Meet the staff

Our teachers’ caring, nurturing approach brings out the best in children. All of our core classroom teachers have native or near-native fluency in the languages and cultures they teach, and have received their education in Germany, Austria or Switzerland. They hold a teaching degree from an accredited U.S. or German institution and are additionally trained to be sensitive to American culture and customs.


Staff credentials

  • All of our teachers and assistants meet education and experience requirements appropriate to their position, as required by the Child Care Division of the State of Oregon.


  • Our grade school classroom head teachers hold a MA equivalent teaching degree (first and second State Examination or equivalent) from a German speaking country.

  • Our preschool and Kindergarten teachers have an average of 10 years experience as Head Teachers, hold Early Childhood Education Diplomas from a German speaking country or have an equivalent U.S. degree.

  • The German American School regularly conducts professional development training for teachers and assistants. Early Childhood Teachers and Assistants (preschool and Kindergarten) are required by the Child Care Division to take a minimum of 15 training hours per year.

  • As one of the seven North American German Schools Abroad (Boston, Montreal, New York, Portland, Silicon Valley, Toronto, and Washington DC), GSP staff regularly participates in regional and international conferences and seminars.

  • Our staff maintains current certification in basic First Aid and CPR, and staff involved in the preschool snack program also maintains current Food Handler certification.


  • State of Oregon criminal background checks are completed on each employee of the German American School, regardless of their level of child contact. New employees residing in Oregon less than 18 months at hire are required to be fingerprinted and nationally screened.


Blake Peters, Head of School

My dedication to bilingual education dates to my days as a camper, counselor, and dean with Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota. I am continually excited and inspired by the positive effect learning another language and culture has on a child. I joined GSP in 2003 and have devoted my efforts to increasing the school’s support from the local community and the German government, improving the program, and promoting sustainability. The school has become a model for German Schools Abroad in North America and around the world. I am actively involved with the American Association of Teachers of German and have served on its Executive Council. Recently, I co-authored Gute Idee: A Handbook of Good Ideas for Teachers of German from the Waldsee German Language Village. Born in Michigan, I graduated with degrees in German, Education, and Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College. I also earned a Master of Arts in German Languages and Literature from Ohio State University. During my undergraduate studies and later as a Fulbright Scholar, I had the opportunity to live and work throughout Germany. My wife, Sharon, and I enjoy living in Portland with our two sons, Nathan (a GSP third grader) and Jeffrey (a GSP Kindergartener).Contact Blake


Stefanie Amann, Elementary School Director

I was born in Mannheim, Germany. I graduated from Berufsakademie Mannheim with a Bachelor of Science degree and over the next few years worked as human resource manager for companies such as Microsoft and IBM. In 1998 my husband and I moved to Portland where I continued to work for IBM until our daughter was born. I discovered my love for teaching and earned my master in elementary education degree as well as an ESOL (English as a second language) endorsement. Over the last few years I have also spent time volunteering with SMART (start making a reader today) and have taught Art Literacy at my children’s school. In my free time I like to spend time with my family, run and try all kinds of new things. I am looking forward to another great year at the German American School and am excited about the opportunity to help students discover their love and appreciation for different cultures and languages. Contact Stefanie

Jackie Ortega, Business Manager

Born in Chicago, I've lived in Oklahoma City, OK and Dallas, TX. I moved to Portland in 1990 and officially call it home. In 1997, I received my Bachelors Degree in Management & Organizational Leadership from George Fox University. My background includes accounting and office management. I also have experience with non-profit organizations both as a professional and a volunteer.I enjoy being part ofthe GSP community! In my spare time, my daughters and I enjoy games, letterboxing, and camping. I also enjoy reading, crocheting and scrapbooking. Contact Jackie


