Meet the GSB Teachers

Please meet our team of highly qualified and motivated teachers.

Admin Team

  • Raphael Hillisch

    Head of School

    I am originally from a tranquil village in Bavaria (southern Germany). From an early age, I eagerly read numerous books about the world and its variety of peoples and cultures. As soon as I was old enough, I started travelling to various countries around the world to experience what I had read about first hand. 

    After my studies of Latin, English, and teaching at the University of Regensburg, I was able to align my work with my passion for languages, education and cultures, which brought me from Germany to educational leadership positions in Colombia and China and widened my understanding of global approaches to education.

    At GSB, my main goal as a leader is to share my excitement and curiosity about the world with our young learners, and to work with all stakeholders to guide GSB on its continued path of growth. I am grateful to help GSB develop its next steps as a dynamic home of top notch international teaching and learning. Having been part of school leadership in German schools on three different continents, I am happy to be able to contribute my experience as well as integrate new ideas each day.

  • Melissa Bourgeois

    Deputy Head of School, Head of English Department, Humanities Teacher

    As someone with a diverse background as an educator and school leader, I love connecting with students, staff, and families. Before coming to GSB, I taught and mentored in the NYC public schools and abroad, led the Education Department of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and even taught yoga to both children and adults. I hold a BA in English from Columbia University, a master’s in Education from Lehman College as a NYC Teaching Fellow, and a master’s in Educational Psychology from Hunter College, alongside a Certificate in School Management and Leadership from Harvard University.

    During my years as a young Language Arts instructor at the Manhattan School for Children, I dove deep into teaching and learning, and my classroom was used as a model for the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. My colleagues and I worked closely with consultants from Teachers College to practice and refine the workshop model of teaching reading and writing. Educators from various schools would observe. It was during this time that I fell in love with teaching language arts and helping others learn best teaching practices. Fast forward to now: I’m delighted to be able to stay connected to the classroom while also fulfilling a leadership role at GSB.

    As a school leader, I value collaboration with colleagues and families, and am dedicated to operationalizing the mission of GSB. Helping to lead our growing program is an adventure that I look forward to each day.

    I’ve had the pleasure of teaching at GSB since the school was founded in 2014. I’ve had a number of titles over the years including Head of Lower School, Head of the English Department, and Head of School Development, which led to my current role, Assistant Principal. I remain grateful to be part of such a supportive, dynamic community.

  • Brianna Jensen

    Grade 1 Class Teacher, Head of Lower School, Head of ELL and Special Education

    I’m from California, but my teaching assignments took me around the world before I ended up in Brooklyn. After graduating with a BA in psychology, I moved to Shanghai, China, to teach English to elementary-school students. I returned to the United States for graduate school at Teachers College, Columbia University, where I received an MA in Elementary Inclusive Education. After working abroad and in New York City public schools, I found a great fit at GSB. GSB shares my commitments to individualized education and culturally responsive teaching.

    I strive to create a classroom community that fosters students’ social-emotional development and individual academic growth. Through inquiry and discussion, I hope to support students in developing a lifelong interest in learning, critical-thinking skills, and independence.

    In addition to being a teacher, I also support the school community as English Language Learning coordinator and Special Education coordinator. I enjoy supporting teachers and students across grades to help GSB’s diverse student population thrive. My favorite thing about GSB is the connection between staff, families, and students.

  • Kathleen Wenzel

    Head of Kindergarten

    I have an acting degree from the Theater Academy Mannheim , in Germany. After graduation, as a theater educator with special-needs teenagers, I quickly discovered my love of teaching children. Later, in Berlin, I received an additional certification in intercultural education, with a specialization in communication and pedagogy.

    In 2010, I began working at pre-schools in Germany as a theater educator; I also served as a pre-school teacher of children between the ages of one and three, with a focus on the teachings of the Hungarian pediatrician Emmi Pikler.

    I was also a private tutor in voice and speech for new residents in Germany. This work progressed to teaching them the German language as well.

