Awards
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GLSC Merit Award

The German Language School Conference is firmly committed to supporting and promoting the German language and recognizes outstanding teachers and administrators of its member schools. At its annual national conference, the GLSC presents two merit awards. The criteria for selection as a qualified candidate for the GLSC Merit Award require exemplary commitment and outstanding performance. Award recipients are selected nationwide from qualified candidates.

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2015

  • Gabriele Samodelov, Teacher, German Language School Cleveland
    Gabriele Samodelov setzt sich seit über 20 Jahren unter enormem persönlichen Einsatz mit einem hohen Maß an Professionalität, Tatkraft und Liebe zur deutschen Sprache und Kultur für die Deutsche Sprachschule Cleveland und deren Schüler ein.
    Nach einem Studium der Altphilologie und danach Medizin in Deutschland arbeitete sie mehrere Jahre am Neuropathologischen Institut des Universitätsklinikums von Düsseldorf. 1988 wanderte Familie Samodelov in die USA aus. 1994 meldete sie ihre drei Kinder an der Deutschen Sprachschule Cleveland an, Dort begann sie im September 1996 zunächst als Hilfskraft. Ihre Talente als Lehrerin wurden jedoch sehr schnell erkannt, und im nächsten Schuljahr übernahm sie bereits die 3. Klasse als Lehrkraft.
    Sie hat seitdem diverse Klassenstufen an beiden von der Schule angebotenen Unterrichtstagen mit beeindruckendem Engagement, außergewöhnlicher Leidenschaft, viel Kreativität und einem enormen sprachlichen und vor allem grammatikalischen Wissen unterrichtet. Zudem ist sie seit vielen Jahren maßgeblich an der Organisation und Betreuung der alljährlich stattfindenden Sommerlager der Schule beteiligt.
    Im September 2010 übernahm sie außerdem die verantwortungsvolle Position der Unterrichtsleiterin, was dazu führte, dass sie seitdem neben den zahlreichen Aufgaben einer Lehrkraft zudem noch eine reichhaltige Palette an administrativen Aufgaben meistert. Besonders hervorzuheben ist auch die Tatsache, dass sie seit einigen Jahren mit großem Aufwand erfolgreich Sommerleseprogramme erstellt, die zum Ziel haben, die lange Sommerpause zu überbrücken und bei den Schülern das Interesse an der deutschen Sprache und Literatur zu vertiefen.

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2014

  • Gusti Stewart, Teacher, German School of Atlanta
    Gusti Stewart is a Native of Germany. She completed her schooling there. Later, she studied English and worked for Deloitte in London, England, where she met her husband. They had lived in Italy, Belgium and Austria before moving with their two children to Atlanta in 1981. Ms. Stewart always stayed in close contact with her native country and language through her job as Cultural Program Coordinator at the Goethe-Institut in Atlanta and through teaching German at the Institute and at the German School of Atlanta. Teaching is her passion and she is very excited to receive the GLSC Merit Award. The GSA is very grateful to Gusti and her passion for teaching and children. She has been a wonderful teacher and ambassador of the German Language.