Heike Schütz-Malinowski, Verwaltungsleiterin/Teacher

I was born in northern Germany where I studied Mathematics and French at the Pädagogische Hochschule and the University of Kiel. After receiving my teaching license for students ages 10-16, I continued studying to combine my teaching degree with a career in business and computer science. I attended the Wirtschaftsakademie in Kiel and graduated with a degree in Business. In 1996 my husband, our then three-year-old daughter and I moved to Portland, Oregon, where I joined the German American School. During the past fourteen years I have been teaching third, forth and fifth grades in various combinations and working in the administration. As Assistant Head of School I spend a lot of time both working with the teachers on schedules, materials and curriculum development as well as with correspondence with Germany. Contact Heike


Elizabeth Gillespie, Director of Admissions and Marketing

I am a native of Portland and a graduate from Portland State University. I majored in Child and Family Studies and have spent the last 13 years running and managing childcare facilities in the “for profit” and “not for profit sectors”. I love to travel and spend a lot of time in England with my husband’s family. Outside of work I enjoy reading, visiting new local parks with my son, and have taken up growing my own vegetables as a way to teach my son where food comes from. I am looking forward to working with your family. Contact Elizabeth


Adrienne Boxer, Development and Special Events Manager

I am a German speaker and a development professional with 12 years of experience raising money for community organizations that serve children and families. As the executive director of Street Yoga, I helped transform a start-up non-profit into a well-funded organization with 23 local programs, two regional offices and hundereds of trained volunteers across the country. During my time as a professional grant writer for my own company, Grantsmart LLC, I helped numerous non-profits turn their visions into real, funded projects for the community. At Lutheran Community Services Northwest, I was responsible for maintaining and developing funding for our immigrant and refugee programs. Raised in Fargo, North Dakota, I have been learning German since my childhood. I majored in German at Bowdoin College in Maine, and spent my Junior year abroad at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. One year later, I had the opportunity to return as a Fulbright Fellow to teach at the Hermann-von-Helmholtz Gymnasium in Potsdam, Germany. My Master’s Degree is from Georgetown University from the School of Foreign Service, where I concentrated in Diplomacy and Security Studies. My husband and I have enjoyed living in Portland, OR since 2001. We have three children, and our youngest daughter will be attending pre-school at GSP this fall.

Contact Adrienne.




Julia Matschukat, Marketing & Social Media Coordinator / Program Assistant

I was born in Portland, OR where I was a part of a playgroup of children whose parents all had the dream that their children would grow up bilingual. Later this same playgroup evolved into the German American School, which I attended until I moved Walla Walla, WA in 1996. There I continued to learn German with the help of au pairs and students at “Germanhaus” on the Whitman College campus. In the summer of 2007 I participated in a high school GAPP exchange to Reutlingen, Germany. After graduating from high school, I attended Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA where I double majored in Art History and German. I was thrilled to return to GSP last year as an assistant in the Drachen classroom. This year I am excited to assist Elizabeth Gillespie in the Marketing Department. In addition, I will provide support for the Pre/K DaF and SecondStep programs, as well as grade school English. Contact Julia


Alexandra McGettigan, PYP Coordinator

Born in Reutlingen, a town in southern Germany, I received my M.A. from the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen and started my career as a television journalist. In 2000, I followed my husband to Portland. While volunteering with refugee families, I discovered my love for teaching. We moved to Chicago where I earned my teaching certificate. After teaching German to high school students, I accepted a position at an international school in Erlangen. There I taught German to native and foreign speakers and became an examiner for the IB organization. I was especially fascinated by the way an international school motivates students to engage in inquiry, action and reflection on local and global issues across the curriculum.
Last summer my husband and our two sons moved yet again to Portland. We are a true bilingual family -with the exception of our dog, who only understands German commands and is crazy about sauerkraut. In my free time I enjoy reading and dragon boat racing. As the PYP Coordinator I am looking forward to help guide GSP into the next phase of becoming an international school. Contact Alexandra



Janina Morrisey, Administrative Assistant

I was born and raised in the small town of Gelnhausen, Germany. As my parents have always had many visitors from abroad, I was exposed to various cultures and developed an appreciation for the English language – the tool that would enable me to communicate with people from all over the world.