    In 2015 I came to New York City, where I worked as a lead teacher in a German immersion pre-school, and I’ve been part of the Kindergarten team at GSB since 2017.

    I love working with children, and especially enjoy helping them discover their abilities and acquire self-confidence and curiosity about the world.

  • Judith Andreas

    Grades 4 and 6 Class Teacher, German Subjects, Sports Teacher

    My studies included Physical Education and German Studies at the Pedagogical University in Heidelberg, along with the I. & II. State Examinations.

    Through my in-depth studies of Sports Science at Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg, where I received my Masters degree, I was able to support sports projects in the U.S. at California State University, in Long Beach. These projects also allowed me to teach at a German and American school, which was excellent preparation for my role at GSB.

    I am happy to be part of the GSB community, and look forward to working with the students each day.

  • Felix Berg

    Sports Teacher, Grades 1-8; Math/Sachkunde, Grade 4; German support, Grades 7-8

    Born and raised in a small village in western Germany, I moved to Cologne to study physical education, mathematics and pedagogy. During my time as a student, I fell deeply in love with the mountains. I worked for four winter seasons as a mountain guide and snowboard instructor. In this time I learned to lead groups in challenging conditions and had some of the best adventures in my life.

    Teaching at GSB is my newest adventure and I am excited to work with young minds each day. I see myself as a creative, open-minded, social person who loves teamwork and unconventional and new styles of thinking, teaching and living. I have the strong belief that children need to build up their self-efficacy in order to develop a strong personality. My job is to support students on this journey.

    In addition to my Masters degree, I have a scholarship for teaching sports at special schools, which helps me understand the needs of all children.

    Besides teaching, I enjoy various types of sports. Roundnet, also called Spikeball, is one of my bigger passions. I am offering an after school activity focusing on this fantastic new sport.

    I am glad to be a part of the GSB community and look forward to more adventures!

  • Lucienne Bertz

    Class Teacher, German Subjects, Grade 1

    My interest in working with children began early in my life. Born and raised in Berlin, I was part of my neighborhood youth center when I was a teen. To reach more teenagers, the educators and some of the regulars (I among them!) started meeting youth in public spaces where they hang out rather than hoping they came to us. Every Sunday we traveled to a public park with our van full of toys and different activities for the kids in the community. This early experience sparked my interest in working with children and teenagers

    I began my teaching career after studying Early Childhood Education at Pestalozzi- Fröbel Haus in Berlin with a focus on art and theater education and bilingual learning. My last internship at Berlin Bilingual School turned into my first teaching position, supporting the 1st and 2nd Grade’s swimming and PE lessons and creating the school’s after school program.

    I came to NYC in 2013. Among other things, I organized and carried out the curriculum of German speaking summer-camps and after-school programs, founded and taught a “playschool” and most recently worked in a German preschool as mentor teacher, where, in addition to the work as early childhood educator, I supported the team with the implementation of the school’s philosophy based on interest-driven learning and anti-bias education.

    I believe that teachers can make a difference, and children are best understood and supported in the context of their family, culture and community – my classroom is an accepting, safe and stimulating space where I encourage my students to think critically and creatively. Furthermore, I foster social emotional learning, so we learn to take care of ourselves and one another.

    I am excited to be part of GSB’s diverse community.

  • Diana Crum

    Dance Teacher

    I began teaching at German School Brooklyn in 2021. In addition, I am a Teaching Artist with ArtsConnection and NJPAC and a doctoral student at Teachers College. I have over ten years of experience teaching in preK-12 public schools and have served as Adjunct Faculty/Visiting Artist at Washington & Lee University, University of the Arts, and Hollins University. From 2020-2021, I served as Interim Director of Education at Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts. From 2010-21, I worked at Movement Research, where I found my tribe of dancers and developed Dance Makers in the Schools, a collaboration with 11 NYC public and charter school communities. My choreography has been presented in New York, Atlanta, Mexico, Germany, France and Austria. I have performed in venues ranging from Lincoln Center to artist-run spaces in the outer boroughs. Originally from Atlanta, GA, I studied dance at Columbia University (B.A.) and Hollins University (M.F.A.). I’m thrilled to be teaching at GSB, where the community values arts education and the students are great partners in learning.

