Teaching Staff

CHRISTINE GEHRIG-DOWNIE

christine-gehrig-downie

Ich bin in der Nähe von Göttingen geboren, wo ich Biologie studierte, promovierte und als Dozentin an der Uni arbeitete. Während meiner Doktorarbeit lernte ich meinen Mann Bryan kennen, den es nach 11 Jahren in Deutschland wieder in seine Heimat, die Bay Area, zog.  Seit April 2016 leben wir gemeinsam mit unserer Tochter Alena und zwei Katzen im schönen Alameda.  Obwohl ich beruflich bisher nur junge Erwachsene unterrichtet habe, lag mir die Arbeit mit Kindern schon immer sehr am Herzen. Ich wirkte im Kindergottesdienst mit und leitete einen Sing-, Spiel- und Basteltreff für Kindergartenkinder in der Gemeinde.  Durch meine Tochter lernte ich die GSEB kennen und lieben, und so freute ich mich sehr, als mir angeboten wurde, die Kindergartenklassen zu übernehmen.  Mein Unterricht setzt sich aus gemeinsamem Spiel, Basteln und Singen, sowie phonetischen und ersten Schreibübungen zusammen. Bei allen Aktivitäten wird ausschließlich deutsch gesprochen, und so spielerisch das Verständnis und der Wortschatz der Kinder erweitert und gefestigt.

I was born in Germany near Göttingen, where I studied biology and worked as a lecturer at the university. During my PhD, I met my husband Bryan, who is from the Bay Area, originally.  In April 2016, we moved together with our daughter Alena to Alameda. It is important to us that Alena does not forget her German roots, and therefore we were thrilled, when we found out about GSEB.Although professionally, I have only taught young adults so far, I have always loved working with children as well. I have been very active organizing kids’ programs at church and have been volunteering at Alena’s preschools. Through her, I got to know and love the GSEB community, and so I was very happy when I was offered to take over the kindergarten classes.  My classes are immersions into German language and culture and consist of playing together, crafting and singing, as well as phonetics and first writing exercises. The children learn in a fun environment, and playfully improve their understanding and extend their vocabulary.

DANIEL GORSTEN SCHUENEMANN

Born in the US, raised in Brazil, I have spent most of my professional life in Germany and Brazil. l moved to the US at the end of 2015. Since then, l have been working in different educational settings and during the week, l work as a Kindergarten assistant at a Waldorf inspired Charter School in Marin as well as a substitute elementary teacher for the Contra Costa School District. German and Portuguese are my mother tongues. l have a BA in Psychology from the Universidade de Sao Paulo – USP and a German “Bäcker Gesellen Brief.”

 

 

 

MONIKA HARTMANN

Monika Hartmann

Monika Hartmann was born in Germany, where she played basketball and earned a teaching credential for elementary school, focusing her studies on pedagogy, German language and sports. During her schooling, she taught all levels of German, and coached a basketball team (AG) for 3rd and 4th graders.  After moving to California, she taught German at the Concord Adult School.

Additionally, Monika holds a master’s degree in integral psychology from John F. Kennedy University.  For the past 20 years, Monika has taught various English and math classes at a business college, making sure to include some German words and phrases into her lessons.  She has taught a second grade class at the German Language summer camp in Berkeley and also teaches a fifth grade class at BAKS+ in Berkeley. She lives in Martinez with her husband, a daughter, and her menagerie of dogs, cats, and birds.

 

SONJA HINRICHSEN

Sonja Hinrichsen

Sonja Hinrichsen was born and raised near Reutlingen in Southwestern Germany. She studied English/American Studies and Art at the University of Mainz, University of Stuttgart and Academy of Art and Design in Stuttgart, where she obtained a degree in Art Education.

Sonja taught German and English for several years – for adults as well as children and youth. Amongst others, she taught at the Volkshochschule Stuttgart (a nation-wide community education program), at language schools and school support programs (middle and high school students). She also taught groups for corporate clients as well as private students (one-on-one).

Initially Sonja came to the United States for graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute. After completing a master’s degree in New Genres Art in 2001, she moved back to Germany, taught English and German and traveled throughout Europe for various arts projects. Longer stays included Slovakia and Holland.

In 2005 Sonja relocated back to the San Francisco Bay Area and now lives in Oakland. Besides teaching German, she is an active artist. Her ongoing project “Snow Drawings” has received attention nationally and internationally.

OTTI KIRALY

Otti KiralyMeine Ausbildung an der Universität München als Lehrerin für Deutsch und Latein kommt mir zugute im Unterricht von Erwachsenen, die deutsch lernen wollen, aber auch Interesse haben für die sprachlichen Zusammenhänge.  Vor etwa 45 Jahren hab ich angefangen, an der GSEB zu unterrichten.  Ganz klein war die Schule noch und lange nicht so professionell wie heute.  Ich war also fast auf dem ganzen Weg dabei, die Schule heranwachsen und reifen zu sehen.  Seit 1994, beim Zusammenschluss aller Bay Area Samstagschulen  zu GASANC hab ich die Schule viele Jahre lang vertreten  und als Vorstandsmitglied gedient.