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2013

  • Urs Klarer, School Board Member, German School of Connecticut
    Almost singlehandedly Urs lead the GSC registration process into the 21st century by established its online registering procedure. He has worked together with the GSC IT Coordinator and all other officers in many leadership efforts and has helped to increase the enrollment of the school. He is the person and the enthusiasm behind GSC’s Facebook and other labors, too many to mention. We need to mention, in addition, the occasional Swisss table,organized by Urs that provides us all with Swiss delicacies. Last but not least, it is Urs’ humor and comradeship that helps to create the pleasure of and the spirit of cooperation GSC needs in order to work with a pro bono public parent administration.
  • Birgit Danckert, Teacher, German Saturday School Boston
    For almost 20 years, Birgit Danckert and her guitar juggled on top of crates filled with crafts and manipulatives have been a familiar sight in the hallways of the Boston Saturday School. Over a long career as a preschool, kindergarten, and first grade teacher, she has given hundreds of students a highly enjoyable first introduction to the German language through a variety of carefully planned and lovingly implemented instruction methods but arguably most importantly through the creative use of songs and music. In addition to her classroom, Birgit teaches music from preschool to first grade so all lower grades profit from her ability to engage every student through song, rhythm and singing games. The rhymes that accompany her guitar playing appear to be especially effective and stick with the students. It is not uncommon that older students in higher grades when asked to list the months of the year begin to sing the song that Birgit used to teach the calendar. Beloved by students, co-workers, and parents alike her thoughtfully crafted lessons supported by the creative use of musical instruction continue to lay important groundwork that paves the road to German proficiency for many students at the Boston Saturday School.

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2011

  • Angela Jöstlein, Principal, German Language School of Naperville
    Ms. Jöstlein has been the administrator of German Language School of Naperville for 15 years. Under her supervision, the number of students increased from six at the beginning to more than seventy now. Last year, the school started offering the National German Exams of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG) and the German Language Diploma DSD (Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz) as well. Ms. Jöstlein motivates her students every year to take part in the writing competition of the ZfA (Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen). She also motivates her students to participate in the German Summer Camp during summer break. She insures that the teachers in her school are highly qualified and offers workshops for the development of the teachers. The German culture and customs, such as Easter Bunny, Lantern Parade, St. Nikolaus, and Christmas Celebration are fully integrated in the curriculum of the school. This makes the German Language School of Naperville a great place for learning German and having fun at the same time.
  • Wendy Kwas, School Board Member, German School of Connecticut
    Ms. Kwas joined the German School of Connecticut in 1997. As a parent volunteer, she quickly became involved in the school, helping on Saturday mornings, planning annual events, and eventually becoming more deeply integral to the successful operation of the entire school. In addition to managing the German school website, Ms. Kwas has also held various officer positions over the past fourteen years, including Recording Secretary for the Parent Support Committee, administrator of the Pause (recess) fund, and for three years, Registrar for GSC-West Hartford. In 2008 she was appointed Vice President, Administration of the German School of Connecticut (West Hartford) and was also elected to the Board of Directors, of German School of Connecticut. Ms. Kwas is the kind of person that you can hand any project, put in nearly any role, or issue a challenge to, and she simply makes things happen by understanding what needs to get done and adapting her skills accordingly. She has demonstrated outstanding and effective leadership, steadfast commitment, tireless enthusiasm, and reassuring continuity throughout her tenure, as the school grew through two moves and five administrations. Ms. Kwas also paints in the Bavarian Folk Art style, having donated some of her painted projects over the years for GSC annual fund-raising raffles. Her commitment to the German culture continues to be expressed through her many years of Alpine Schuhplatteln dancing with Alpenland Tänzer and through her association with Hartford Sängerbund.

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2010

  • Edith Hebrank, Principal, German Language School Cleveland
    Edith Hebrank joined the German Language School Cleveland as a teacher in 1990, and in 1997 she became the principal of the school. In the past 14 years she succeeded through her tireless efforts, diplomacy and ability to assert herself to lead the school into the 21st Century. She introduced teaching materials that were suitable for teaching the curriculum outlined in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, not only for the children but also for the adults, and had the school purchase 6 computers, so that the students of every class had the opportunity to use modern technology in order to deepen their knowledge of German. She also organized the representation of the School was represented by a small group of teachers at the GLSC Annual Conference, in spite of the School's considerable distance from New York. In addition, Edith Hebrank has been active as a Trustee of the GLSC.
  • Alexandra Pradella-Ott, Superintendent, DANK Schools, Chicago
    Alexandra Pradella-Ott has been involved with teaching German and music to the early age group for many years. She was the principal for five years at the DANK German Language Schools in Chicago. ALexandra Pradella-Ott developed a signature approach to teaching that involves her students singing German folk songs, which she accompanies on the guitar. Her enthusiasm inspired the creation of the choir known as the DANK Spatzen. Alexandra was the founder and director of this choir, which traveled to Germany and Sweden and throughout the US to perform at special celebrations. As Co-Chair of the DANK National Education Committee and the Director of the Adult Language Program at DANK Chicago, Alexandra Pradella-Ott continues her advocacy of the German language.

