I was born to German parents in El Paso, Texas, USA. I grew up within two cultures, Germany and the United States, and attended schools in the United States and Germany. In 1996, I graduated with an 'Abitur' diploma from a well-respected public school in the North of Germany, close to the major city of Hamburg.
Teaching as a profession came to me gradually. Even as a teenager, I was frequently asked to take on teaching assignments for the various local activities I engaged in. However, I did not yet interpret this as a 'sign' for what my life was to be about.
After graduating from the college-prep school in Germany, I began a year of civil service at a local group home for the mentally disabled and at a foster home. In 1998, I entered the University of Hamburg with a declared major in Sociology. However, in 1999 I changed my major to "Lehramt", the federal teacher preparation program in Germany.
While at university in Germany, I worked as a freelance author, translator, and instructor to finance my studies. Again, I was asked to take on paid teaching assignments--one for the computer company I worked with (software trainer); another for a newly-founded martial arts school; and yet another for a community college, teaching German to migrant adults.
In 2002, I finally determined that teaching was closer to my heart than I had realized before. I moved to San Diego, California, USA, to work as an Outdoor Education instructor with the YMCA of San Diego County--one of the largest YMCA branches in the United States. Within the Californian science curriculum, I taught hands-on science classes to hundreds of students who spent their class trips at our beach and mountain facilities. In this function, I eventually took on more leadership responsibilities in staff development and staff counseling.
At about the same time--in 2004--I began to use seasonal breaks to go to Belgium to live with my wife-to-be (also a teacher). In 2005, I also accepted a brief teaching assignment at a Montessori school in Arizona. However, in 2006 Heike and I finally decided to get married, and I moved away from the United States to Belgium.
Working at an international military (NATO) base in Belgium, my wife was appointed as the lead kindergarten teacher of SHAPE International School's German Section. In the meantime, I used this fascinating environment of over 50 nations represented in the space of all small city to further my professional development. I tied together the loose ends from studying in Germany and transferred to the University of Maryland, University College Europe, earning a BS degree in Psychology at the top of my class with summa cum laude honors. I also continued to teach privately and publically with students of all ages from the different national school branches united under SIS (SHAPE International School). My main focus of instruction in this function was Modern Languages (English and German) as well as Music Performance and Theory.
With a good decade of teaching experience under my belt, I decided in 2008 to formalize my learning further by going into a Master of Arts in Education program with the University of Phoenix. During that time, I had more opportunities to familiarize myself with the curricula of the different countries represented at SHAPE. In particular, I cooperated with the German, American, Belgian, Canadian, and British sections to study their curricula and instructional approaches.
In April 2011, I completed the MAE program--again with academic distinction--and a public teaching credential (Multiple Subjects, Elementary) for the State of Arizona. I am a lifelong member of several academic honor societies and professional associations.
From August 2011 to August 2014, I worked as a 5th grade teacher at the International School of Dhaka in Bangladesh, an IB World School. I took a seven-month Sabbatical from September 2014 until April 2015 to support Solmaid Community School in Dhaka, a school for underprivileged children in a slum area of Bangladesh's capital city. In April 2015, I joined Cologne International School in Germany, likewise an IB World School.
My teaching specialty is the Primary Years Program (PYP), within the International Baccalaureate Framework. For the last three years, teaching the final PYP year, I have overseen the implementation of the PYP Exhibition from end to beginning.