  • Chris Deleigh

    English Teacher, Grade 3

    Originally from Bennington, Vermont; I spent the last sixteen years in Boston, where I earned my BA in communications studies from Northeastern University. After years working in the fashion industry, a career change was necessary, which ultimately led me to elementary education. I have spent the last 7 years working in private, public and Montessori after school programs, specializing in sports and the arts.

    In my free time I can be found enjoying most things outdoors, whether that be camping, mopeds, kayaking, hiking or snowboarding. I’m a film nerd with a particular love for horror and have a “not so secret” passion for cooking. 

    I’m incredibly excited to be part of the GSB community and looking forward to the start of each new school year.

  • Jens Ellerhold

    Music Teacher

    I am a musician and educator from Cologne, Germany. I have been teaching at German School Brooklyn since 2017. I hold a bachelor’s degree in music from the Conservatory of Amsterdam as well as a master’s degree in music from Queens College in New York. In 2017 I graduated from Touro College in New York with a master’s degree in early childhood and special education. 

    My goal is to help students achieve an aesthetic and academic understanding of music, practical music abilities, and – above all – an appreciation for music.

  • Ingrid Ellis

    Fast Track Teacher

    Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, I moved to Hamburg, Germany, as a child. There, I entered the Helene Lange Gymnasium in 6th grade and  graduated with an Abitur (university admission qualification).

    I then spent time in London before moving to New York City.  Here, I attended Columbia University, where I earned a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s from the Graduate School of Journalism. During this time I married and became a mother. I chose to be a stay-at-home mom and then an active volunteer at my children’s elementary schools. As part of the first class of a newly founded charter school, I gained experience working in the classroom as well as in organizational activities.

    In 2006, I began teaching Journalism and English Composition at CUNY, Kingsborough Community College, as an adjunct professor. The population at Kingsborough is extremely diverse, and I enjoy working with the students to encourage critical thinking and strengthen writing skills.  

    In February 2021, I joined German School Brooklyn, where I teach the Fast Track program for our new German language learners in grades 1-5, and also offer language support within the classroom. I am very happy to be at GSB and enjoy the way in which it unifies my experience with children, teaching and German language and culture (something I had been missing over the years). I look forward to continuing to grow in and contribute to the GSB community.

  • Ketirah Felder-Hogan

    School Counselor

    I received my Bachelor’s degree from American International College. Following that, I worked as a classroom paraprofessional and after-school program leader. From these experiences, I decided to pursue a degree that would allow me to aid in empowering students, families, and a variety of multicultural groups to achieve and accomplish success through education, future career goals, and health and wellness. 

    I graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Education in School Counseling, Masters in Psychological Counseling, and an Advanced Certificate in College Advising. My role as a school counselor is to encompass a comprehensive program that creates an effective, efficient, and progressive school environment that will allow all students to achieve academic, educational, and social/emotional success. I am excited to be able to work with German School Brooklyn students and families!

  • Diane Gnagnarelli

    English Subjects, Grades 4 and 6

    I have been a lower school head teacher at Saint Ann’s School, Muse Academy, and St. Saviour Catholic Academy and have been an instructor at Berkeley Carroll School’s Creative Arts Summer Program in Brooklyn for many years. The teaching of lower school children bookended my many years as a middle and high school theater teacher. At Saint Ann’s I directed many fully staged productions of classical and contemporary plays. I also had the opportunity to create the After School Program and a robust Community Service Program.

    Having been a feature film dialogue coach and public speaking coach, I devised a “Speak Up” class which was featured in Saint Ann’s Second Courses program for parents, alumni, and the community at large. I also taught Debate and a Model UN class with Dedimus Potestatem’s after school program.

