Team

Hila Nawa Alam, Head of School

Born and educated in Germany, Hila has lived and worked 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.

halam@germanschoolmanhattan.org

Dr. Melanie Adley, Head of English Department

Melanie Adley, Head of English Department

With 15 years of teaching experience under her belt, Melanie has taught everything from English in German Gymnasium to German literature, women’s studies, and feminist pedagogy at universities. She holds a German Literature PhD and Elementary Education certification. Most recently, she taught K and Grades 1 and 2 at a public school in Nashville, TN. Melanie is committed to crafting an accessible classroom that allows every student to participate in critical analysis and world changing.

madley@germanschoolmanhattan.org

Lydia Chrisman, Music Teacher

Lydia Chrisman, Music Teacher

Born in Chicago and raised in Zurich, Lydia grew up 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.

lchrisman@germanschoolmanhattan.org

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 in NYC before joining GSM. Tina is originally from Hamburg. She is the mother of a 6-year old boy. Tina is a certified yoga and 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.

thernaiz@germanschoolmanhattan.org

Sylke Simons, Class Teacher - Kindergarten

Sylke Simons, Class Teacher - Kindergarten

Sylke joined GSM with 5 years of teaching experience at a German immersion preschool (Pusteblume International Preschool) and 11 years of work exprience as a Registered Nurse in various settings. She holds a B.A. in Special Education and a M.A. in Psychology. Born and raised in Berlin, Sylke moved to the U.S. 14 years ago and is a mother of a 11-year old girl and a 7-year old boy. Sylke enjoys creating a warm, inclusive, empowering and exciting learning environment for the Kindergarteners.

ssimons@germanschoolmanhattan.org

Julia Stratmann, After School & Marketing

Julia Stratmann, After School & Marketing

Julia loves working with kids and the arts. After graduating from LMU in Munich (M.A. in Theater, English Literature + Pedagogy), it was her passion for acting that brought her to NYC, which led to working at the German School Brooklyn (GSB) as the class teacher for grades 1 and 2. After her daughter was born, Julia transitioned to teaching part-time and taking on the Director of Marketing role. When GSM opened, Julia was part of the founding team and she is happy to be contributing to this exciting new endeavor.

jstratmann@germanschoolmanhattan.org

Lara Winnesberg, Class Teacher - First Grade

Lara Winnesberg, Class Teacher - First Grade

Having moved to NYC only in 2019, Lara is a “freshly-baked New Yorker.” She holds a B.A. and a Masters of Education from Cologne University (German and English literary studies and Special Education) and she has taught at elementary and secondary schools in Germany and also at the German School Nairobi. Her teaching experience includes teaching social and behavioral skills to underprivileged children, children of refugees and students with learning difficulties. Lara trusts that every child is a capable learner. She strives to foster individual and independent learning to empower and enable students to make socially responsible and conscious decisions. 

lwinnesberg@germanschoolmanhattan.org