After graduating from the Realschule, I pursued job training as a foreign language secretary / assistant in office communications in Frankfurt, Germany. Upon completing this job training I visited Texas for six months to refine my English skills and gain more insight into American culture. Following my return to Germany, I worked for multinational companies, including Japan Airlines and the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair.

In 2012 I married my husband, who is a native to the Pacific Northwest, while he was stationed in Germany. After he finished his military service in February 2013, we decided to move to Portland, OR and have enjoyed all that the city has to offer. I look forward to making my contribution to the German American School of Portland as it works to foster cross-cultural understanding and am very excited about engaging with the students and their parents in my role as the administrative assistant.

Contact Janina.


Michelle Bahr, Grade School Music

I was born and raised in the Midwest, in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. However, after moving here with my husband three years ago we both immediately fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and finally felt like we had found our home. We recently had a baby girl, Abigail, and are still exploring everything that Oregon has to offer! Music has always been a part of my life, and I believe that it is an integral part of a student's education and development! I hold both a Bachelor's in Music Education and Master of Music from the Univeristy of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. My focus was conducting, but I have been classically trained in both piano and voice (my favorite vocal styles being Opera, Lieder, and Broadway). Before moving to Oregon, I taught music in public schools for 8 years and maintained a private studio. I also had the opportunity to direct a church chancel and bell choir, participated in community theater, and am a certified Kindermusik instructor. Since moving to Oregon, I have enjoyed teaching private voice and piano lessons at Hoffman Academy in Cedar Mill. I am also the Assistant Director of the Aurora Chorus, an all-women's choir based in Portland. I am thrilled to be able to share music with the students at GSP this year! Contact Michelle.


Christiane Beinroth, First Grade

I was born and raised in the beautiful Southwest of Germany, where I stayed to acquire my teacher’s education and put it into practice at a Primary School.

Although certainly never planned this way, life brought me to different places, and gave me the chance to collect experience in multiple settings of education: Training student teachers at a University in Slovakia, Helping pioneer Bilingual Day and an After School Care program in Vienna, Austria, teaching English to adult ESOL learners, as well as, teaching TESOL certificate students in Maryland, and teaching at an internationally-oriented, private Day School in Baltimore, MD.

I then returned to Germany and reconnected with the German educational system while teaching at an independent Primary School for a short time before joining the team here at GSP. Over the years it has become important to me to teach children to develop and use their thinking and reasoning skills. I’m therfore happy that I came to GSP in time for the launch of the PYP program! Contact Christiane.

Katja Black, Preschool Assistant

I was born in Luckenwalde, Germany, and attended the Realschule in Jüterbog, Germany. Right after I finished school I started my adventure as an Au Pair in Ohio for 15 months where I met my husband. After my husband finished his overseas tour, I moved to Vilseck, Bavaria, Germany, where I attended Central Texas College Europe and studied Early Childhood Education. In 2010 we welcomed our wonderful daughter to the world and I put my degree in hold. After another successful overseas tour, we made the decision to leave the military and move to Beaverton, Oregon. Before coming to GSP, I worked as an infant and toddler teacher in a local preschool in Beaverton.
I love working with children because children don’t judge who you are, love you as you are, make you smile every day, have the ability to make you laugh and cry all in the same breath, and let you remember to have mindless fun. Contact Katja

Carolin Chubinsky, Preschool - Löwen

I am a proud Prussian (but wanna-be Bavarian) who was raised in Cologne, Germany. In 1984 I finished my State Exam in Social Pedagogies and Psychology and have worked in this field since then. I’ve worked in Amsterdam, Holland as well as in Oxford, England and in different areas of Germany. I worked with severely handicapped children, terminally ill children, orphans, abused children, and children with learning disabilities—from 0-18 years of age and from a variety of different cultures, languages and religions. In 1990, I was working with 3 -6 year olds in a Kindergarten in Augsburg, Germany, where I also held classes for preschoolers in gymnastics, TPR, music/art and gave guitar lessons. After four years of being the Principal, my husband, my two children and I decided to move to the United States of America. Since August 2001, I have been teaching preschool in the German American School of Portland, Oregon. Contact Carolin

