GISC Important Dates

January 2017
3rd First Day of School in 2017
16th Martin Luther King Day

February 2017
17th Staff Development Day
20th Presidents' Day

March 2017
8th-10th Parent Teacher Conferences
17th Staff Development Day

April 2017
10th-17th Spring Break
29th Spring Gala

May 2017
19th Grandparents' Day
26th Staff Development Day
29th Memorial Day

31st Spring Concert & Art Show

June 2017
9th, 12th, 13th Parent Teacher Conferences
16th End-of-Year Picnic & Last Day of School

June 17th - August 21st Summer Break

*Red = No School


Open Houses 2017:
Day: Thursdays
10:00 am - 12:00 noon

January 5th and 19th 

February 2nd and 16th 

March 2nd, 16th, and 30th 

Faculty and Staff

School Management Team

Petra Obritzberger
Petra Obritzberger - Assistant Director

Petra Obritzberger hails from Austria.
M.S. (Educational Supervision and Schoolbuilding Leadership; graduating in May 2017), Mercy College New York.2000, Dipl.-Päd. and  Teacher Certification (English, Geography, Economics), Pädagogische Akademie der Erzdiözese Wien. 2008, Teacher Certification for Michigan (Language Arts, Mathematics, German). 2007, Training as a Rescue Diver.
2000-2007, Teacher in Middle School (5. – 8. Klasse) in Wien. 2007-2009, Teacher for German (Grade 1), German Language Center, Bloomfield Hills ,MI. 2009 – 2010, Teacher (Grades 2-4), The International School, Farmington Hills, MI. 2009-2011, Teacher (Grade 3), Deutsche Schule Ann Arbor, MI. 2003-2007, Tour Guide for groups of Austrian students to Great Britain, Malta, Slowenia. Languages: German, English. At GISC since 2011.
Katharina Koch
Katharina Koch
IB Coordinator and Teacher
Katharina Koch grew up in Mannheim and Augsburg.
2013, Illinois Professional Educator License for English and German, Grades 6-12.  2011, Second Teaching Certificate for English and German at Secondary Schools, Grades 5-12 (Zweites Staatsexamen für die Laufbahn des Höheren Schuldienstes an Gymnasien), Baden-Württemberg, Ministerium für Kultus, Jugend und Sport. 2009, First Teaching Certificate for English and German at Secondary Schools Grades 5-12 ( Erstes Staatsexamen), Albert-Ludwig-Universität, Freiburg. 2008, M. A. (European Comparative Literary Studies), University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.
2013-14, German Teacher (Grades 6-8), Community School Unit District 200, Woodstock, IL. 2012-13, Financial Aid Advisor, Career Education Cooperation, Schaumburg, IL. 2010-11, Instructor for ESL and German Grades 5-12, Peter-Petersen-Gymnasium, Mannheim. 2009, German Language and Culture Instructor, English Opens Doors, Santiago, Chile. Languages: German, English, Spanish. Teaching Subjects: English, German.
Nathalie Kohlhaas
Nathalie Kohlhaas  
Co-Head of Pre-School and Teacher
Nathalie Kohlhaas hails from Berlin, but grew up as a diplomat’s child in Instanbul, Ankara, and Moskow.
2011 State Certified Preschool Teacher (Staatlich geprüfte Erzieherin), Fachschule für Sozialpädagogik, Pestalozzi-Fröbel Haus, Berlin
2011-2014, Preschool Teacher, Kinderladen Karl und Karla e.V., Berlin. Internship inWroclaw, Polen: 2010, ENTE Centrum Wspolpracy Europejskiej. Internships in Berlin: 2010, City-Initiative für Eltern- und Kinderprojekte; 2009-10, JFE Gartenhaus an der Marie; 2008-09, S.O.S. Kinderdorf; 2009, Karl und Karla; 2008-09; 2007-08, KITA Elfenland.  Languages: German, English, French, Turkish.
 Danica Polanski
Danica Polanski
Co-Head of Pre-School and Teacher
Danica Polanski comes from Hamburg.
2014, M.A. (Bilingual-Bicultural Education), DePaul University, Chicago, IL; 2011, B.A. and  Illinois Teaching Certificate for K-9 , Concordia University, River Forest, IL
2006-2011, Nanny for children ages 7 months to 12 years  including several children with learning difficulties (ADS, ADHS, autism)for several families in the Chicago area. Languages: German, English.