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2009

  • Virginia Apel, Teacher, DANK School Chicago North
    Since starting at the DANK School Chicago North in 1993, Ms. Virginia Apel has been the backbone of the school, the faculty, staff and foremost the students. Her tireless involvement in making the school a better and more fun place for students, parents and the staff has left a profound positive impact on the School's image. Her involvement in all aspects of the school is proven by outstanding academic results results the student of the DANK School Chicago North achieve. Ms. Apel has been active in getting things done, as is evidenced by renovated classrooms, new furniture in children-friendly colors, new CD players, new TVs, new TV tables and black boards, new books and filing cabinets and lockers on rolls. She has been 100% committed to the School and the staff by tirelessly promoting teacher seminars at the School or nationally through the Goethe Institut.
  • Albrecht Maier, Trustee, Deutsche Sprachschule of Union, NJ
    Mr. Albrecht Maier has been a member of the Deutsche Sprachschule of Union for forty-four years. He has served as Vice-President, President (6 terms), and Trustee, in which capacity he continues to serve. Under Mr. Maier's presidency the school began to administer the National German Exams of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), as well as the Advanced Placement Test in German. Mr. Maier also led a revision of the curriculum and added music as its integral part. For native speakers, three homogenous classes were introduced to the program, and a kindergarten class was added. Under Mr. Maier’s leadership the school passed the following milestones: celebration of its Seventy-fifth Anniversary, receiving the Partner School Plaque, receiving the First Prize in the 2009 ZfA Essay Writing Contest in the individual category, receiving First Prize in the 2009 ZfA Essay Writing Contest for best group effort, and receiving First Prize 2007 ZfA Essay. Thousands of students have benefited from the forty-four years of exemplary service rendered by Mr. Maier, who is the father of four alumni of the Deutsche Sprachschule of Union and the grandfather of a current student. The love and commitment of Mr. Maier for the teaching and learning of the German language and culture has put his School on the road to academic excellence.

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2008

  • Donna Giromini, Teacher, German Saturday School Boston
    Donna Giromini has been a dedicated teacher at German Saturday School Boston for the past 18 years. Drawn to teaching by "a fascination with the language acquisition process of very young children," Ms. Giromini uses games, crafts, music, dance and other visual and active means to encourage participation and promote positive reinforcement in her classroom. She enjoys developing "Ten Minute Games" for parents to use at home during the week to help their children speak more German. She is also always on the lookout for innovative didactical materials to use in her classroom. One of the most remarkable things about Ms. Giromini is her resilience and resourcefulness in adapting her classroom space to childrens' needs: Every Saturday she arrives 1,5 hours early to restructure her university classroom into a preschool space. She brings manipulatives, puzzles, blocks, dollhouses, German board books and crafts and uses all of these to create activity stations for the children. The German Saturday School Boston is very fortunate to have Ms. Giromini on its faculty. Many children have come through her classroom, and many more are lined up and waiting.
  • William Killen Family, School Committee Members and Founders, German Language School of Morris County, NJ
    In 1967 William Killen and others who felt the need for German language education established what is now the German Language School of Morris County. The School was formed as an independent, non-profit, non-political organization to "engage in, assist and contribute to the education of students, regardless of ethnic background, who are interested in the German language and culture." The rapid growth of the School was due to the enthusiastic and hard work of the School's Press Secretary and Public Relation Officer William Killen. Bill and Annemarie's daughter Heidemarie was a student and one of the earlier graduates of the School. After Heidi's graduation Mr. Killen kept in touch with the School while the it had its ups and downs. And it was again a Killen who took lead of the School when times were difficult. Heidemarie Killen, as President from 1998 to 2003, was instrumental in finding the School's new home at Morristown Beard School. And yet another time Heidi stood behind the School, when it needed her in a transitional time between new principals and she became interim principal. Heidemarie's son Erick Killen graduated from the German Language School of Morris County just before its 40th anniversary with great success. The members of the Killen Family have been very involved in every single event in support of the School, its Board, Staff and students. The School is very grateful to have had and still have the four generations of the Killens.