    Looking for new experiences, I substituted at many schools including L’Ecole, Rodeph Shalom, The Compass School, and St. Saviour Catholic Academy as a way to get familiar with other teaching models. Being versatile and enjoying getting to re-invent and to challenge myself, I am thrilled to be part of the community at German School Brooklyn as an English teacher! Analyzing plays and discussing characters, motivations, settings, and helping students to comprehend the subtext is such a rich experience. I am excited to teach prose, poetry, drama, and non-fiction to students each year.

    My undergraduate dual degree is from Cornell University in Social Planning and Public Policy. I earned my MFA in Acting from Temple University and a certificate from the Centre Linguistique Applique in Besancon, France, so I understand the complexities involved in becoming fluent in another language. I have a great love for literature and have devoted my life to educating children. I am thrilled for the opportunity to work with the gifted team of educators and the wonderful group of students at GSB!

  • Justyna Grabowska

    Art Teacher, Grades 1-2, Afterschool Teacher

    I was born in Poland, where I studied special education. I believe that all children have the right and the ability to learn, even if their learning looks different from what you might expect. After completing my master’s degree, I moved to Switzerland and lived there for six years. During this time, I worked with people with autism as well as mentally and physically disabled individuals. In 2011, I moved to New York City and started caring for children in private family settings. I was also a pre-school teacher for a cooperative play group. I’m so pleased that this path led me to my current position, as a teacher’s assistant at GSB.

    Outside of school, I spend time with family and friends. I love to cook and try new healthy recipes. I appreciate nature and farms and enjoy traveling—discovering new places and meeting new people. My motto: organic food, exercise, emotional health, air, and sunshine are the best medicines!

  • Leah Hamlin

    English Subjects Teacher, K; Science and Social Studies Teacher, Grade 1

    I was born in Baltimore, Maryland before moving to Richmond, Virginia where I have spent most of my life. I attended Christopher Newport University where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master of Arts in Teaching. Since graduating, I have taught first and second grade. Some of my favorite experiences teaching so far have been looping from first to second grade with the same class, hosting a student teacher, and serving as a lead teacher. 

    In my free time, I enjoy cooking and baking, working out, reading, and exploring the city! I love live music, seeing comedy shows, and trying out new restaurants. 

    Since my own first day of Kindergarten, I have always said that I wanted to be a teacher! I am extremely passionate about the Science of Reading, culturally responsive pedagogy, positive behavioral interventions and supports, social emotional learning, and building relationships with students and families. I am thrilled to be a part of the GSB team and look forward to seeing the students each and every day!

  • Ebru Kara

    Kindergarten Teacher, Lower School Math Coordinator, Math in German Teacher, Grades 6-8

    I was born and raised in a multicultural environment in North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany. I received my teaching degree in Frankfurt a.M. and Siegen. I majored in Mathematics, Physics and Educational Sciences. 

    I have taught Mathematics and Physics classes to Middle School students and Mathematics, German and English lessons to bilingual lower school students in Germany. 

    From the outset of my teaching career, I have prioritized enriching my students’ understanding and interconnection with other people from different backgrounds. I believe this is one of the most valuable assets an individual should have in an increasingly global setting, particularly in New York. 

    Considering the ever-changing dynamics of education methods, my teaching style consistently involves stressing the unique potential of each student, and I approach my students based on each child’s specific interests and abilities.  

    I am thrilled to be part of the GSB team!

  • Michelle Lenar

    Class Teacher, Grades 7-8 and German and History Teacher

    I was born and raised in a small town near Cologne, a historical city in the western part of Germany. 

    I studied German language and History at RWTH University in Aachen. After finishing my Masters program, I started my Referendariat and continued teaching at an international boarding school in Bonn. 

    Throughout the course of my studies and teaching students in primary and secondary school, I gained a variety of experiences that helped me grow as a teacher.

    To me it is very important to create a pleasant and secure learning environment for children. I am excited to teach students the importance of historical values and complexity of German literature and linguistics. It is also important to me to approach their different types of learning individually and with care. My goal is to lead students toward self directed learning, collaboration, all the while sparking their curiosity toward particular subjects. 


    I am motivated to not only share the knowledge I have gained over the years, but to also collect and learn from new experiences. In my free time, I enjoy yoga, running, spending time with friends, and being outdoors.

