Hila Nawa Alam, Head of School

Born and educated in Germany, Hila has lived and worked literally around the globe before taking on the role as the GSM’s Head of School in her beloved city of New York. As a graduate of Social Pedagogy, Sociology, and Economics, she has 10 years experience in public and private administration management, most notably in responsible management roles with the United Nations Organization in Vienna, Austria, Beirut, Lebanon, Kabul, Afghanistan. Education and child protection have always been the core and center of her professional and personal passion: Hila is the co-founder of elementary schools in Kabul, Afghanistan that support disadvantaged children to learn and live in a safe environment and therewith help them thrive.

Hila Nawa Alam can be reached at

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Dr. Melanie Adley, Head of English Department

Melanie Adley, Head of English Department

Melanie comes to GSM with 15 years of teaching experience from kindergarten to graduate seminars and has taught everything from English in German Gymnasium to German literature, women’s studies, and feminist pedagogy at universities. She holds a PhD in German Literature and received a certification in elementary education from the Relay Graduate School of Education. Most recently, Melanie taught kindergarten, first, and second grade at a public school in Nashville, TN. She is committed to crafting an accessible, elementary classroom that allows every student to participate in critical analysis and world changing.

Melanie Adley can be reached at

Lydia Chrisman, Music Teacher

Lydia Chrisman, Music Teacher

Lydia grew up in Zurich, Switzerland, in a bilingual home filled with music, dance and art. After graduating from a specialized music high school, Lydia moved to Vermont to study dance and voice at Bennington College. Lydia moved to NYC in 2012 and has been teaching music and movement in public and private schools grades PreK - 4th grade through Third Street Music School and Turtle Bay Music School. Lydia is excited to broaden the curriculum to include German songs.

Lydia Chrisman can be reached at

Tina Hernaiz, Class Teacher - Kindergarten

Tina Hernaiz, Class Teacher - Kindergarten

After a successful career in fashion design, Tina has gained experience in teaching at Pusteblume International Preschool before joining GSM. Tina is originally from Hamburg and mother of a 6 year old child. She is also a certified yoga and kids yoga teacher. Tina is very excited to both nurture your child's ever growing curiosity and also experience their growing confidence throughout their first year of school.

Tina Hernaiz can be reached at

Sylke Simons, Class Teacher - Kindergarten

Sylke Simons, Class Teacher - Kindergarten

Sylke joins GSM with five years teaching experience a full German immersion preschool (Pusteblume International Preschool) and has also worked 11 years as a Registered Nurse in various settings. Sylke holds a B.A. in Special Education and a M.A. in Psychology. Born and raised in Berlin, Sylke came to the US 14 years ago and is a mother of a 11 year old girl and a 7 year old boy. Sylke is very much looking forward to creating a warm, inclusive, empowering and exciting learning environment.

Sylke Simons can be reached at

Julia Stratmann, After School & Marketing

I love working with kids and the arts, and I’m so happy that at GSM I get to work with both! I graduated from the LMU in Munich in 2003 (M.A. in Theater, English Literature & Pedagogy). My passion for acting brought me to NYC. I started working at the German School Brooklyn (GSB) in 2014 as the class teacher of grades 1 & 2. After my daughter Lumi was born in 2015, my role transitioned into teaching part time, as well as taking on the title of Director of Marketing. When GSM opened in Fall 2018 I was part of the founding team and now I am happy to contribute to this exciting new endeavor.

Julia Stratmann can be reached at

Lara Winnesberg, Class Teacher - First Grade

Lara is a “freshly-baked New Yorker”, having moved to Manhattan only in Summer 2019! Lara earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Education from Cologne University with a focus on German and English literary studies, and Special Education. In addition to teaching at elementary and secondary schools in Germany and at the German School Nairobi (Kenya), Lara also taught social and behavioral skills to underprivileged children, children of refugees and students with learning difficulties. Lara trusts that every child is a capable learner and she strives to foster individual and independent learning to empower and enable students to make socially responsible and conscious decisions. Lara understands her teaching profession as a chance to influence and promote social equity and opportunities.

Lara Winnesberg can be reached at