedia communications & presentation, graphic design, and photography. My hobbies are playing the bass guitar and photography, as well as doing things with my family. I love riding mountain bikes, camping, kayaking, and hiking.

I enjoy working here at GAIS. I love the kids, they are our future and watching them grow is one of the pleasures I get out of working here.

Susi Lindley,
Business Manager

Susi Lindley copyI was born and raised in a small town outside of Stuttgart, Germany.

After finishing school and working in Germany for a few years, I decided to come to the US as an Au Pair. I spent one year in Southern California and then moved to the Bay Area, where I met my husband.

After we got married I worked for a few years as a travel agent and then, during the first dot.com boom, as an executive assistant at an e-commerce company.

I started working for GAIS in 2003. At first part time in the Front Office and eventually full time in the Business Office. I currently have two children attending GAIS.

Natasha Pennix,
Receptionist and Front Office

Natasha Pennix copyI was born in Berlin to a German mother and American Army Officer father. At the age of three, my father was assigned to Fort Ord Army base, located on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. Although I grew up in Monterey, my brother and I were lucky enough to spend every summer with our grandparents in Nuremberg and Hannover.

After graduating High school, I moved north, to San Francisco where I studied Political Science at San Francisco State University. On a quest to quench my passion for studying environmental impacts and sustainable development I went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning, with an emphasis on Environmental Planning, at San Jose State University.

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Working over a year as a Transportation Planning Intern, for the County of San Benito, I took this wonderful opportunity to be a part of the GAIS team.

Being lifelong athletes, my husband and I enjoy long gym sessions, hiking, biking and traveling the world.


Sybille Smith,
Librarian

Sybille Smith copyDue to my father’s work, I spent my childhood moving back and forth between a town near Stuttgart, Germany, and various places in the US. I received a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Florida Atlantic University before attending the Berufsakademie back in Stuttgart. From there, I graduated as Diplomingenieur der Technischen Informatik in 1989.

I worked in the IT field in Stuttgart until 1998, when my husband (US born and living in Stuttgart at the time) and I decided to relocate back to Silicon Valley during the technology boom. I continued to work in IT until deciding to stay at home with my children in 2005.

My two daughters both currently attend GAIS. Sofia started Vorschule in 2007, Eva followed one year later in Preschool. I had been a volunteer in GAIS’ library every year since 2007 and had always enjoyed it very much. When asked if I wanted to step in as a part time librarian, the decision was an easy one!

Uli Francis,
Librarian

Uli Francis copyI grew up in a small town near Heidelberg, Germany. After the Abitur, I was very fortunate to be able to work for a while and then travel the world for 1 year before going back to school, becoming a Physical Therapist. I worked as a Physical Therapist first in Berlin (1989/1990), and later back in Heidelberg.  I started my own practice in 1994.

After meeting my husband during a vacation in California, he convinced me to start a new life in this beautiful state in 1998.

We have 2 children, who are now 13 and 10 years old. Being a “stay at home mom” opened up another opportunity for me, following my passion for books.

I started volunteering at the GAIS Library when my daughter went to the GAIS preschool.  I later volunteered at public school Libraries and chaired several Book Fair events. I started working part time at the GAIS Library in 2009 and I can truly say, “I love going to work”.

I love seeing children getting excited about books and teaching them to find their way around in the Library.