  • Andrea Loefke

    Art Teacher

    I am a German-born, Brooklyn-based artist and educator with a master’s degree in art and physical education from the University of Leipzig and an MFA in sculpture from Ohio State University. I have lived and worked as an artist in the United States since 2000 and prior to teaching at GSB, I taught for many years at numerous art schools in New York City, including Pratt Institute and the School of Visual Arts. From 2014-17 I went through a rigorous training with “Studio In A School”– a visual non-profit arts organization that trains and places professional artists into public schools throughout NYC. Their approach is studio inquiry-based through multi-lesson, sequential units and they have been a continuous contributor and collaborator with the NYC department of education to develop the Blueprint Visual Arts PreK- 12, on which my art teaching is based.

    I strongly believe that art is more than a skill; it’s a process of exploration and discovery, a way of thinking and of communicating ideas effectively. My goal is for each student to think like an artist, to appreciate art, to be an imaginative and critical thinker, and to stick with an artwork until it reaches full refinement and complexity.

    I’ve had the pleasure of teaching art at GSB to all grades since the school opened in 2014.  May each school year be full of ideas, endless creativity, exploration, experimentation, and learning new skills. Let’s get inspired!

  • Karolina Loth

    Biology Teacher, Grades 6-8

    I’m grateful to be able to combine my fascination with biology and my passion for working with children; it is clear that teaching is the right path for me.

    I studied Biology and English at the University of Gießen, near Frankfurt. During my academic journey, I had the privilege of teaching at a STEM-school where I co-lead the Garden Club and worked collaboratively with students to design our school garden, with an emphasis on ecological sustainability and highlighting the significance of hands-on work and learning.

    My goal is to equip students with the ability to think critically and approach challenges with a problem-oriented, real-life perspective. These skills are pivotal for both personal growth and academic success.

    When I’m not at school, I love exploring new places and being outdoors. On rainy days, you’ll often find me cooking up new recipes or enjoying the company of friends in a cozy café.

    I’m excited to be part of the GSB community and glad to create an inspiring learning environment where students can thrive, develop a passion for learning, and gain independence.

  • Claudia Mandlik

    Art Teacher

    I am a professional photographer who lives and breathes art and art education. I received my first camera when I was 13 and it changed my life forever. Born and raised in Germany, I moved to New York to study art in 2000 after an internship at the Hallertauer Newspaper. I taught classes at Children’s Life, an initiative of the Volkshochschule Neustadt a.d. Donau, which confirmed that I wanted to know everything there is about photography and art. I received my Bachelors of Fine Arts with a focus on photography from Hunter College, and my Advanced Certificate in Performance and Integrated Media Arts from Brooklyn College, graduating from both with honors. During my studies, I was a teacher’s assistant at the Leon-Goldstein High School. Throughout I have worked with many amazing artists as well as at the renowned gallery Higher Pictures Generation which focused on changing the way the art world looks at art and photography. In addition to teaching at GSB, I am currently working with Pentagram Design Inc.’s incredible team of designers and artists emphasizing the conviction that great design cannot happen without passion. 

    Inviting children into the rich world of art-making builds a new generation of problem solvers. Providing them with a pressure free setting allows children the freedom to create, imagine and explore in their own ways to boost their self-knowledge and confidence as well as to teach them to think critically about the world around them. Art promotes freedom and allows us to better connect with and express our feelings. I am super excited to be part of the amazing GSB community!

  • Eugene Mednik

    Math Teacher, Grades 5-8

    Born in Ukraine, I was raised in Brooklyn, New York. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science at Baruch University and my Master’s in Education from St. John’s University. After graduating, I taught math in the New York Department of Education for four years. During this time I was introduced to the challenges of teaching students with disabilities, which taught me that students learn in different ways. My work with students with disabilities, English-language learners, and gifted students has helped me develop strategies for guiding all types of pupils.

