9-10 Year Old Beginners
Simon-Martin is originally from Schleswig-Holstein. He lived in the Hamburg area for much of his life, but he loves to travel and has been to many places in Europe, including France and Spain. He studied languages and worked in child education as a tutor, kindergarten and Youth-Church Councilor as part of his University education in Theology. Herr Appel moved to the US in 2016 and currently makes his home in Oregon City with his wife. He has taught in the German Saturday Language Program since 2017. In his free time he enjoys studying world history as well as current events and politics, photography, backyard astronomy, and practicing music.
5-6 Year OldS
Brigitte is a native German speaker from Rosenheim, Bavaria, Germany. She graduated from Nursing College which included training in the treatment of children. There she gained insight in childrens’ physical and mental well-being.
Gitti was helping in her own daughter’s co-op preschool in Portland, assisting teachers in the classroom through elementary school. It is here that she experienced the benefits of teaching a second language.
She attended workshops, conferences and classes for early childhood education and became the lead teacher at the Portland Kinderschule, a German immersion program.
Gitti firmly believes it is important to begin bilingual education at an early age for maximum benefit. She thoroughly enjoys teaching children and providing an environment where they can thrive and learn to express themselves in a second language.
Brigitte has been working for several years at GLPOP where she continues to provide a nurturing foundation for children to learn the German language.
Students have told me that my passion for German is contagious. Dana encourages students to view language as a tool for getting to know the world. In my classes, we are students of the language and culture together and I celebrate when a concept or new knowledge crystallizes.
I learned German in high school in Indiana, and studied and worked in Germany during the transition out of the Cold War – an exhilarating time in German history with impacts today. I came to the teaching field circuitously, following sage advice to “do what you love.” I worked in business, law and tech and am raising a family. I love to read German literature that reflects on history’s influences on life today, which puts me in good company with German thinkers and academics. I focus especially on literature that contemplates how history is processed by the two Germanys that are again becoming one.
I tutor in German, and have also taught at the University of Portland, PSU, and the Portland Opera. I am excited to be connected with the German American Society of Portland and to help foster community around German language and culture here in the US.
Beginning and Intermediate Adults
Katja is a native German speaker, having “migrated” regularly to both Hamburg, Germany & Tokyo, Japan throughout her childhood, in order to be with her parents’ and grandparents’ cultures.
After studying International Business & Languages at Universities (in Lyon, France; Berlin, Germany & Eugene, Oregon), she began contributing to education, providing opportunities for those seeking to expand their knowledge of languages and international cultures.
In 2001, she had her first opportunity to work with French students, teaching them in Nice, France.
From 2002 until 2006, she was residing in Kassel, Germany as a freelance language consultant, sharing her linguistic expertise with clients in the oil & gas, energy, pharmaceutical, and mineral industries.
Just after enjoying Germany host the 2006 World Cup, Katja came to Portland, Oregon, in order to teach at the Portland English Language Academy, where she thoroughly enjoyed interacting with students of diverse ages and international backgrounds.
From 2013 until 2016, Katja lived and taught in Stuttgart, Germany, offering communication workshops and advanced language classes to students primarily in the automotive industry and finance sector.
In addition to teaching the Adults’ Class here at The German American Society, Katja is very passionate about sharing German with her “number 1 pupil”: her son, whom she’s been raising in fluent German since his birth in Madrid, Spain.
In her free time, she very much enjoys practicing yoga, hiking and even racing (half-marathons) outdoors.
Language Program Director
Brigitte Bonfield is from Nürnberg, Germany, where she studied Art & Design at the Georg Simon Fachhochschule. Before living in Portland, she was an au-pair in London and then worked as a children's book illustrator for the Tesslof Verlag. She loves children and with her own child, began working in Kindergartens in the US and Germany. Upon arriving here in Portland in 2001, she connected with the German American Society and started teaching here. She was also the lead teacher for the Kinderschule, a German Immersion program, where she taught 3 to 5 year olds. Frau Bonfield has intensive training in early childhood development and in 2010, started with Waldorf Early Childhood Education at the Michael Institute, gaining over 300 hours in teacher's training as well as lessons in Eurythmy and Anthroposophy. Besides teaching at the GSSOP, Frau Bonfield has her own early childhood program at Shining Star Waldorf School, located in NE Portland. She loves working with this age group and continues to educate herself to understand the young child and bringing the German language in a fun and interactive way. In fact, she just returned from another early childhood conference in Eugene which was filled with puppetry and circle activities.
Teens, Young Adults, and Younger Heritage Speakers (A2 Vergleichsarbeit)
Tod has a bachelor’s degree in German Language from Oregon State University and with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Lewis & Clark College has been a high school language teacher of German and Spanish since 1995. His first words in German were spoken in a high school production of Cheaper by the Dozen, when he also began his study and love of languages. His first exchange with the German-American Partnership Program (GAPP) also began in high school and maintains a friendship with that partner now for more than 30 years. This is also fortuitous, since his friend lives in Hannover where Tod has taken many students on GAPP exchange as well. While most of his ties are in the north, his year of study during the Wende took place in Baden-Württemberg in lovely Tübingen. He loves to sing and play guitar, teach language and culture and to coordinate exchanges. He enjoys cooking, reading and being out in nature. That his initials spell TAG, that his first name looks like a rather ominous German word and that his last name sounds like a Sesame Street character are all coincidental.
Advanced Adults (DSD1)
Ute is from Köln and has an M. A. in special education and German. Ute moved to Oregon in 1994. She taught German as a second language for Turkish teenagers in Köln and later moved to München, where she was a language instructor at the Goethe Institut for many years. In Portland she taught at Portland State University, mainly at the Deutsche Sommerschule am Pazifik. Currently she is also teaching German at a Portland area Waldorf School. When she does not teach, Ute does healing work with animals. Ute is passionate about foreign languages and excited to be a staff member at the GSSOP.
Beginner and Intermediate Adults
Margaret Rose is a native German speaker who was born in Chicago and raised in Hamburg, Germany. After studying the violin from an early age and earning a degree in violin making, she relocated to Chicago and worked in a violin shop, repairing, restoring and building string instruments. Since 2006, she has been teaching German as a foreign language to students of all ages and levels at German Culture Centers and language schools. Prior to moving to Portland she taught at the Chicago DaVinci and Four Winds Waldorf Schools. She has attended foreign language seminars for Waldorf teachers and conferences for the German Central Agency of Foreign Schools Abroad and the Goethe Institut. She enjoys celebrating German culture through German Club, theater camps, and Christkindlmarket caroling. In addition to being a professional violin maker and teaching, she offers violin lessons to children and adults and enjoys performing chamber music, playing in an orchestra and traveling.
10 to 13 Year Olds Advanced
Jan Hendrik is from the beautiful Black Forest area in southwestern Germany and has lived in Oregon since 2005. He holds advanced degrees in Applied Linguistics and in Adult Education & Human Resource Studies. Jan’s main career is in language test development, but he has taught English as second language and German in a variety of contexts(university, business, private) since 2007. His teaching philosophy is all about communicative competence – being able to apply the skills learned in the classroom in the real world and “getting things done” in the target language. Jan lives in NE Portland with his wife, Erin, their two kids, Lukas and Leah, and his pitbull mix, Rumo. He lives close enough to walk to school on Saturdays but usually doesn’t because he is in a hurry to get to the copier. When he is not in his office or classroom, Jan can often be found fishing, watching college football, or working on his aquariums.