Staff Zoom

Michelle Cormier

Michelle Cormier

Math Coordinator, Primary School

When I first came to BMS, the school was in the initial stages of being a PYP (Primary Years Programme) candidate school and PYP Authorization was 3 years into the future. Having come from a PYP school in Istanbul and other teaching posts in Asia, I was already an avid and passionate supporter of inquiry-based learning.

Now, after seven years at BMS, I am amazed at the development this school has gone through towards creating a school that fosters independent and inquiry-based learning. Moreover, I have had the advantage of being a part of an inspiring and collegial team of teachers—undoubtedly, one of BMS´s greatest resources from the Early Learning Center, through Primary and finally, in the Secondary school.

My role as math coordinator is an especially rewarding one in that I am able to develop and cultivate a math program that serves the needs of our students, motivates them to learn, and helps them to see not only how but why we use math to solve equations and in essence, how we understand our world through the lens of Mathematics. Guiding these aspects through the units of inquiry and with the central aim of establishing a purposeful inquiry of learning, is a challenge I feel passionate about.

Silke Friedrich

Silke Friedrich

Executive Director, Berlin Metropolitan School

Running the school is an intensive and challenging job, especially when it comes to developing such a young institution and setting its direction. As our day-to-day decisions affect – whether directly or indirectly – the learning and personalities of our students as well as the dreams, hopes and expectations of their families, this work constitutes a unique challenge that can only be met with vision, careful consideration, reliability, and a high degree of commitment. In my opinion, my job is primarily about seizing and shaping the opportunities that present themselves within a short space of time – on behalf of and in the interests of our students, families, employees, and the institution as a whole. Although the resulting responsibility is huge, it is also a source of inspiration and motivation. I love my work because it’s creative and dynamic, lets me work with interesting people in an international team, pushes me to my limits – and because our students give their feedback in such a direct manner.

I am extremely proud of our school and how it’s developed over the past few years. In a short space of time, we have managed to become the best international school in the center of Berlin as well as an inspirational, open, and welcoming place of learning. One of the nicest parts of my day is when I ring the bell on the school door in the morning and am buzzed into BMS. I look forward to the students, who will come through the very same door invigorated, well-educated and without a care in the world, ready to discover personal happiness and their professional passion. Wherever their studies take them, I hope they will feel their time at BMS is beneficial and that it prepares them for living an independent life.

Helge Gottschlag

Helge Gottschlag

Reception

 

For the majority of our students, I am the first face they see on an average school day and my mission as the central hub of BMS, is to provide a helpful and warm environment where people enjoy coming to our school. A further important goal is to provide helpful support to our students, visitors, staff and the many other faces we greet each day at BMS. By doing so, I feel as if I am making meaningful contributions to our school structures in providing the framework where successful teaching and learning can flourish.

I identify with the core attributes we build in our students, namely being open-minded and respectful, as I try to live these out in my everyday collaborations with staff, students, and parents. For me, this role-modeling aspect makes an incredible strength already prevalent in our community even more visible. With two children who also attend BMS, one of the further strengths I have been able to identify in our school culture, is our vibrant student life. This idea extends from Early Care, through to Primary School, and within the Secondary school years. On any given week, you can find excursions to local institutes, workshops on science and robotics for our students, concerts, charity activities and much more.  Our students enjoy coming to school and this is something I get to see and feel each day!

Moreover, I feel as if the BMS community provides the international community of Berlin with a place where their children can receive an excellent education, but also a place where people can come together and share their experiences and interests in a meaningful way. Our school is as much for our students as it is for our wider community and this is something I get to not only see but also support from my advantage point in the central point of our school building.

Andrea Krentzien

Andrea Krentzien

Head of German and Coordinator for the German Mittlerer Schulabschluss (MSA), Secondary School

Having worked with students learning German as a second language at the university in Dresden and a few years spent abroad – including a spell at the Deutsche Schule in Moscow – it really felt like I was coming home when I started at BMS almost four years ago. Surrounded by inspiring colleagues from all over the world, not to mention open-minded and enthusiastic students, I soon felt like this was where I belonged. And as a surprisingly unshakable feeling of happiness characterized my morning cycle to work through Berlin-Mitte, I knew that I had found the right place. As Head of the German department, I have the opportunity to help shape the character of our school as it grows and witness, in my own day-to-day teaching and that of my colleagues, the enthusiasm with which our students soak up the curriculum.

The creative projects we carry out in all grades are particularly intensive and successful. I am also delighted to support our students in their extracurricular activities too, such as with theater trips, readings and workshops, and the organization of reading projects. As the Coordinator for the Mittlere Schulabschluss (MSA) exam, I support students in grades 9 and 10 as they prepare for this qualification. With this highly important job, I play my part in helping the students mature into adults; it always gives me great pleasure to watch them plan and carry out their work more independently and responsibly and, whenever they deliver presentations for instance, to see how sophisticated and creative they can be. The seriousness and maturity they display really fill me with pride. 