    My classroom is set up to encourage engagement by emphasizing the value of making mistakes and learning from them. I incorporate as many hands-on activities and end-of-unit projects into the syllabus as possible. Our curriculum provides real-world examples to give students a practical connection to the material. Upon mastering a particular skill, students are rewarded with game-show style activities to bolster intrinsic motivation and healthy competition. 

    I am delighted to collaborate with the GSB community: staff, students, and parents.

  • Lizbeth Miron

    Science Teacher, Grade 4-8

    I am from the Bronx, NY, and grew up just minutes away from the Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden, where my passion for the environment was nurtured. I pursued a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at the State University of New York at Binghamton. I then became a science teacher at a charter school in the Bronx. I led an inquiry-based curriculum that engaged students in daily experiments and discussions of topics in life and physical science.

    After four years of teaching formal education, I transitioned to informal education in 2021. I was motivated to combine my passion for education with wildlife conservation and was most recently a conservation educator at the Prospect Park Zoo. I taught school, camp, and family programs to connect diverse audiences with zoo animals and raise awareness of environmental issues. 

    I am also finishing up a Master of Arts in Teaching in the Biological Sciences through Miami University and Project Dragonfly. My focus is on raising awareness of turtle diversity and conservation throughout NYC to foster a community of environmental stewards. I am committed to inquiry-based science education and creating opportunities for experiential learning, and I’m thrilled to be part of the GSB team.

  • Laura Morris

    5th Grade Class Teacher, English Subjects

    I am originally from the Tampa Bay Area in Florida. I graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Physiology with minors in Psychology and Chemistry. After taking some time away from school, I returned and received a post-bacc in Elementary Education from St. Petersburg College. I have taught various grades in Florida, Texas and New York, primarily teaching ELA and STEM. I am currently pursuing a M.S. in Curriculum Development and Instructional Technology from SUNY Albany.

    My goal as an educator is to provide my students with a space where they feel welcome, included and free to take risks in their learning. I believe that students should be given voice and choice in their learning whenever possible and have seen that allowing students to work in their preferred learning style allows them to put in their best effort into their learning. The lessons and strategies I provide for my students are differentiated to match the various needs of learners in my classroom. As a teacher, I also focus on Social Emotional Learning. I want to provide my students with the tools they need to succeed in any context in life. In my classroom environment, focus is a true combination of academics and social emotional growth. I am honored to be a part of German School Brooklyn!

  • Tina Petereit (currently on leave)

    German Teacher

    Originally from a small town on the Baltic Sea in the north of Germany, I studied Latin and German in Barcelona and Berlin, where I completed my first and second state exams in both subjects.

    Since finishing my studies, I have acquired 10 years’ experience teaching grades 5 through 12. I started my career at a humanistic gymnasium (middle and upper school) in Berlin, where I served as a class teacher for the grades 5 through 10, building the language curriculum, and leading the school exchange program in Rome.

    After love brought me to New York, in 2016, I taught German, German as a second or foreign language, and Latin at the German International School New York in White Plains. I co-directed the German department there, directed the Latin program, and developed a robust Green School initiative that brought together parents, students, teachers, and staff.

    My enthusiasm for teaching stems from my investment in each student’s individual pursuits. I work hard to connect with students in a deep way, helping them to expand their academic horizons as they get to know more about the world and about themselves. I love being in the classroom, watching my students thrive as a community of learners.

    Now in my second year at GSB, I’m happy to be a part of this wonderful, international, intercultural community.

  • Christopher Pinero-Derieux

    Spanish, Grades 3-8

    Originally from Brooklyn and nurtured in Puerto Rico, my educational journey commenced with a focus on Speech and Language Therapy, driven by a passion to support students with special needs. In 2014, I dedicated my efforts to working with children on the autism spectrum in Puerto Rico. Transitioning to New York in 2020, I embraced a new role, sharing my expertise by teaching Spanish as a second language. Beyond my educational pursuits, I bring a rich background in theater and Spanish writing. Thrilled to be a part of the GSB community, I look forward to contributing my diverse skills and experiences each day.