My education at the University in Munich is in linguistics, German and Latin.  My own interest in the relationships of languages makes me love to teach adult students with whom I can share this knowledge. I take pride in the fact that I have been part of GSEB off and on for 45 years, allowing me to see GSEB grow and develop into the professional language school it is today. I served as delegate for the school, when in 1994, all the Bay Area schools joined to form what is now known as GASANC (German Association of Saturday School of Northern California), and I served as secretary on the Board.

MARTIN LANDESVATTER

Martin LandesvatterMartin Landesvatter, geboren in Remscheid, aufgewachsen in Karlstadt in Nordbayern.  Seit 1996 mit Nadine Shaw verheiratet, seit 1997 in den USA; zwei Soehne: Jacob, geboren 1996, Kai, geboren 1999. Unterrichte (mit Unterbrechungen) seit 1999 an der GSEB.

Anbei ein sehr huebsches “Selfie” – ich sehe nicht immer so abgeschafft aus, das war nach 80 km auf dem Fahrrad.

 

 

MIRJAM LEOPOLDSBERGER

Mirjam LeopoldsbergerMirjam and her family have been an active part of the GSEB family since 2012.  She has two children that attend the school – Josh (12) is in his 5th year and Luna (7) is in her 3rd year. Mirjam grew up in Germany in a home of educators and currently lives in Pleasanton.  She has a love for language, learning and working with children.  Mirjam is a caretaker at heart.  In addition to her dedication to the German school, she is also a nurse (not actively working as such at the time) and volunteers regularly at her church and her daughter’s elementary school.

 

 

SILKE MAURER

silke-maurer

Ich bin in Deutschland geboren und in Wiesbaden, Hessen, aufgewachsen. In Mainz habe ich ich Grafik-Design/Visuelle Kommunikation studiert. Anschließend habe ich in verschiedenen Verlagen und Werbeagenturen gearbeitet während meine Familie und ich von Hessen aus durch drei Bundesländer gezogen sind. Chorsingen, inline skaten und meine Katzen waren meine Hobbies. Meine vier Kinder haben mich in der Zeit gelehrt zu basteln, zu singen, zu spielen und Geschichten vorzulesen.  In 2010 zogen wir nach Berkeley, CA, und ich half meinen Kindern sich in der neuen Umgebung zurechtzufinden. Da fast keiner Englisch sprechen konnte, weiß ich, was es für Kinder bedeutet eine neue Sprache zu lernen. Ich glaube fest, dass alles lernen mit Spaß leichter geht, und ich will mein bestes geben um eine angenehme Atmosphäre mit lustigen Aktivitäten und lachen in meiner Gruppe zu schaffen.

I was born in Germany and grew up in Wiesbaden, Hessen. In Mainz, I earned a degree in Graphic-Design/Visual Communication. I have worked in publishing and advertising in various fields while my family and I moved from Hessen through three different German states.
I enjoyed singing in a choir, inline skating and my cats.  Along the journey, my four children educated me in singing, playing, crafting and story reading.  In 2010, my family relocated again, now to Berkeley, CA, where I’ve helped my kids get settled into the new environment. Since they hardly spoke any English back then, I know what it’s like for children to learn a new language. I strongly believe that any learning is much easier if kids have fun, and I will try my very best to create an enjoyable atmosphere, with fun activities and laughter in the classroom.

ANITA MUELLER HARLEY

Anita Mueller Harley grew up in Switzerland. She first studied communications and eventually moved to New York to study film and art; she received her Masters of Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in 1999. Anita  likes to connect with young creative minds: For the past years, she has been teaching art, graphic design and German at schools in the San Francisco area to grades 1-8.

ULLI MUENKER

Ulli ist in Deutschland geboren und in Siegen aufgewachsen circa 100 Kilometer oestlich von Koeln. Zwischen 1996 und 1999 lebte und arbeitete Ulli in Sued-Ost Asien. Danach wohnte sie fuer 15 Jahren in New York. 2015 zog sie mit ihrer Partnerin and ihren zwei Jungen nach Orinda. Ulli arbeitet im Online Marketing bei McKesson in San Francisco. In ihrer Freizeit geht sie mit ihrer Familie gerne wandern, schwimmen, und schaut sich gerne Flohmaerkte an. Sie liebt Tatort, Lindenstrasse und Marzipan.

 

 

 

 

LINDA ODUNCO

Linda OduncoI have been a teacher at the GSEB since 2007. I have taught preschoolers, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. Additionally, I have been teaching  at a German after school program named BAKS+ in Pleasant Hill, CA.  I really enjoy speaking and teaching German very much.

A little bit about my background:  After graduating from Justus-von Liebig Gymnasium in Neusaess, Germany, I went to the University of Augsburg and studied to be an English and history teacher.  I also worked as a tutor in a private tutoring school in Germany for 5 years, helping children of different ages and grades.