Heidi Draheim-Shadbeh, Third Grade English

Although I love living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I’m secretly a cheese head at heart. Born and raised in Wisconsin, my parents sent me to a German immersion camp in Minnesota when I was in 6th grade. I fell in love with the language, and have been speaking it ever since! I studied Elementary Education and German at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. After graduation, I taught second grade at the German immersion school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2003, a Fulbright Grant allowed me to live and teach for a year in Leinefelde, Germany. After that, I decided to make Portland my home and started working at GSP. In my free time I enjoy dancing, hiking and camping with my dog, Frankie, and of course, reading! Contact Heidi

Ashley Grover, Extended Care Substitute

I was born in Oregon and spent my childhood living in various parts of the state of Oregon and Washington.  I settled in La Grande, Oregon where I attended Eastern Oregon University. There I chose to take a German class when I went to college because I have a lot of German ancestry and as a child I was fascinated hearing my grandparents speak of their parents and our heritage.  On the first day of German I knew I wanted it to be a part of my life and I became very passionate about learning anything I could about German language and culture.  After studying German for five years at EOU, I then studied abroad for five months at the University of Tübingen. I graduated with a bachelor in Art and a minor in German language. 

I am also an enthusiastic artist, mostly painting and drawing, which I do in my spare time and sometimes also with the children here at school. I recently moved to the Portland area and was so thrilled to be hired on at the German American school and I can’t wait for the years to come.


Anja Haffner, Preschool - Elefanten

I am a native German who has by now lived in the US for more than 10 years. I was born and raised in the small but beautiful “garden city” Radebeul in the suburbs of Dresden in East Germany. I am a sports educator and teacher with more than 20 years of work experience as gymnastics instructor and leader. I coached various sports and recreational child care projects and programs in Germany as well as in the United States.
After my graduation with a double major in pedagogy and sports science at the University of Leipzig (Germany), I not only worked in leading coaching positions but also developed a very successful children outreach program in cooperation with regional childcare institutions in my hometown Dresden. I was able to familiarize myself with German school concepts and curricula for physical education through my long-time collaboration with child care institutions and elementary schools. I seamlessly continued to work with children as a head coach in gymnastics and in recreational classes after my move to the US.
My many years of teaching children of ages ranging from 3 through 16 have been extremely rewarding (and fun!) and also taught me lots of knowledge in child development and behavior.
As a parent of 3 bilingual kids, I know how fascinating and benefitting it is for a child to grow up in a multicultural and bilingual environment.
In my free time I and my family enjoy to travel, being outdoors, and staying active with various kinds of sports. I am also very interested in art, music, and classical ballet.
I am so much looking forward to be part of the GSP community and can’t wait to be the preschool-teacher for the Elephants and get to know all the young personalities and their families.
Elephants go! Contact Anja




Kati Heckmann, Kindergarten - Eulen

I was born and raised in a little town in Bavaria and have been in the States for over 25 years now! When I was pregnant with my first child I started to study at PCC. In 1991 I earned my AA degree in Early Childhood Education. For several years I worked at Mountain Park Playschool; first as a preschool teacher, and then as the head teacher for their school age program. After the birth of my second childI started my own childcare business. In the summer of 2000 I received a phone call from the German American School offering me a teaching position in the preschoolprogram which I accepted.I taught Preschool for four years until I was asked to teachKindergarten in 2004. I have enjoyed teaching and learning with this particular age group ever since.