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2007

  • Margret Bohac, Teacher, DANK School Chicago Northern Suburbs
    Margret Bohac has taught kindergarten ans levels 2, 3, 4 and 7 at three of our DANK schools. Her teaching experience includs one year "Hamburger Kinderheim" Wyk auf Foehr, 7 years college for teachers in Hannover and 6 years at Harper College in Palatine, IL. Mrs. Bohac has taught dance, gymnastics, sport and music and has been the coordinator of all of Christmas and culture programs at the DANK German Language Schools Chicago Northern Suburbs.
  • Krisjann VanOpdorp, School Committee Member, Founder, Head of the School Library, German Saturday School Boston
    Krisjann VanOpdorp has Kris been a tireless supporter of the school as a parent volunteer and as a school committee member for over 10 years. She founded and lead the largest German library in the U.S. specializing in children’s literature and age appropriate media for children ages K-12. She founded a parent initiative to build a library and organized efforts to acquire books, audio tapes, DVDs and computer games from Germany, initially carrying home many items herself on trips back from Germany. In 1994 Mrs. VanOpdorp introduced the Dankeschoen-Programm, which allows parents to donate library items or money for future purchases in a teacher’s name. Later a Flohmarkt was added, taking place once a year where second hand and duplicate books are sold to raise additional funds for the library. Today the library is a resource for students, teachers and parents with over 4,000 books, 177 DVDs, 695 Videos, 476 Audiocassettes, 175 Multimedia books and more than 150 Computer software games; altogether over 5,700 items. The lending process which was originally based on the honor system is now fully automated. The library is entirely run by parent volunteers.

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2006

  • Annette Flogaus-Bareiss, Schoolboard Member, German School of Connecticut
    Mrs. Annette Flogaus-Bareiss has been a member of the Board of the German School of Connecticut for many years. Her major function, which she fulfills with much success, is fundraising. In addition, as a lawyer, she is indispensable in legal matters, such as contracts and insurance. Her personal initiatives at the school, such as organizing the weekly sale of food and magazines, attract many parents and contribute to the friendship and good school climate. Mrs. Flogaus-Bareiss’s flexibility, tact, as well as her energy make her an excellent discussion leader and problem solver. Other board members always find in her an understanding and compassionate conversation partner, who is always ready to listen and give good advice.
  • Marianne Diekmann, Teacher, German School of Connecticut
    Mrs. Marianne Diekmann has been teaching at the German School of Connecticut since its founding in 1977. She is a teacher any school would be glad to have, both loved by the children and respected by their parents. Mrs. Diekmann teaches 10 year olds, most of them native language learners, preparing them for the German Language Diploma. The very first US students to pass the test and receive the Diploma in the early 80s were Mrs. Diekmann’s pupils. The success of this first group of students led to the implementation of the German Language Diploma at other German language schools in the USA. The administration hopes she will stay at the School for many years to come.

