Meet the Staff - 2016-17 School Year
Director of Operations
Anjanette Gonzales was born and raised in Arlington, Texas and learned German at an early age from her mother and grandmother.
Anjanette lived in Finland as an expat and assisted in managing a software company in Austin, Texas
prior to her children joining the SAGA community over 5 years ago. Anjanette enjoys spending time outdoors and playing piano in her free time.
"Different languages and cultures have always been a part of my life. I am grateful that the SAGA experience is allowing me to pass on
the gift of being bilingual to my children!"
Angela Hellermann was born in Seattle and grew up in a bilingual German - English speaking family.
She has traveled in both Germany and Austria. Angela has worked for offices and a private school, and she
is happy to be a part of a school that promotes German language and culture.
"I believe the German immersion program at SAGA school is an excellent opportunity for youth to grow in
Dr. Angrid-Kathrin Henning
Director of Elementary Education
Angrid was born in Hannover and moved to the US nine years ago with her family. She has served as the Principal of the
Eastside German Language School (EGLS) in Bellevue since 2009 and worked as a Paraeducator for the Kent School District since 2011.
Angrid has her PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Stuttgart and has past experience helping The SAGA School in science
curriculum and substituting in the elementary school classes.
""One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way." ‒Frank Smith.
Seeing my own children grow up bilingual makes the opportunity to be a part of SAGA's bilingual education program even more enjoyable."
Kindergarten Teacher, Art Teacher
Frau Blesch joins us from Überlingen, Germany. Anja has a Master of Arts in "Europalehramt" from the Pädagogische Hochschule Karlsruhe.
She has eight years teaching experience with a background in bilingual education. Anja moved to Seattle this summer
and has already taken a trip to visit surrounding areas such as Portland and Salem, Oregon!
"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." -Antony J. D'Angelo
1st Grade Teacher, Sports Teacher
Frau Menke comes from Mannheim, Germany. She received
her Education degree, with a focus on PE, German and English, from the
University of Heidelberg. She has teaching experience in primary and middle
school settings in Ghana, Germany, and Guadalajara, Mexico. She enjoys
activities outside and loves hiking in the mountains.
“Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what
amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” - Plato
Second Grade Teacher
Verena comes from Heidelberg, Germany where she attended high school. She received a Masters in Biological
Science from the University of Bologna, Italy and later studied Primary Education in Auckland, New Zealand.
Verena has worked as a German teacher in a New Zealand State school in Auckland and (for nine and a half years)
as a full time teacher at a Waldorf school in Wellington. A highlight for the students was the exchange
program with Waldorf schools in German speaking countries, which Verena organised. She loves working with children
and in her free time her interests are in German literature and Independent Film.
"I am not afraid of storms for I am learning to sail my ship." - Louisa May Alcott
Third/Fourth Grade Teacher, Music Teacher
Frau Dietz joins us from Berlin, Germany. Friederike completed her teaching education in Freiburg,
Germany receiving her certification for elementary and middle school. She has eight years teaching experience
and has worked in a bilingual learning environment. She moved to Seattle over the summer and has enjoyed
getting to know this wonderful city!
"Where words leave off, music begins.” ― Heinrich Heine
Elementary English Teacher
Frau Johmann was born in Heidelberg, Germany, raised in the Seattle/Tacoma area, and had been living in Germany
for twenty two years before returning in 2014. She received her Master's in Education at Claremont Graduate University in California
where she went on to teach first and fifth grade. In Germany, she was involved in teaching
English in Kindergarten and Grade School as well as advising
college students in their teaching practices. She has taught courses on curriculum development and methodology in the
"English as a Second Language Classroom".
""Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." This quote from Benjamin Franklin makes clear the
teaching process for me. I enjoy being a part of SAGA's bilingual and bicultural education experience."
Director of Preschool Education
Playgroup, Faustlos, Music & Movement Teacher
Anita is an Early Childhood Specialist who completed her education at the Fachakademie
for Sozialpädagogik in Nürnberg, Germany. She began her professional career in
the US in long term care as a nursing assistant, working as a restorative aide,
activity director and restorative supervisor. She has taught at the Eastside German
Language School (EGLS) in Issaquah for over fifteen years and is currently the vice-principal.
Anita ran a successful German immersion preschool in Kent prior to becoming the
first SAGA teacher in 2005 in Issaquah. As one of the initial teachers at SAGA,
she taught music to Preschool children, trained to teach the Second Step program,
and created our popular summer programs.