My belief that we are all life-long learners moved me to pursue my Masters in Teaching, which I completed in the spring of 2013. Now I might take a little break from furthering my own education and focus on the many hobbies I put on hold while earning my Masters. Contact Kati

Susi Kapela, Pre-K Assistant

I was born in Nürnberg, Germany, and attended the Gymnasium there and the Höhere Handelsschule. In 1969 I moved to Portland, OR, where I attended college. I have been involved with a Spielgruppe my children attended and later on volunteered in the classrooms of the German Saturday School of Portland and for the past two years I taught the full immersion class for 4-7 year old children. I also volunteer for the Beaverton Art Literacy Program, as well as in my children’s and grandchildren’s classrooms here in Beaverton. My family and I enjoy camping, hiking, gardening and are involved with soccer, golf and other sports. Contact Susi


Gertrud Kirsch-Theisen, Pre- K Assistant

I was born and raised in a small rural town in western Germany (Saarland). After I received my Certificate in Early Childhood Education I worked as a Kindergarten teacher for almost 20 years. In 1992 my husband and I decided to move to the US. From 1997-2005, I taught Preschool and Kindergarten here at the GSP. After working four years at the front desk, I realized how much I missed being more involved with the children. As a result, I will be the assistant for this year's Eulen class and am looking forward to being back in the classroom. Contact Gertrud


Monika Johnson, Preschool & Kindergarten Music
Noel Kuhn, Extended Care Staff

I love nature, so it has been wonderful growing up in the Pacific Northwest! I was born in Portland and grew up with four sisters and one brother. My mother is Hungarian and I have German ancestry on my dad's side. In high school I was a nanny and balloon artist at restaurants. Afterward I attended BYU in Provo, UT and received a BS in Marriage, Family and Human Development with a focus in Family Life Education. Around this time I began working various jobs- an infant wobbler teacher for two years, an intern assisting with a Love& Logic class for drug addicted mothers and a cognitive skills trainer. I was a volunteer for my church in Madrid, Spain for almost two years and I have volunteered as a puppeteer for Kids on the Block. The past two years I have loved working for Vermont Hills Family Life Center at the German American School and I am excited to have the opportunity to now be a part of the staff for the German American School Extended Care program and hopefully pick up some German at the weekly class. My interests lie in art, dance, cooking, human development, nature, music, reading and just learning about the world-especially through the eyes of children. I love to see their excitement as they play and learn. Contact Noel

Juliana Marciano, Kindergarten

Hi my name is Juliana Marciano!

I come from Cologne, Germany - the prettiest part in the country!

I recently moved from Brazil, where I worked for four and a half years at two German schools in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which was an amazing experience. Before that I worked in a Kindergarten in Germany, where I studied Education. I am so excited to be part of this wonderful GSP community as the head teacher for the Waldeulen Kindergarten! Contact Juliana.


Imke Melles, Fourth Grade

I was born and raised in Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, a college town in Northwest Germany. After graduating from High School I spent six months as an Au Pair in Dublin, Ireland, then moved back to Oldenburg to study at the Carl von Ossietzky University, where I received my first state exam. I spent my student teaching years in Hamlin. I moved to Portland in 1994 and taught at the German American School from 1995 to 2000, and then moved back to Germany. My husband and I decided to make Portland our permanent home and we returned to the states. In 2006 our son Henry was born, and after staying home with him for three years, I returned to the German American School of Portland. Now we are both attending the school. I love Oregon and the great outdoors here and I enjoy gardening, reading, travelling and of crafting. Contact Imke


Lisa Memmer, Third Grade

I was born in Landau, in Southwest Germany. I grew up in a village nearby, Hauenstein, which is situated in the middle of the Palatinate Forest, the biggest forest in Germany.

After the Abitur, I studied at the Universität in Landau and received my degree for teaching Biology and English. After completing my teacher training in Göllheim, I enjoyed working at the Mannlich Realschule in Zweibrücken for seven years.

I always wanted to get some work experience abroad and therefore moved to Portland, Oregon in August 2014, to join the German American School.

I am very excited to work with the students and to be a part of this great community.

Outside of school I enjoy all sorts of outdoor sports, like trail running, mountain biking, climbing and hiking and I am looking forward to what beautiful Oregon's outdoors has to offer.