Michelle Ernst, PhDMichelle Ernst

Director of Extracurricular Programs
Michelle Ernst grew up in Missouri
Ph. D., 2001 (Developmental Psychology, Statistics), Loyola University, Chicago, IL. 1998, M.A. (Developmental Psychology), Loyola University, Chicago, IL. 1993, B. A. (Psychology) University of Missouri at Columbia, Columbia, MO2009-2012, Senior Researcher, Chapin Hall, Center for Children at University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. 2001-2009 Senior Research Scientist, National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago (NORC). 2003-2009, Instructor of Research Methodology, Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, Chicago, IL. 1999-2000, Instructor of Statistic, Loyola University, Chicago, IL

Sonja Manhart
Frau Sonja Manhart

Finance & Office Coordinator
Sonja Manhart grew up in Kanton St. Gallen.
1986, Certificate of Proficiency in English, English Language Institute, Dublin. 1983,Diplom in Business (Handelsdiplom), Kantonschule Sargans, Kanton St. Gallen
1996-2014, Administrator, Schweizerisches Generalkonsulat, Chicago, IL. 1992-96, Administrator, Schweizerisches Generalkonsulat, Johannesburg, South Africa. – 1991-92, Administrative Intern (Konsulardienstanwärterin), Schweizerisches Generalkonsulat, Marseille, France. 1990-91, Administrative Intern (Konsulardienstanwärterin), Eidgenössisches Departement für Auswärtige Angelegenheiten, Bern. 1986-90, Secretary (Sekretärin), Prime Computer (Schweiz) AG, Zürich. 1983-85, Secretary (Sekretärin) Schweizerische Lebensversicherungs- und Rentenanstalt, Zürich. Languages: German, English, French, Italian, Spanish

Preschool Faculty

Anna BrooksAnna Brooks
Anna Brooks was born and raised in Witten, North Rhine-Westphalia

2014, M.Ed (Master in Elementary Education), Loyola University Chicago, Chicago, IL; 2011, AAB (Associate of Arts in Business), University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona; 2009, BSB/MKT (Bachelor of Science in Business with concentration in Marketing), University of Phoenix, Phoenix, Arizona.
2006-2011, Telephone Operator and Administrative Assistant at the
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Chicago, IL. – May-October 2002, Volunteer at Lombadina Aboriginal Community, Western Australia.
February-April 2002, Farm Hand and Nanny for
Family Markey in New South Wales, Australia. Languages: German, English, French

 Karola TrockenbrodtKarola Trockenbrodt Karola Trockenbrodt grew up in Aschaffenburg.

1997, State Certified Nurse (Staatlich Geprüfte Krankenschwester), Regierung von Unterfranken, Würzburg, Bayern
2013-14, Caregiver, Best In-Home Services Inc., Northbrook, IL. 2012-2013, Nurse at Neurology/Neurosurgery Critical Care Unit, Klinikum Aschaffenburg, Aschaffenburg. 1997-2012, Nurse at Neurology Ward, Klinikum Aschaffenburg, Aschaffenburg. Languages: German, English.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Faculty

Cornelia Babbitt

Cornelia Babbitt

Cornelia Babbitt hails from Ohio.

1977, Artistic Diplom in Cello (Künstlerische Reifeprüfung in Cello), Prof. Andre Navarra, Musikhochschule Detmold, Detmold. 1975, State Certified Music Teacher (StMP) (Staalich Geprüfte Musiklehrerin), Musikhochschule Detmold, Detmold
977-Present, Cellist with various orchestras and ensembles: Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Substitute), Lyric Opera of Chicago (Substitute), Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Philharmonic, Chicago Piano Trio, Concertante di Chicago, CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Orion Chamber Ensemble, Kammerorchester Tibor Varga, Orchester des Südwestdeutschen Rundfunks, Orchester des Bavaria Film Studios, Ensemble International des Huits Violoncellistes. Accompanying orchestra for: Ray Charles, Julio Iglesias, Earth, Wind, and Fire. Languages: English, German. Teaching Subject: Music.