A little bit about me: I’m a Native German.  I was born and raised in the beautiful little town called Füssen, In Bavaria, south of Munich.  Some of you might have heard of the castle “Schloss Neuschwanstein”, for which Füssen is famous.

To improve my English, I came to the US for a year abroad in 2006. Eventually, I met my husband here and stayed. We live happily with our two little dogs in the East Bay.

From 2006 until now, I have always been working with children, providing childcare and private tutoring. I have also worked with children with ADHD, ADD and bipolar disorder.  Nine years ago, I was invited by a former GSEB teacher to come to the school and see if I liked to work there.  I have been a part of this school ever since.

WILLIAM PEIGHTAL

William Peightal ist Amerikaner aus Long Beach, CA. Er spricht  seit 8 Jahren Deutsch und hat seinen Bachelor sowie sein Masterstudium in Heidelberg gemacht, wo er auch  ein Jahr als Student lebte. Er hat 4-Jahre Erfahrung als Lehrer, zwei Jahre als High School Lehrer in Kalifornien, ein Jahr als Dozent an der California State University, Long Beach und ein Jahr als Lehrerassistent an einer Primärschule in Ciudad Rodrigo, Spanien. Seine Hobbys sind vor allem Kultur: Filme, Theater, Museen, Cafés und Brauereien. Er freut sich, an der German School of the East Bay mit einem tollen Lehrerkollegium unterrichten zu dürfen.

William Peightal is an American from Long Beach, CA. He began learning German 8 years ago. Since then, he has earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in German Studies as well as a year abroad in Heidelberg. William also has 4-years teaching experience: two years as a high school teacher in California, one year as a teaching associate at California State University, Long Beach, and one year as a conversation assistant in Ciudad Rodrigo, Spain. His hobbies are mainly cultural: film, theater, museums, cafes, and breweries are his scene. He’s very happy and looking forward to the coming year working with such a great faculty at the German School of the East Bay.

KARL PFEIFFER

Karl PfeifferKarl Pfeiffer stammt aus der württembergischen Region Hohenlohe und wanderte nach Abschluss seines Physik- und Theologiestudiums an der Universität Tübingen und des Lehramtsreferendariats für Gymnasien und Berufschulen in die USA aus.  Er ist ATA-zertifizierter technischer Übersetzer (Englisch>Deutsch) und Mitglied auf Lebenszeit des amerikanischen Deutschlehrerverbands AATG. Er hat an den Goethe-Instituten in Chicago und Houston sowie an der Pepperdine University Deutsch als Fremdsprache unterrichtet.  Karl war von 2000-2005 GSEB-Präsident, von 2005-2013 Präsident unseres Dachverbands GASANC, fungiert derzeit als GASANC-Schatzmeister und unterrichtet seit 2006 unsere DSD- und AP-Vorbereitungskurse.  2013 wurde Karl für sein ehrenamtliches Engagement mit dem Bundesverdienskreuz geehrt.  In seiner (knappen) Freizeit ist er auf einem von 101 Wanderwegen in der Bay Area zu finden.

Karl Pfeiffer, a native of Germany, is a credentialed secondary and vocational school teacher, an ATA-certified (English>German) technical translator and an AATG Life Member. After graduating from the University of Tübingen, Germany, with a degree in Physics and Theology, he has held teaching positions for German as a Foreign Language with the Goethe-Institut in Chicago and Houston as well as Pepperdine University.  Karl was GSEB President from 2000-2005, president of our umbrella organization GASANC from 2005-2013, now GASANC treasurer, and has been teaching our DSD and AP prep classes since 2006. In 2013, Karl was awarded the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his service on behalf of the German language in the Bay Area.  In his (limited) spare time, he is checking off his list of 101 Bay Area hiking trails.

ALICIA ROY

Alicia Roy

Alicia Roy is a PhD student in the German Department at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has taught German language and literature classes since 2014. She obtained her dual major bachelor’s degree in German and Media Studies at Scripps College in California and afterwards worked at the Bundestag in Berlin and as a foreign language teaching assistant for the Fulbright Program in Giessen, Hesse. She studies early German cinema and in her spare time loves sci-fi television, cooking, and traveling.

 

 

 

 

BRITTA SCHOENFELDER –ZOHDI

Britta Schoenfelder ZohdiBritta Schoenfelder-Zohdi has taught the adult beginners at GSEB since 2013.  She was born and raised near Frankfurt, Germany.  After becoming a “Diplomsportlehrerin” at the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Köln, she came to the US in 1987 as a DAAD scholar to study Kinesiology.  She received her Ph.D. in Kinesiology at Louisiana State University in 1992.  She has lived in the Bay Area since 2001.  Britta has 3 daughters, born in Louisiana, Texas, and Germany, respectively.  They are all bilingual, and two of them passed their DSD2 exam as students of the GSEB. The middle daughter worked at GSEB as an assistant and now lives in Germany studying politics and ethnology at the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt.  Britta also works as a substitute teacher for BAKST + in Pleasant Hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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