Contact Lisa





Iris Noack, Art

I was born in the Black Forest and grew up on the Schwäbische Alb in southern Germany. After the Abitur, I went to work in New York for a year, but then ended up staying there and getting married. In 1989 I graduated from SUNY Purchase School of the Arts with a BFA and have been working in the Graphic Arts field since. Volunteering in teaching art in classrooms at the public school level taught me the joy and fun to work with kids in an art environment. Art is exciting to teach since everybody is an artist and there is no "right" or "wrong". And, as I like telling the kids, art is everywhere around us and all the other subjects are also a part of art class. I am looking forward to another year of learning about artists and their work, and looking closely at the art of cultures around the world. Contact Iris


Rita Noller, First Grade

I was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. After the Abitur, I studied at the Pädagogische Hochschule Berlin, with emphasis on Psychology and English as a foreign language. My first Staatsexamen allowed me to teach from first to tenth grade. After an 18 month internship at an elementary school in Kreuzberg, I received the second Staatsexamen. During my studies and the internship I was very involved with the Turkish culture. At the same elementary school, I was also a homeroom teacher and taught a variety of subjects in grades one through six. I moved to the United States in 1982 and have lived in Florida, Connecticut, Tennessee and now, Oregon. I have been teaching at the German American School since 1996, working with Kindergartners, first and second graders. My interests include literature, theater, travel, cross stitch, and spending time with family and friends. Contact Rita

Heike Ocko, 5th Grade

I was born in Bremen in northern Germany and then spent my school years in Mayen in the Eifel-region. Later, I attended the Rheinische-Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität in Bonn and received my degree for teaching mathematics and biology which included two years of student teaching.

After some time working as a teacher near Stuttgart, my husband and I moved to Corvallis, Oregon in 2001. Our daughter and our son were both born there.

When we moved to Portland in 2009, my goal was to work with children again. Trying to connect my roots with my new home, I taught private German lessons and co-founded and co-taught a weekly German immersion preschool in my neighborhood.

I am excited to get the opportunity to return to work for the German American School. I am very much looking forward to contributing to this wonderful community and hope I can spark enthusiasm for math, science and German language and culture in the kids.

In my spare time, I like to spend time with my family and friends and enjoy the beautiful Northwest. Contact Heike

Carson Olson, Extended Care Staff

I grew up in Beaverton and attended Valley Catholic School all the way from grade school through High School. My love for children began when I was very young, because my mom is a nanny, so I grew up learning everything I know about childcare from her. During High School, I worked as a teacher’s assistant at Valley Catholic Early Learning School, and also babysat for a German family whose two daughters attended GSP. Once I graduated in 2010, I moved to Corvallis to attend Oregon State University. That is where my passion for the German language began. I started taking German courses and fell in love with the language. After finishing my freshman year at OSU in 2011, I worked all summer and saved up enough money to move to Germany.

In August of 2011, I made the move and began working as an Au Pair Mädchen for a family in Weilheim, Germany. After my year in Weilheim, I decided to extend my stay and spent a summer living in Grainau (a very small village in Bavaria near Garmisch-Partenkirchen.) I was able to obtain a work visa to stay when I was offered a job at an event company called Plan B based in Munich. I did a lot of translating work for the company, and was given the opportunity to travel all over Europe.  In September of 2012, I moved to Innsbruck, Austria to study at the University there. I began studying Translationswissenschaft (Translating Studies), and working as a nanny.

Having been a dancer all my life, I joined the Swarco Raiderettes Dance Team. The Swarco Raiders are a professional football team in Innsbruck and are the European sister team to the well-known NFL team, the Oakland Raiders. I was very fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to dance for this team and assist with coaching the Junior Dance Team.

I have been back in Beaverton since August 2014, and was thrilled when I was offered a job here at GSP. I grew up driving by the school every day and would have never thought in a million years that I would one day move to Germany, learn the language, and then end up working here! Isn’t life funny that way?

I absolutely love working with the school-age classroom and teaching Second Step to our Kindergarten classes. I also love that I am able to speak German every day!