Laura EddelbüttelLaura Eddelbüttel

Laura Eddelbüttel hails from Hamburg.

2013, M.A. (German Studies), Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. 2011, Studies in Media, Art and Communication, University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI. 2010, B.A. (Art, Music, Media), Philipps-Universität, Marburg
2011-2013, Teaching Assistant, Florida State
, Tallahassee, FL. 2008-2012, Assistant to Arts Manager in the Communication Department, Hypo Vereinsbank, Hamburg. 2009, TV Editor, Fernsehmacher, Hamburg. 2007, TV Editor, MTV Media, Helsinki (Finland). Languages: German, English, Finnish, French. Teaching Subjects: Mathematics, Social Sciences/History.

Mike HelfmannMike Helfmann


Mike Helfmann hails from Bielefeld.

2009, Teaching Certificate for English as a Second Language (ESL, K-12), Texas State Board for Educator Certification Standard, Austin, TX. 2005, Teaching Certificate for Special Education (K-12), Texas State Board for Educator Certification Standard, Austin,TX. 2002, B. A. (Psychology), St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX
2011-2012, German Teacher, Language Stars, Washington, DC. 2004-2010, Teacher for Disadvantaged Students (elementary & middle School), Leander Independent School District, Cedar Park, TX. 2003-2004, Teaching Assistant for Disadvantaged Students, Austin Independent School District, Austin, TX. 2000-2002, Teaching Assistant, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX..2000-2002, Teaching Assistant, St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX. 1994-1999, Early Childhood Special Intervention Specialist, Austin Travis County MHMR. 1992-1993,  Integrationspecialist for children with disabilities, Montessori Kinderhaus, Bielefeld. Languages: Deutsch, English. Teaching Subjects: English, Natural Sciences.

Nelia JanikNelia Janik


Nelia Janik comes from Bonn.

2005-2007, Course Work (French, Art), Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago.
2008-2010, Studies in Interior Design,
Harrington College of Design, Chicago, IL
2002-2008, Interpreter for English, German, Spanish and Italian for several international Organisations. Since 2003, music performances, recordings and Song Writer in Latin American and Popmusic in Germany and USA; Singer with various bands and orchestras in Chicago.
2008-2011, German Teacher,
Language Stars, Chicago, IL, Inlingua, Chicago, IL. Languages: German, English, Spanish, Italian. Teaching Subject: Art.

Marianne SerexMarianne Serex


Marianne Serex comes from Kanton Thurgau in Switzerland. – 2012. Certificate of English Four-Course ESL Curriculum, DePaul University, Chicago, IL. 2000,  Diplome for Teaching French as a Foreign Language (Diplôme d’aptitude à l’enseignement du français langue étrangère), Ecole des Français Moderne, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne. 1998, Certificate in French Language, Litterature and Civilisation (Certificat de langue, de littérature et de civilisation françaises), Ecole de Français Moderne, Université de Lausanne, Lausanne. 1997, License for Dyscalculia- and Legasthenytherapy (Zusatzausbildung für Dyskalkulie- und Legasthenietherapie und Spezielle Förderung), Lehrerinnen- und Lehrerweiterbildung Kanton Luzern, Luzern. 1983, Certificat as Legastheny Therapist (Legasthenie-Therapeutin), Sanitäts- und Erziehungsdepartement des Kanton Thurgau, Frauenfeld. 1979-80, French Language Studies (Séjour linguistique), Université de la Sorbonne, Paris. 1975, Teaching Certificate for K-6 (Wählbarkeitszeugnis für Primarlehrer), Erziehungsdepartement des Kanton Thurgau. – 2006-11, Tutor for German as a second language, preschool-high school and adults, Le Mont-sur-Lausanne VD. 2000-06, Teacher for German as a second language, grades 5-9, Etablissement Scolaire de Savigny-Forel, Vaud. 1989-96, Teacher for special needs students (Dyslexia, Dyscalculia), grades 2-6, Primarschule Cham, Zug. 1975-81, Elementary School Teacher, grades 1-3, Primarschule Bischofszell, Thurgau. Languages: German, French, English. Teaching Subjects: French, German as a second language.

Extra-Curricular Activities/After Care