  • Sarah Sandler

    Grade 3 Class Teacher, German Subjects, GLL Coordinator, Lower School German Department Coordinator

    I am originally from Schwaigern, a small town in the south of Germany. In high school, I did volunteer work with children, which prompted my desire to become a teacher.

    I received my teaching degree at the University of Education in Ludwigsburg, with a focus on German as a second language. I worked as a language teacher and completed an internship at a German school in Thailand, where I was exposed to a different culture and school system. This assignment also deepened my knowledge of teaching German as a second language and prompted me to pursue further professional experience abroad.

    After I finished my studies, I worked as a preschool teacher before starting my “Referendariat” in a lower school near my hometown. Following that I started working at GSB. 

    I enjoy teaching young learners at GSB, mindful that education involves not only the mind but also the heart, and helping children grow up as happy and confident citizens of the world.

  • Sarah Roussel

    Grades 7 and 8 Class Teacher, English Subjects

    I’m originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. I have a BFA from California College of the Arts in individualized study and a Masters of Education from Hunter College. My experience in education ranges from teaching in a kindergarten in a traditional classroom setting in Guangzhou, China, to teaching interdisciplinary arts and educational classes in Hong Kong, to serving as program director of Backpacks and Binoculars, a school-aged childcare and educational company under the New York City Explorers Group in Downtown Brooklyn. I have been teaching at GSB since 2019. 

    Studying in Jerusalem and Italy as well as living and working abroad in Asia have developed my strong interest in travel, cultural learning, and global education. My pursuit of new and challenging experiences in the world as well as my love of the arts inform my teaching philosophy and practices. I’m especially excited about designing hands-on learning experiences for my students, teaching them to think critically and to question.

    I‘m happy to be a part of the growing GSB community.

  • Anna Thiermann

    German Subjects Teacher, Grade 2

    I am from a small town in Bavaria called Ingolstadt. After high school, I did a gap year at a hospital for children with mental illness. Working with those young children inspired me to become a teacher with the goal of helping and nurturing students.

    I received my teaching certificate at the University of Regensburg. During my studies, I pursued an internship at the Rilke Schule in Anchorage, where I was part of a bilingual school system and learned a variety of new ways to teach young people. After the internship, I knew I wanted to work at a German School abroad after finishing my degree. 

    I went on to work as a middle school teacher before starting my Referendariat in Ingolstadt. Following that, I began working at GSB!

    For me it is important to not only help students gain knowledge, but also to help them mature into kind and compassionate citizens.

  • Erica Wickman

    Grade 2 Class Teacher, English Subjects

    The daughter of a State Department officer, I spent much of my childhood living and learning in East Asia before settling in Virginia to finish school and attend college. I earned a BA in music at the College of William and Mary, where I focused on vocal performance. After graduation, I began working as an assistant teacher at a nursery school and fell in love with teaching young learners. After five years of teaching at pre-schools, I returned to school to earn my master’s in early childhood education at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, with a focus on arts integration in the classroom. I then moved to Brooklyn to teach kindergarten for two years before joining the English team at GSB. I love bringing music, art, and movement into academic subjects and believe that the arts are fundamental to a well-rounded education.

  • Monica Zuleta

    Grade 5 Class Teacher, German Subjects

    I was born in Medellín, Colombia, where I experienced multicultural and bilingual education firsthand as a student at the Deutsche Schule Medellín. When I was 10, my parents relocated to Germany; I finished school in Freiburg, which I consider my German hometown and where I was inspired to become a teacher.

    I studied mathematics, geography and media informatics for middle and upper schoolers at the University of Education in Freiburg. Upon graduating, I wanted not only to teach but also to learn about varied cultures, so I began my career in Colombia as a teacher of German as a foreign language and mathematics at the German School in Medellín. Since then, I have taught middle school in Germany and Switzerland.

    My professional experience has led me to value cultural immersion in our education system. I want to give my students an understanding of different cultures, and I’m delighted to be teaching in one of the world’s most diverse cities.

    Favorites: pizza, arepas, SC Freiburg, New York Yankees, Rummikub!