In my free time I enjoy singing, songwriting, and dancing. I look forward to meeting you all and working with your children.

Ashley Parsons, Extended Care Coordinator

I was born in California, raised all over the country, finally settling in the Pacific Northwest. I received my undergraduate from Humboldt State University in Wildlife Biology emphasizing in Environmental Ethics and Communication. Some of my past work history includes, Educational Coordinator for the Wright Wildlife Refuge, Naturalist for the Oregon Zoo, and Recreational Director for Blue Lake and Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Departments. I am looking forward to being an official part of the GSP team, since they have already welcomed me into their family. In December 2013, I received my Masters of Zoology Science Inquiry Education, through Miami University. It is a Global Field Program, which encourages international travels for firsthand experiences with inquiry-driven education, environmental stewardship, and global understanding. The best part is that I bring all this back to the classroom to promote awareness of global and local conservation issues. I truly enjoy introducing children to the natur l world and learning together how we can be the difference the world needs.

Contact Ashley

Sarah Peterson, Second Grade

I was born and raised in Giengen a. d. Brenz, a beautiful part of Germany called Schwabenländle. As a teenager I enjoyed working with younger students, so deciding on what to do as a profession was easy: education! I studied to become an elementary school teacher in Freiburg im Breisgau. After completing my teacher training in Ulm I enjoyed working at several schools, one of which was in Berlin. After my second son was born, my husband, the kids, and I moved to Portland in June of 2012. I love the cultural challenges I have as a teacher here at GSP and am looking forward to another great school year.  Contact Sarah

Shannon Prince, Second Grade English and Social Sciences

My husband, third grade son and I are excited to be spending our fourth year at the GSP! A native of Oregon, I spent my first 20 years of life in the Portland area before venturing to Seattle Pacific University, where I earned my B.A. degree in Communication. I continued my education at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, earning a Master of Arts degree in Teaching. After graduation, I had the wonderful opportunity to live in Germany for two and a half years, where I worked for the Department of Defense Dependent Schools at Bonn American Elementary School, in the Special Education Department. Upon returning to the U.S., we spent three years in Texas and five years in Coos Bay, Oregon, where I taught at Blossom Gulch Elementary School. We then relocated to northern Idaho, where I took four years off to raise our, now eight year old, son, Christian. Through a lucky twist of fate we were able to return to the Portland area and were fortunate enough to become a part of the GSP team. Contact Shannon

Melissa Rice, Extended Care Staff

Having always had a knack for working with little ones, I obtained my first infant and child CPR certification when I was 11 years old. Since then, I have studied child development in Nevada, California, and most recently Hamburg, Germany. During my 6 year stay in Germany I was able to work as an erzieherin (preschool teacher) for an integrative kindergarten specializing in bilingual children and children with disabilities. My time working with such a fabulous culture has led me into The German American School of Portland, where I am looking forward to expanding my experience and education, while creating a fun learning environment for your child. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking new and fun dishes, and fire dancing. Ich freue mich Sie kennenzulernen!

Contact Melissa


Christiane Seydel, Sixth Grade Social Studies - Gilkey

Born in Bochum, in the Ruhr Valley, I did a masters equivalent in Biology and P.E. at the University of Karlsruhe and continued my teacher education for two years in Ettlingen near Karlsruhe and finalized it successfully with the second German teacher’s exam. I began teaching grades 11 to 13 at the Gymnasium in Waldshut-Tiengen and was transferred to a Gymnasium in Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart. In mid 1991 I followed my husband to Switzerland where I taught at a Kantosschule in Luzern for three years. From there we moved to the West Coast where I taught German at an Elementary School in Lake Oswego for Grades one to five for several years. After seven years, my family and I had to move back to Erlangen (Bayern), where I was again teaching Biology and P.E. at the local Gymnasium. Returning to the US in 2006, I picked up where I left off in 2001, enjoying the Pacific Northwest with my husband Roland and my children Anna, Julia and our twins Paul and Benjamin. We love to hike, ski, play tennis and soccer and walking our dog Luna. Contact Christiane

Jan Vanderstraeten, Sport

Born and raised in the picturesque town of Ghent in Belgium, teaching Physical Education to children has been a passion my entire life. I hold a Master`s in Sport Sciences and Kinetics and a teaching degree in Physical Education from the University of Ghent. I have taught and coached thousands of children of all ages over the course of my 9 years of experience in schools and sports centra.

