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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 all receive continuing education through the American Association of Teachers of German and Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen (Zfa). 

We are pleased to introduce you to our 2015-2016 teaching staff.  To learn more about our German language school administration, we also invite you to meet our Language Program Director and Language Program Coordinator.

DEREK THOR CARY  |  Elementary Level

Derek Thor Cary - who prefers to go by his second name Thor - joined the DANK Haus teaching team in January of  2016 after moving to Chicago. Thor grew up in a small town in Kansas and finished high school in Bavaria. While studying Social Anthropology and Japanese Studies at the Freie Universität he worked for many years teaching German and English at various public and private schools and universities in Berlin, later in Istanbul. Thor has a strong interest in urban farming and permaculture to promote food security. When not teaching, he volunteers for a job training program through urban agriculture in Chicago’s south-side Chicago as well as for the UN. The language talent that he is, Thor recently started learning Icelandic - grammatically the most similar of all North Germanic languages to modern German (three genders and 4 cases!). Thor admits, not the most practical language to learn with only 330,000 native speakers, but at least most elves one meets around Hafnarfjörður have a good conversational command of Icelandic too.

CARINA STAUDTE  |  Elementary Level                                                                                                                                                                           

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.

VERONIKA ROTH  |  Elementary Level

Veronika Roth joined the DANK Haus teacher's team in spring of 2016. Raised in Lossburg, Baden Württemberg, Germany, Veronika first came to the US in 2002 as an Au Pair. She returned as an international student in 2004 and earned an AA from COD, BA in English, BA in Teaching of German and MA in Germanic Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Since, Veronika hast taught the German language, culture, literature and history at High School, College and University levels and joined the Dank Haus team last Spring. As her entire family still lives in Germany, Veronika uses every chance she gets to travel to Germany to reconnect with all her loved ones, her home country, beloved culture and dearly missed food.

ISABELLE FLEGEL  |  Elementary Level

Born in the west part of the city, Isabelle Flegel later grew up in re-united Berlin. After studying French, Spanish and Biology at the Freie Universität Berlin, her involvement in environmental activism found her on her way to the Brazilian rain forest as a conference organizer. As it often is, it was love that instead detoured Isabelle to Chicago. Since 1995 she has lived and worked in Chicago southside neighborhoods. In the early 2000s Isabelle discovered her interest in and passion for teaching German. Since, she has taught classes at various levels at DANK Haus (both adults and kids), Language Loop, Kinderwerkstatt Chicago and as a private tutor.

Paulina Broda  |  Elementary Level                                                                                                                                                                            

Paulina Broda joined our team in early 2017. She has always been interested in the German language. Therefore, after graduating from High School in Poland in 2003 she moved to Stuttgart to pursue Linguistics (German) and Italian Studies at the University of Stuttgart. Paulina worked as Product Manager of magazines for children and teenagers for over three years. In 2015, she graduated from Fachhochschule für Ökonomie und Management with a Master of Business Administration. Currently, Paulina is discovering her passion for teaching German. In her free time, she enjoys German food and events, Zumba, traveling, and snowboarding.

HANS MARTIN KARRER  |  Elementary and Advanced Level

We welcomed Hans Martin Karrer to our team of teachers for the spring 2016 semester.  Born and raised in the Heidelberg area (Baden-Württemberg) he became a cosmopolitan while living in Asia for over 10 years.  During this time he met his wife, a Chicago native.  Their daughter has been attending Kinderschule ever since the family moved to Chicago in 2013.  Shortly after, the Karrer family became DANK members and active volunteer.  Hans Martin - a passionate recycler of all things reusable - is joining us with extensive experience in teaching.  While currently involved in Global Talent Management conducting intercultural and English language training, he previously has taught English at college in China as well as adult religious education in Germany.

BARBARA DAEL  |  Advanced Level

Barbara Dael was born in Köln and grew up in Bonn (Nordrhein-Westfalen).  She moved to Chicago in 1989 and got involved with the DANK Haus in the late 1990s when initiating and establishing a group for German speaking parents and their children to gather and socialize - the classic Krabbelgruppe.  She soon began to teach German language and culture at the DANK Haus herself - primarily adult classes at the upper intermediate and advanced level - and also became a board member for a brief period of time.  Barbara’s professional background is in civil engineering as well as freelance teaching.  In her free time she enjoys skiing, sailing, kayaking and hiking just as much as a visit to a museum or opera and classical concerts.

GUNDULA MIETHKE  |  Advanced Level
Gundula Alexandra Miethke is a true "Berliner Pflanze". She was born in Berlin (West) and grew up while the city was still surrounded by the Wall. She studied German and English language and literature and education to become a teacher (Universität Passau/Bavaria and Universität Hamburg). While studying she also spent one year as a foreign language assistant in London/Great Britain teaching German at two high schools. After finishing her studies she worked as a managing editor for the German Rotary Magazin for many years and later as a freelance journalist. Due to her love for woodworking she took on an apprenticeship and is now also a cabinet maker journeyman. In 2005 she met her wife, a Lake Forest resident. It took ten years until they finally could get married and Gundula was able to immigrate to the USA. She started teaching at the DANK Haus in 2016, works as a freelance translator and takes on little furniture projects. She is a staunch European,  has a love for Nord- and Ostfriesland, Celtic and Oriental culture and music and likes ballroom and Scottish dancing.

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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