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2005

  • Dr. Ute Gröning, Teacher, Deutsche Sonnabendschule Boston, MA
    Dr. Gröning has been a very effective teacher at her school for 15 years and has taught either 9th or 10th grade. She has always been very open to new challenges, be it the introduction of the Zentrale Deutschprüfung or, more recently, the German Language Diploma. She is the administrator of the ZDP and the examiner for the German Language Diploma. Ute Gröning is highly committed, making sure that every single student in her class is successful. To that extent she often prepares individualized lesson plans and communicates with the students and parents outside class. She is always willing to put in additional work because her primary goal is the success of her students.
  • Helga Rundquist, Teacher, Deutsche Schule Charlotte, NC
    The Deutsche Schule Charlotte would be not imaginable without the preschool teacher Helga Rundquist. For more than 30 years Helga comes every Sunday to the school, fully loaded with new ideas, handicrafts and toys, in order to offer to the 4-year-olds a motivating Saturday morning. Ms. Rundquist uses new teaching methods, which allows her to successfully accommodate non-native speakers of German in her classes. With much patience and much teaching experience, she teaches the children songs, rhymes, games, awakening in them an interest in German stories and fairy tales. The German customs are fully integrated in Ms. Rundquist's curriculum. Long before the start of the school year Ms. Rundquist prepares wonderful sugar cones, which each child proudly brings home on the first school day. The children enthusiastically participate in the parade with lanterns, and joyfully present what they have learned at the Christmas celebration. The children wait impatiently for St. Nikolaus and the Easter Bunny. Each year, she also organizes traditional Fasching parade.

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2004

  • Grace Whealan, Teacher, Deutsche Sprachschule of Union, NJ
    Ms. Whealan has been an outstanding, dedicated, conscientious and loyal educator, whose enthusiasm and competence have been highly valued for 24 years. She is convinced of the importance of her profession – teaching German language and culture to all students in her care. She is loved and respected by her pupils, who respond joyfully to her innovative teaching methods and caring manner. Ms. Whealan is an irreplaceable asset, an example of professional conduct and expertise to the teaching staff. Ms. Whealan demonstrated her academic ideas and professionalism in an excellent workshop for her colleagues. Everybody was impressed and enriched by her innovative ideas. She also planned and organized a full-day total immersion workshop known as Deutscher Tag at the Deutsche Klub Clark for about 100 high school students. She motivated five schools to participate in the activities. Ms. Whealan also held a successful workshop at a meeting of the N.J. AATG Chapter. Ms. Whealan is always willing to learn and improve her teaching skills and attends every workshop available to her, always open and receptive to new ideas.
  • Margaret Wallis, Teacher, German Language School of Morris County, NJ
    Ms. Wallis has been successfully teaching German in the third grade for 20 years. She always prepares her lessons thoroughly and makes them very exciting and interesting, like her famous "Vegetables & Fruits" Lesson, where students enjoy figuring out if they have enough Euros to purchase their favorites. She taught courses at Drew University, Madison, NJ, and holds a Master of Arts Degree in German Philology from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in French and German from Drew University, earning summa cum laude in German. Ms. Wallis attended every annual GLSC Conference and participated in the Teacher Server Workshop as well as the 2004 SOPA Seminar in Washington, D.C. She has been a great asset to her school and the GLSC for two decades.

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2003

  • Gertrud Golsch, Director, DANK German Language Schools Chicago Northern Suburbs, IL
    Ms. Golsch has been teaching for almost 20 years at the DANK German Language Schools Chicago Northern Suburbs, putting pedagogic accents in the curricula from the kindergarten through the elementary school level, the middle school level to the business German classes. She is successful in transmitting her pedagogic abilities and experience to her colleagues. Ms. Golsch's organizational talent, her pedagogic abilities, friendliness, untiring devotion to preserving traditions, and her continuous attention to new pedagogic developments make her a valuable asset to her schools. As the director of the two German language schools she bears responcibility not only for the curricula, but also for the well coordinated administrative work. Ms. Golsch contributed to the fact that both the AATG and the ZDP-8 Examinations were introduced and passed with good results. In March 2002 her schools received the Certificate of Appreciation from the Governor of Illinois George Ryan, "in recognition of commitment and dedication to the ethnic schools of Illinois."
  • Lisa Dunning, Administrator, German School Atlanta, GA
    Lisa Dunning manages the most part of all organizational work behind the scenes - from registration to keeping class lists, tuition, contributions, substitute lists to document copying. She serves as a link between teachers, parents, and students. She is irreplaceable person. She is the first recipient of the Lisa Dunning Award which is given every two years to a member of the Atlanta School Staff for extraordinary accomplishments in school administration.