I love seeing children having fun while getting better at a sport or during an exercise. I am a strong believer of providing students with the skills and attitudes needed to be successful to create a fun, active and healthy lifestyle for themselves. I am a big fan of all things soccer (Timbers; AA Gent; Belgium; but also Bayern sorry Dortmund fans), am an avid cyclist, and love Olympic Team Handball – I now play for Portland's local Team Handball Club, the Portland Sasquatch. I have been in Portland since January 2014 and I am working hard to put down some roots in the City of Roses with my beloved Oregonian wife.

Contact Jan

Chelsea West, First, Fourth and Fifth Grade English Teacher, Elementary Second Step

I was born and raised in Oregon, though I spent several years living and traveling to various places around the world before returning to Portland. I was fortunate enough to study in Vienna for several semesters during university. I completed my bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma Christian University in Elementary Education and International Studies. I taught in the public school system in Oklahoma City before moving to Ghana, West Africa. I spent the two years teaching English, Reading and Social Studies at an orphanage school in rural Ghana. I moved back to Portland to complete my M.Ed and obtain endorsements in ESOL and Reading at the University of Portland. In my spare time I manage a vocational training non-profit program in Ghana and explore the beauty of the NW with my husband. I am excited about another year with the students and families of GSP! Contact Chelsea

Anke Wester, Second Grade

I was born and raised in Bonn, the former Capital of the Federal Republic of Germany, in North-Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). During school I attended the German Scout program (St. Georgs Pfadfinder) and became an international scout leader. I enjoyed the challenging work with children. After my A-levels I decided apply for business studies at the “Fachhochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg”. The desire to become a teacher became clear through the Scout program and the exciting work with children. I moved to Paderborn and started my studies for elementary level education at the University of Paderborn. During this time I had the chance to go to Australia as an exchange student for one year. In 2007 I passed das Erste Staatsexamen (first state exam). I continued my teacher training in Wipperfürth, close to Cologne. There I completed my studies with das Zweite Staatsexamen (the second state exam). For two years I worked as a substitute teacher in different primary schools in the Rhine Area. My interest in different cultures and the cultural exchange with children are the major reasons why I work for the German American School. In my free time I like to travel, do artwork, go skiing or rowing, play Ultimate Frisbee, read a good book and simply make the most of my experience living in the United States for the first time. I´m looking forward to a challenging and interesting year in Portland. Contact Anke



Daniela Williams, Preschool - Drachen

I was born and raised in a small town in Bavaria. There I met my husband and in the summer of 1994 we moved to Olympia, Washington. After taking a short detour to West Virginia, we finally landed here in Oregon in 1998. After actively working as a volunteer at my daughter’s school, I decided to find a career in Early Childhood Education. I found working with children to be the most rewarding, challenging and fun profession, that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Since 1998 I have been working with children, ranging in ages from two – six. I feel very honored and proud to be part of our wonderful GSP community. Contact Daniela

Sarah Wojcik, Preschool Teacher

My passion for the German language and culture started at 8 years old when my family moved to Starnberg, Germany. My older brother and I attended Munich International School for three years where I began learning German by playing and communicating with my peers on the playground. I was fortunate enough to continue learning German through middle and high school in Charlotte, North Carolina and then at the University of South Carolina while receiving my degree in Early Childhood Education. After graduating, I spent a year teaching elementary school English on a Fulbright scholarship in Wittenberg, Germany. I am so excited to be working with our preschoolers this year and helping them grow as learners! Contact Sarah