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Our committed faculty members are diverse in their educational background and life experiences, well-qualified and highly motivated. Many hold Master's degrees in German and receive continuing education through the American Association of Teachers of German and Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen (Zfa). 
We are pleased to introduce you to some of our teaching staff.  

VANESSA HERMIDA  |  Saturday Krabbelgruppen      

Nothing gives the German language a more charming ring than the Viennese accent! Vanessa Hermida was born and raised in Austria’s capital.  She’s felt connected with the DANK Haus since late 2000 when she joined a German mom and tot playgroup.  Her children grew to now attend Kinderschule.  This is Vanessa’s fifth year teaching Krabbelgruppe on Saturdays and just like kids and parents we are happy to have her in our team!

ANETT ROLLIN  |  Monday  Krabbelgruppe

Anett Rollin has been with DANK Haus since May 2015.  She earned her degree in Social Work from Technische Universität in Dresden, where she lived and worked before moving to Chicago in 2005.  Her hometown Görlitz (Sachsen), right along the border to Poland, might be well known to the cineast as it became a favorite background for international movie productions like Grand Hotel Budapest, The Reader and Inglorious Bastards.  After working as a Case Manager and Family Counselor in diverse settings, Anett shaped and helped develop the DANK Haus Language Program as Program Coordinator form 2015 through 2018.  On Wednesday mornings she enjoys to bring out her Ukulele and to sing with Krabbelgruppe kids and families. 

ANGELA PALMQUIST  |  Vorschule (Preschool)         

We are excited about Angela Palmquist joining us this year as Preschool teacher!  Angela is a graduate of the Rudolf Steiner Schule in Basel, Switzerland, which was just the beginning of a lifelong involvement with Waldorf education.  After graduating from Nursing School in Hamburg, Germany, she worked for 10 years at Baxter Healthcare in Munich, Germany in the medical research library.  In 1993 she moved to the U.S. with her husband.  Two kids later, Angela joined the faculty of their local Waldorf preschool in early 2000.  Angela loves to teach children and is looking forward to working with our youngest in Preschool.

GUDRUN PRIEMER  |  Kindergarten and Sommercamp                                                                                                       

Gudrun Priemer got involved in teaching in DANK Haus Kinderschule in 2005.  She loves all things books and is passionate about teaching early literacy skills to young children.  After working as a school librarian as well as adult and youth service librarian at Chicago Public Library, Gudrun is currently creating and running classes as well as story times for young children at the Skokie Library.  Initially teaching upper grades (5-8) Kinderschule classes, she now has been very excited to teach German through stories, songs, rhymes, arts, crafts and play in our Kinderschule Kindergarten class in recent school years.  Gudrun was born and grew up in Berlin, has lived in Chicago since 1987 and has two sons.

MANI KHAN  |  Kindergarten Assistant                                                                                                                               

We are grateful for Mani’s help in assisting in Kindergarten this year!  Mani attends high school in Niles and is a German learner herself. Kids attending Sommercamp in 2017 already got to her endearing way of connecting with children.

MARSHA MEYER |  Pre-Level 1                                                                                                                                                     

We are delighted for Marsha Meyer joining us for her second year teaching 6 year old students in Kinderschule Pre-Level 1!  Marsha carries a PhD in German Literature.  She knows the value of the Kinderschule program and the challenge to wake kids up "early" on a Saturday morning.  Both of her daughters were Kinderschule students and helped us in past years as Kindergarten, Pre-Level 1 and Sommercamp assistants.

SABINE MÜLLER |      Level 2 and Sonnenkinder                                                                                                     

Welcome back Sabine Müller!  Sabine is a native to Germany, born in Ludwigshafen am Rhein.  She settled in the US in the late 90's with her 3 children.  Sabine has a 4 year degree in Early Childhood Education and she is a certified Montessori Educator.  Sabine has more than 25 years experience working with children ages 0-18 and she has been teaching German over 10 years.  After a break in 2016/2017 we are happy to have her return to work with our level 2 class students.   Sabine also teaches German at the German Language School of Naperville.


Maryla Trehan joined DANK Haus Kinderschule in 2011 - first as a parent, then as a teacher.  Before teaching third grade this year she worked with students in 7th/8th Grade as well as Pre-K and also ran reading groups.  Maryla was born and grew up in Weimar (Thüringen) where she studied and worked in nursing since the end of the 1990s.  Since 2011 she has been involved in charitable work including nursing and fundraising as well as charity work for Missionaries of Charities in India.  Maryla has lived in Chicago since 2005 and - besides homeschooling her daughter as well as other children - enjoys reading, sports, pets as well as growing her own sourdough for baking authentic German breads.

DR. CARINA STAUDTE  | Level 5,6,7

Carina Staudte is “nordisch by nature” as she grew up in the most northern part of Germany.  She got her first taste of the US as an Au Pair in California, then studied Anglo-American Studies at the Martin-Luther Universität in Halle a.d. Saale, in Germany’s former east.  Carina is most interested in literature and cultural studies and has taught English and German to adult learners since her student days, and also loves to expand her own language skills in various language forms including American and German Sign Language.  She moved to Chicago around 2008, but bounced back and forth between the US and Germany to finish her PhD.  After having received the degree in 2013 she finally settled down in Chicago for good.

ISABELLE FLEGEL   | Sonnenkinder und Sommercamp

Isabelle is from what she refers to as “the former island” of West Berlin. As a teenager in high school, she witnessed the bewildering and exciting time leading up to the taking down of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification first hand. She studied French, Spanish and Biology at The Freie Universität Berlin. At that time she become an environmental organizer with the Young People’s and Artists’ Climate Summit, which hosted 30 activists from 15 different countries during the UN summit in Berlin. Instead of starting an internship in the Brazilian rain forest as planned, she chose to swap one concrete jungle for another and moved to Chicago, where she has lived and worked in multiple fields. She had her own import business, is a doula, a certified health coach and workshop instructor. Given her interest and passion for languages and cultures, she became a German teacher 7 years ago and has taught both adults and children at the University of Chicago, Language Loop, Kinderwerkstatt, Dankhaus and as a private tutor.

German American Cultural Center
4740 North Western Avenue 
Chicago, IL 60625

Connect with us

Office: +1 (773) 561-9181
Email: Dank@Dankhaus.com

DANK Haus German American Cultural Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
DANK Haus German American Cultural Center does not discriminate based on race, color, sexuality, national origin, sex, disability or age.
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