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2002

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2001

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2000

  • Brunhilde Dluhy, Teacher, Deutsche Sprachschule of Union, NJ
    For outstanding achievements in and dedication to teaching German.
  • Grethe Möller Ridley, Principal, German Language School of Morris County, NJ
    For untiring efforts in the administration of her school and furthering the German language and culture. In addition to the duties at her school, Ms. Ridley serves on the Board of Trustees of the GLSC.

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1999

Coming Soon

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1998

Coming Soon

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1997

Coming Soon

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1996

  • Karoline Lindenmaier, Principal, German Language School of Cleveland, OH
    Ms. Lindenmaier has been working for her school since January 1960, first as a classroom teacher, and since 1966 as the Principal. She demonstrates much energy and dedication in approaching the problems. With Ms. Lindenmaier as a Principal, the German Language School of Cleveland grew and prospered.
  • Margot Purucker, Teacher, Immanuel German Language School, Philadelphia, PA
    For 20 years of service to her school. Her love and dedication to teaching the German language is reflected in her instruction style and in many special projects.

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1995

Coming Soon

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1994

  • Astrid Hasbrouk, Teacher, Deutsche Sprachschule New York at the United Nations School, NY
    Ms. Hasbrouk, one of the first teachers of Deutsche Sprachschule New York at the United Nations School, was instrumental in the growth and development of the school. After more than 25 years of dedication to private German language schools, Ms. Hasbrouk has retired. Her students and colleagues expressed their gratitude by nominating Ms. Hasbrouk for the GLSC Merit Award.
  • Ingrid Wehrhahn, Teacher, Deutsche Sprachschule of Westwood, NJ
    Ms. Wehrhahn was director and administrator of the Deutsche Sprachschule of Westwood, NJ, for six years. Supported by her energy, enthusiasm, excellent communication skills and warm spirit the school grew from 65 to 135 students. In addition to the duties at her school, Ms. Wehrhahn served on the Board of Trustees of the GLSC. Her services will be sorely missed.

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1993

  • James Bennett, Esq., Administrator, Deutsche Sprachschule of Central New Jersey
    Mr. Bennett, an attorney, has long been a supporter of German Saturday schools. In addition to serving his language school he has volunteered his time as legal counsel for the GLSC Board of Trustees. His services were invaluable to the GLSC.
  • Bertha Birk, Teacher, Deutsche Sprachschule of Union, NJ
    Ms. Birk was affiliated with the Deutsche Sprachschule of Union, NJ, for over 25 years. During this time she endeared herself to the students and faculty alike, giving above and beyond of what is expected of any teacher.

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1992

  • Ute Lorenz, Teacher, South Bay German School, CA
    In the period 1967 – 1981 Ute Lorenz was the editor of the San Jose Schulzeitung. In her position as editor of the monthly magazine she furthered contacts between the German clubs and the German community in San Francisco. Since 1970 she has also been working as a teacher, striving to maintain the German language and culture. In her position as "Director of Education" she contributes much to the success of the German School of the South Bay.
  • Jutta Kiel, President, South Bay German School, CA
    Ms. Kiel has been at the South Bay German School, CA, since 1967, first as a librarian, and since 1969 as registrar. In 1980 she became the President of the school. Under her supervision, her school was able to pay off its $3.000 deficit and increase the number of students from 30 to 100. Ms. Kiel's willingness to invest time and effort in the school are instrumental in the school's development.
German Language School Conference • E-Mail: info@germanschools.org