Redeemer Christian Academy
10792 National Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

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Classes offered at the Santa Monica German School location


4 – 5 year old students

Introduction to the German language and culture in three steps:

1. Working on oral comprehension
2. Motivating students to speak achieved through games, songs, crafts and
additional fun activities
3. Progression in writing and reading

Unterstufe I:

6 – 8 year old students

The focus is on expanding vocabulary and verbal skills through age appropriate topics and a variety of activities. With the introduction to basic German grammar, writing skills will also be promoted. A1 Testing starts.

Unterstufe II / Mittelstufe:

9 – 12 year old students

Emphasis on vocabulary enrichment and development of writing and grammar skills in preparation for A2 Testing.

Mittelstufe / Oberstufe: 

12 – 17 year old students

Goal for the students is to achieve written and oral competence in German. Preparation for AATG II – IV Testing (American Association of Teachers of German), A2 and DSD 1 and 2 Testing. See Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen

Our Teachers

Kirsten Paul
(School Principal / Teacher Unterstufe 2)

Kirsten was born in Germany and earned her BA and MA in Sociology (Third World Development Policy) from the University of Bielefeld. While attending University, she spent two years in Malawi and Senegal, doing research and working with local communities.  Kirsten moved to the United States 21 years ago. After moving to L.A., she worked as a Program Coordinator at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation as well as USC’s Multimedia Program.

She currently holds the California Multi-Subject Teaching Credentials as well as a BCLAD (Bilingual Education certificate) which she earned in 2014 from CAL State Teach. Kirsten Paul has been a full time teacher at Goethe International Charter School for the last six years, teaching Language Arts, Math, Social Sciences and Sciences in German to a student body with a broad range of German language levels. For the last three years, Kirsten has worked as a 5th grade teacher. Before that, she worked primarily in third grade. She has a lot of experience preparing students for the A1 and A2 language proficiency test. Kirsten is a founding parent of Goethe International Charter School.

Kirsten lives in Los Angeles with her husband, 17 year old son and her 14 year old daughter.

Patricia Riefenstein  (Unterstufe I)

Munich born Patricia Riefenstein studied creative writing, directing and acting in Germany and the US. As a private German tutor, she has taught many students between the age of 4 up to 14. Patricia involves art, movement, storytelling, and play into her teaching to motivate her students.

Patricia has a deep knowledge of German, Austrian, and Swiss history, culture and art, which she applies age appropriate in her lessons. She lives with her husband and their 14 year old son in Los Angeles.

Yvonne Bamberger (Oberstufe)

Yvonne grew up in a small town near Frankfurt, Germany. After her “Abitur” she studied English (ESL), Spanish and French at Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen to become a language teacher. During her studies, she spent two semesters in Granada, Spain. After her student teaching, she worked in grades 5-13 teaching English and Spanish at a “Gymnasium” in Schwalbach am Taunus until August 2013, when she moved to L.A. with her husband. Since arriving in L.A., she has worked at the Santa Monica Language Academy, Redondo Union High School, for GASA, and Goethe/GASA Alumni. She currently holds the California Teaching Credentials for German, ESL and Spanish. Yvonne’s teaching methods develop all four language competences (listening, reading, speaking, writing) simultaneously, and she has lots of experience in preparing students for the DSD I (B1 level) and DSD II (C1 level).

She has a young daughter and in her free time loves to be with her family, to travel the world, and to visit friends and family in Germany.

Laura Sanders (Mittelstufe)

Elisabeth Beken (Kindergarten)

Born in Munich, our GASA Kindergarten teacher Elisabeth Beken lives in Santa Monica with her husband and two children. Ms. Beken studied acting for film and theater, film production, directing, and screenwriting in Germany and the US. Her education in Germany included studying psychology and pedagogy. Fascinated by Maria Montessori’s philosophy, “help me to do it myself,” Ms. Beken worked as an intern at a Catholic Montessori Kindergarten while living in Munich. She contributed to various social projects for children and teenagers who were struggling in society, and also taught stage and camera acting for children K-12 at private and public schools in Germany.

Ms. Beken loves to combine academic and artistic activities with having fun and incorporates various tools of cinematic and literary arts in her teaching. Elisabeth believes in the power of subconscious learning through play and fun. She develops various teaching methods that are specifically tailored to individual students. She believes that every child is intelligent with limitless potential for growth. Ms. Beken states “I love to teach young children because they are the future of humanity who will shape our world for a better future.”

Katharina Merlob (Kindergarten)

Katharina was born in Philadelphia, PA but was raised in Caracas, Venezuela. Her grandparents emigrated in 1953 from the Black Forrest to Venezuela, which is why she attended the German School, Humboldt, in Caracas. After completing her Abitur, she moved to upstate New York to attend Ithaca College, where she received her BA in History with a minor in Italian, adding it to her repertoire of languages and maxing it out at 5. She met a boy in college who she followed to Los Angeles after graduation in 2005. She earned her Master from Loyola Marymount University in Education  and holds a BCLAD (Bilingual Education Certificate). She has been a Public School teacher for the Santa Monica Malibu School district since 2008. She teaches history for the Spanish Immersion Program. After doing 9 years of Middle School, she made the jump to High School making this her first year working with older kids.

Katharina lives close to the beach, with the boy she followed from college, who she has two sons with, a 6 year old and 3 year old, which keep her busy.

Petra Wise (Substitute Teacher)

Petra was born and raised in the South of Germany. She holds a PhD in Molecular Biology and has taught High School and College students since 1995. Petra has worked at the Santa Monica Branch of GASA since 2003. In the classroom she tries to implement all learning options, visual, auditory and through practical work. She also likes to introduce the students to classic German characters.

About Us

Multilingualism is the norm in most of the world and we believe that children who speak and write more than one language will be better prepared for life in the 21st century with its growing global economy. The best way to master another language is to start learning at an early age.

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Student Policy

GASA admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.