"Teaching is the art of assisting discovery and I love to see children discover
PreK Head Teacher
Dorit is a native German speaker from Cuxhaven, Germany and has a wealth of experience as
a German teacher in Waldorf and Montessori Schools. Dorit enjoys spending time with
her grandson and she also loves to dance! Dorit was trained in Germany
to be an elementary teacher and is also a licensed massage therapist. Dorit has been with the SAGA School since 2012.
"Witnessing children's development and expansion of mind and creativity is such
a privilege and joy. At the same time, each child gives me the opportunity to learn
and grow from them each day. I feel fortunate and grateful to be part of a process
Preschool Head Teacher
Silvia is from Regensburg, Germany. Over the
past ten years, she has worked with young children both in Germany as well as in
the Seattle area. She has led playgroup classes at the Eastside German Language
School for one to three year olds, managed an in-home daycare for one to four year
olds and assisted in a co-op preschool. Silvia loves art and nature and enjoys sharing
that with children. She is also a trained goldsmith and an avid long distance runner.
"I love to spend time with children and see how they learn and grow. I strive to
give children room for growth by creating a safe and inspiring environment that
allows them to discover their interests and abilities."
Preschool Head Teacher
Jutta was born and raised in Speyer, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. She holds a Master's degree in Food Chemistry from the University of Kaiserslautern
and received her state certificate (Staatsexamen II). For eight years, she worked as a tenured staff scientist at the Institute for Food Chemistry
in Speyer, with tasks ranging from developing analytical methods for determination of organic residues to teaching food chemist trainees. Jutta
and her german husband moved to Seattle in 1995 and are raising their three kids bilingually. For ten years, she assisted teachers in various
North Seattle College Cooperative preschools and took monthly classes on child development and early childhood education. She also is a seasoned
volunteer in Seattle's public school system, having worked with K-12 students as assistant teacher, chaperone and tutor.
"I love being around kids, seeing their excitement about new things they encounter and learn and sharing my experience in raising bilingual kids at SAGA."
Preschool Teacher Assistant
Janet is from Erfurt in the center of
Germany. She spent some years in Kassel and graduated
with a University degree in Social Work and Social Education. She worked with children ages four to twelve
and youth from diverse social and cultural
backgrounds in different
educational centers in Germany. In Seattle, Janet directed an afterschool
program in an Elementary
school. Janet enjoys the outdoors, dancing, music, and is a massage therapist.
"I enjoy being part of the journey of the young children at
SAGA, assisting them
in their learning and exploring, and growing their voice. It is such a delight to
experience a group of children
being excited in play and absorbed in a project."
PreK Teacher Assistant
Lina grew up in Lehre, a small town in northern Germany. She attended college
in nearby Braunschweig where she received a degree in Kindergarten and Early
Childcare Teaching. After graduation, she moved to Dresden where she worked at
a preschool/kindergarten for six years with children between the ages of one
to six. From her years of teaching, she has gained valuable experience
working with children of different backgrounds and learning styles. Lina
enjoys traveling, gardening, origami and other handicrafts.
"I enjoy seeing how children learn, develop and grow. They are eager and
enthusiastic to experience new things. It also impresses me how
children can learn from each other. I'm glad I can be a part of their
PreK Teacher Assistant
Semira was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She was raised in Eltville/Erbach am Rhein.
She attended Wiesbaden's Louise Schröder Schule, where she earned her technical degree in Baking.
Later, Semira did her practical training at Bethanien Kinder-und Jugenddorf Marienhöhe to gain skills working with children.
She used her experience from the Jugendorf to travel abroad to the U.S. as an au pair for Culture Care
Au Pair, whom she later worked for as a local childcare care coordinator for families in Seattle. Semira
went on to earn her early childhood certification from North Seattle Community College.
"I appreciate that kids live in the moment. It is great to be able to share those moments with
them because it is an opportunity for both of us to learn from one another"
Preschool Teacher Assistant
Nora was born in Northern Michigan. She has German ancestry and began studying the language
seriously in 2002. Spending a year as an exchange student in Hamburg cemented her interest in
German language and culture. After completing her BA in German Studies and Linguistics in 2013,
she became interested in early childhood education, and is very excited to combine her two passions –
German and preschool – working at SAGA!
"You are not here merely to prepare to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live
more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the
world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand." —Woodrow Wilson
Katie (Katharina) O'Brien
COOP Care Scheduler
Katie is from Davis, California, and joined the Seattle community after finishing her degree in German
Studies at Scripps College in Southern California. During her time at Scripps, she participated in
Study Abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. Katie has enjoyed working with children for as long as she can
remember, and she still enjoys giving swim instruction and music lessons. Working at SAGA has been
a perfect combination of her favorite things- getting to have fun working with children, and speaking German.
"Everything that we encounter leaves traces behind.
Everything contributes imperceptibly to our education" - Goethe