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.
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.
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 first grader) and Jeffrey (a GSP preschooler).Contact Blake
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 look forward greatly to teaching one of the most exciting subjects of all: physical education (P.E.) at GSP this upcoming school year. I will give my very best to make this a wonderful and fun time we all can have together! Contact Sarah
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
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
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
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 applied to 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
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