Staff / Career


We are always looking for qualified candidates for our roster of substitute teachers, so please feel free to submit your application. Please apply online at or send your CV and a cover letter to recruiting at german school phoenix dot org – we look forward to hearing from you!
“The Best Little German School in the West”


Dierk Seeburg – Executive Director

Dierk Seeburg
Dierk Seeburg, Executive Director

Dierk (pronounced like deer, but with a ‘k’ at the end) taught the Advanced class at German School Phoenix for two years starting at the beginning of 2012, and then in 2014 was appointed Director of the school.  He continued to teach for another year and in the fall of 2015 passed on his teaching duties to other teachers to focus on directing the school.  Dierk is currently a resident of Scottsdale, but grew up in Marburg, Germany, and came to the U.S. via the German American Exchange Student Club scholarship program.  He attended Bowling Green State University (BGSU) where he received an M.S. degree, and also holds a college teaching certificate from Maricopa Community Colleges (MCC).

Dierk was awarded the Arizona State University Graduate Student Council Excellence in Teaching Award while serving as a teaching assistant and associate at ASU.  He held a similar position at BGSU, has had experience as a personal tutor, and was a group tutor at The Princeton Review.  Dierk was also an associate faculty member at MCC.

When he’s not busy leading the school and working at his daytime job his favorite thing is to spend time with his wife and three children.


 Arun Ryan – Teacher

Arun Ryan
Arun Ryan, Teacher

Arun Ryan developed an interest in the German language early on, and began to study German in his native India before coming to the U.S.  He completed his education here by earning an M.S. from Drexel University.  He is also certified in Instructional Systems Design, and his teaching experience includes being a Six Sigma Black Belt trainer and doing private tutoring.

Arun joined German School Phoenix in 2013 and has taught both beginner and intermediate classes. Though he lives in Phoenix, he has been running the Tempe Stammtisch for the last 30 years.  His favorite way to relax is to watch TV.

 Elke Duncan – Teacher

Elke Duncan
Elke Duncan, Teacher

Elke Duncan was born and raised in Bavaria, Germany. She has a B.A in Education from the University of Regensburg, Germany. Her majors are in German Literature and Geography. She has taught German at the International School of Arizona over the past three years and is now the Curriculum Coordinator at BASIS Phoenix Central.

Elke has three girls, is married and enjoys spending time with her family. She is very excited to be part of the German School Phoenix.

Gagan Jasuja – Teacher

Gagan Jasuja, Teacher

Gagan Jasuja was born and raised in Frankfurt, Germany, and lived there until she got married and moved to the United States in 2015. Gagan completed her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Sales and Marketing from Hochschule Damstadt in Germany.  Along with working as a teacher at German School Phoenix, she is a sales professional at Pandora Jewelry.  Besides her professional career, she enjoys being a wife and the busy mother of a beautiful baby girl.  

Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni – Volunteer Teacher

Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni, Volunteer Teacher

Obenewaa Oduro-Opuni is a PhD Candidate in Comparative Culture and Language at Arizona State University. She received her Master’s in German Language and Literature from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, with thesis work focusing on the representation of Africa, Africans, and Black Germans in four selected texts from different time periods of German literature, from medieval to contemporary literature. Her dissertation explores dramatic genres bearing witness to an early and Enlightenment German-language discourse indicative of anti-colonial and anti-imperial currents through its critique of slavery and racism.

In the context of her graduate studies, Obenewaa, a native of Hamburg, has been teaching German as a Foreign Language (GFL) for eight years now. She has taught at the University of Alabama, The Ohio State University and at Arizona State University. Teaching German language and culture as a native speaker of German in the North American cultural context has been an enriching experience, both personally and professionally.

Andrew Eledge – Teacher

Andrew Eledge, Teacher

Andrew Eledge was born and raised in Tennessee, where he lived until coming to the Honors College at Arizona State University, where he earned a B.S. in Accounting with a minor in German Language and Culture summa cum laude. He grew up in an American-German household, with a heavy influence in dialected German, giving him a well-rounded appreciation of the language.

Andrew’s teaching experience includes being a private tutor for ASU’s D-1 athletes. He was ranked #1 and #2 German student in the state of Tennessee in high school. Further, he was recognized as Outstanding German Student Year 4 his final year at ASU.

He currently is continuing his studies at ASU as a Masters student in Taxation while sitting for his Certified Public Accounting (CPA) license. He visits German-speaking Europe frequently, and he plans to pursue a career in international tax law.

In his freetime, Andrew enjoys learning about transportation logistics, hiking, and flying in his flight simulator.

Substitute Teachers

Kerstin Hipper – Teacher

Kerstin Hipper, Teacher

Kerstin Hipper was born and raised in Mainz, Germany, and has a degree in Speech and Language-Pathology. While she has worked with patients ranging in age from one to 88, her emphasis was mostly on treating children will all types of speech and language issues. Because of this experience, she has extensive knowledge about children’s language development and age appropriate conversational approaches, and this enhances her ability to teach German to children and adolescents and to help them build their language skills.

In addition to her teaching duties at German School Phoenix, Kerstin owns a small tutoring business in Gilbert, serving clients ranging in age from elementary school to college level.

She moved from Germany to Arizona in 2011, and now thinks it’s quite the best place to live. In her free time she enjoys cooking, knitting and sharing time with her daughters.


Julie Linke – Marketing Manager

Julie Linke – Marketing Manager

Julie has always had an interest and family ties to the German culture. She studied abroad in Zittau, Germany during college and graduated Northern Arizona University with her BA in German and a minor in Speech Communications. She is able to utilize her love of the German language and culture by taking Americans abroad on tours of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Julie has joined German School Phoenix as the Marketing Coordinator in fall of 2015 and was promoted to Marketing Manager in spring of 2016 overseeing the intern and volunteer programs. When she is not working, she enjoys traveling with her husband and 2 kids.  She currently is living in Moers, Germany.


Helen & Merle Pipho, Founders of the German School Phoenix

German School Phoenix was established in 1997 by Helen and Merle Pipho.

In 1970, Helen and Merle became members of King of Glory Lutheran Church in Tempe after moving to Arizona from northeast Iowa. Merle grew up speaking German at home, so when church members expressed a desire to have their children learn German, the Piphos took the initiative and made that happen. Since then over 500 students, both children and adults, have attended German classes presented by what is now named German School Phoenix.

Merle passed away in 2018 and Helen retired from her role in the administration of the school. We are very grateful to them for their role in starting German classes over 20 years ago.

Directors Emeriti

Heike Davis – Director Emeritus

Heike Davis
Heike Davis, Director Emeritus

Heike Davis was the immediate past director of the German School Phoenix from 2007-2014. On weekdays, Heike still teaches private German lessons to pre-school and school-age children – if interested, please contact her at

Jerry Wood – Director Emeritus

Jerry Wood
Jerry Wood, Director Emeritus

Jerry Wood was the first director of the German School Phoenix from 1999-2007. Jerry still teaches German classes at Glendale Community College and serves as substitute teacher and guest speaker.

2 Replies to “Staff / Career”

  1. I am of German/Polish descent and I met Stefanie Cerron-Palomino and she was a very nice woman. We shared our respective histories of our ancestry and families’ immigration history and we had a lovely chat. She encouraged me to join the school, something which I am considering very much.


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