Jenny O´Fee

Jenny O´Fee

Principal, Primary School

 

International education is all about diversity, perspectives and developing understandings to explore ideas and opportunities. I believe relationships are at the heart of teaching and learning and aspire to always listen to others, try to understand perspectives, and use what is learned to grow and develop. My role as Primary School Principal allows me to see this unfold every day; in the relationships students form with trusted teachers, student leadership through our student council and house system, as well as with the engagement of our vibrant parent community.  I love being part of a community whose school motto is - Inspire each other - grow together!

School is a place of opportunities and possibilities, and I trust that at BMS we provide a platform within which our students can thrive and explore their many different interests as well as share their expertise. Most importantly, that they value our school community as one within which we value asking questions and learning from others. Being involved in student leadership and supporting students develop and build upon their individual passions and interests is very important to me. I am often in awe at the ideas, suggestions and reflections our students have and feel fortunate to be a part of the many different learning journeys students are on. Focusing on enabling students’ voices to be heard through a structured culture of inquiry-based learning is one my core goals in establishing a strong community. I believe these attributes can be found in our commitment to learning at BMS and feel privileged to help foster these key elements of what it means to build a strong culture of learning--one which thrives within and outside the classroom.

When a student leaves the Primary School I hope that they feel confident, curious and empowered to take action in the world; that they understand the importance of always searching for diverse ways to improve and grow. Indeed, this aspect is one of the greatest points of character development we seek to instill in our primary school students, which will guide them through the further stages of their learning in the secondary school years and beyond.

 
Ben Rollmann

Ben Rollmann

Primary School Teacher

 

One of the greatest strengths at BMS is the linguistic and cultural diversity of our school community as it shapes the commitment to international-mindedness we strive to imbue in our students. From the perspective of primary school teacher, this makes a commitment to language acquisition at the forefront of our everyday interaction with students.

One of the key aspirations in my interactions with students inside and outside the classroom is finding personal connections with students. This starts by simply knowing and remembering their names and expands to building relationships with them in asking them throughout simple interactions in the school day questions about their school and their community. This also extends to my approach to collaboration with my colleagues, by engaging them and understanding their perspectives, I learn something from each colleague and each student.

I have worked at international schools in Toyko and Germany and states schools in New York City as well as California, and this time in working in culturally diverse settings is an experience I try to bring to the culture of BMS through my collaboration with colleagues and within my own teaching. In doing so, I feel as if every teacher is an English-language teacher and see this as a cornerstone of a successful international education. Indeed, I feel passionate about enabling kids to learn English to achieve both social and academic goals. By building on this key aspect of what it means to be a student in an international school, I try to instill a culture of learning within my classroom which also engages students to learn through action. I see my role in the classroom as guide in helping students to find the skills they can apply in answering their own questions about the world right now, rather them preparing them for some stage of their lives that will come later.

 

BMS students have a unique profile which I think supports our commitment to an inquiry-based education through all facets of our work in the Primary School. They are excited to learn and their willingness to try new things is infectious! I try to build on this curiosity in the classroom and seek to give students the self-belief to achieve whatever they wish to, and convincing them that things they previously thought to be out of reach are actually attainable. It sounds simple, but I hope my students leave our school as life-long learners who are engaged in their world and who continuously seek out experiences to enrich their intellectual and character development beyond their school years.

 
Tim Stroh

Tim Stroh

PYP Coordinator

As a member of the educational leadership team in the Primary school, I am fortunate to work with a diverse group of education professionals, learn from them, and share their ideas within the networks of our school structures. My central goal within the role of Primary Years Programme (PYP) coordinator is to not only see these collaborative learning environments flourish in order to promote best teaching practices throughout of vertical and horizontal curriculum structures, but also to see our faculty effectively lead the complex cycle of inquiry learning. Part of this important cycle is supporting the development of our educational structures to serve student-led inquiry and the cultivation of knowledge and skills. I feel passionate about making these connections and building the foundation of learning for our students, with a team of dedicated and caring individuals.

As part of my mission to build a collaborate teaching and learning environment at BMS, I seek to support and shape the central role of an educator, one who collaborates with students through the process of inquiry-based learning by providing thoughtful provocations or entry points that promote questioning, active engagement of students to discuss their own thinking and understanding. Good teaching practice promotes a continuous dialogue between teacher and learner that is focused on growth and moving individual learning forward. At BMS, I strive to create the culture where we can explicitly model and practice these traits of mindfulness, resilience, self-regulation, and perseverance.

Our students care deeply about their own learning and this can be seen in our approach to inquiry-based education. I feel one of the strongest attributes of our students is that they are confident and open-minded learners who are passionate about how the issues they learn about inside the classroom impact our world. This is one of the greatest displays of our commitment to global citizenship and is often led by our students themselves! Indeed, we love to see students leave their Primary school years equipped and empowered with these skills and the character traits that will make them successful in any learning environment. This includes one of the central aspects of our mission as a house of international education: becoming responsible and active participants in their direct student community as well as beyond school.