The Dutch School Silicon Valley (DSSV) is a California-approved non-profit or 501(c) (3) organization. The school was founded in Palo Alto, California in 2001 and has since expanded to include classroom facilities in Berkeley, San Francisco and San Jose. Our mission is to deliver high quality Dutch language and culture education by providing a challenging, comprehensive and integrated Dutch language curriculum that meets the requirements of the Dutch school system in the Netherlands.
Dutch School Silicon Valley addresses expatriate student’s Dutch language needs to facilitate repatriation back into the Dutch school system; and provides Dutch language instruction for students who are interested in learning the Dutch language and Dutch culture (as a second or foreign language) through a fully accredited program.
Our curriculum can accommodate ages 5 through 18 / Kindergarten through 12th grade; and our students may have the opportunity to qualify for foreign language credits at their American High School. Several of our students have been successful in receiving language credits by submitting their transcript from Dutch School Silicon Valley to their High School.
The Dutch School Silicon Valley is fully accredited by the school system in The Netherlands and it is also recognized as a language center by New York based Cordell Hull Foundation for Internation Education. While the school receives a small subsidy from the Dutch Government through their contact with the Foundation for Dutch Education Abroad, the majority of the schools operating budget comes from tuition.
The school is administered by the school’s Principal. In addition to teaching responsibility the Principal is responsible for the curriculum, the teaching staff and serves as the communication focal point for DSSV families and the larger community.
The school is managed by the Board-of-Directors in accordance with articles of incorporation and the bylaws. The Board-of-Directors positions are honorary and do not receive remuneration. The purpose of the DSSV Board is to provide advice, counsel and assistance in the following areas: strategic planning, finance, marketing, institutional advancement & development.The Board is comprised of a dedicated group of parents, leaders from business and education.
Dutch School Silicon Valley board and faculty
Miriam van Ringelestijn — principal, lead teacher and administration
Kitty van Keulen — teacher
Chantal van Schooten — teacher
Zusje Helderman — teacher
Lien Roobroeck — teacher
Els Winters — teaching assistant + substitute teacher
Heidi Bernaards— teaching assistant
Wieke Tabak — substitute teacher
Erik Volkerink — president
André Kuper — secretary
Brigitta Turelinckx — treasurer
Madeleine Smeets — parent participation
Bob Carlier — marketing & emergency procedures
Miriam van Ringelestijn —Principal, Lead Teacher and Administration
Miriam van Ringelestijn founded the Dutch School Silicon Valley in 2001. In addition to teaching and managing the faculty and daily operations of the school, she is an integral part of the curriculum development process for both local and expatriation students. Miriam is a fully accredited teacher certified for K-12.
She is a native Dutch speaker with experience in the Dutch public school system since 1994. She is also experienced at teaching children with learning disabilities that require grouping children according to instructional requirements within the larger group of students in a classroom. The combination of this experience gives her a unique advantage in effectively teaching at DSSV where it is not uncommon to have two instructional levels within the same class. Miriam earned a PABO degree from Hogeschool Windesheim in Zwolle, the Netherlands. She also pursued a one year post graduate study in special education needs (SEN).
Kitty van Keulen — Teacher
Kitty van Keulen joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley faculty in 2009 as an independent outside contractor. She is a native Dutch speaker and certified elementary school teacher who earned her BA in Education from the Inholland PABO. In addition, she has a MA in Early Childhood Special Education from Santa Clara University. Prior to teaching elementary school, she taught 0-5 year olds and their families in special education in California and taught coworkers as an Early Intervention Trainer. In order to fulfill her wish to become a teacher of children 4-12 year old, she enjoyed working as a student teacher in different grades of the DSSV, an American school and a school in the Netherlands. Prior to moving to California in 1997, she worked as a Public Health Nurse and in a center for 0-12 year old children at risk of a developmental delay.
Besides working as a DSSV teacher, she currently is a substitute teacher at an independent American K-5 school and an Early Intervention Trainer.
Chantal van Schooten — Teacher
Chantal van Schooten joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley faculty in 2010 as an independent outside contractor. Chantal is a native Dutch speaker. She and her family have lived in the San Francisco Bay area since the 1990’s. While raising her children she works part-time for the Palo Alto school system, actively volunteers in the classroom as an instructional assistant, and is an experienced tutor at Silicon Valley schools. Outside of the school environment she has worked with kids of all ages as a tenured parent volunteer supporting the Girl Scouts organization. In her free time Chantal enjoys camping, gardening and singing. She is an active member of the San Francisco “Bay Area Showcase Chorus”.
Chantal earned a Ph.D. in Immunology and a Master’s degree in Biology from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.
Zusje Helderman — Teacher
Lien Roobroeck — Teacher
Lien Roobroeck joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley in April of 2013 as an independent outside contractor. She is a native Dutch speaker. Lien holds a Bachelor degree in Literature Arts with a major in French and a minor in Spanish from Louisiana State University Shreveport. She is very passionate about languages. This already started at a very young age. During her youth Lien practiced poetry and drama and wrote Dutch short stories as a hobby. And having grown up in Flanders, Belgium and because of her study Lien has first hand experience in learning and maintaining languages other than her mother tongue.
Before moving to the United States (Louisiana) in 2005, Lien worked in the travelindustry where she obtained international experience in working with groups and a keen interest in other countries and cultures. In the summer of 2009 Lien moved to San Jose, California.
In her free time Lien enjoys horseriding (now only for pleasure, but she competed in dressage competitions during several years), pilates, bicycling and traveling with her husband and two children.
Zusje Helderman — Teacher
Els Winters — Teaching Assistant + Substitute Teacher
Els Winters joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley faculty in 2006 as an independent outside contractor. Els is a native Dutch speaker living in California with a wealth of experience in teaching languages and cross cultural training to corporate clients including teaching children of families relocating to Europe. Els also worked with Bay area public schools tutoring students in foreign language studies.
Prior to teaching Els worked as the Station Manager for Martinair—Holland for 22 years and also served 12 years as Treasurer and 10 years as President of the Holland America Society, and was active in the NAUL and the Netherlands Business Group since their start.
Heidi Bernaards — Teaching Assistant
Wieke Tabak — (substitute) Teacher
Prof. Dr. Ir. Erik H. J. Volkerink, MBA — Board member, President and Liaison Dutch Government
Erik Volkerink is a Consulting Assistant Professor at Stanford University and Chief Scientist at Verigy Memory Test Solutions. He is an expert in Semiconductor Design & Test. He received a Best Paper Award at the CPA conference in the United Kingdom for his work on Software Development Methodologies for Real—time Distributed Hardware Systems. He is active in many industry wide activities including Registration Chair, Finance Chair and IEEE Liaison of the Pacific Northwest Test Workshop, Keynote Speaker of the Future of ATE Workshop (FATE) at the International Test Conference, Program Committee Member of the International Test Conference (ITC), SOC Test Topic Chair of the European Test Workshop (ETW), and Cost-of-Test Section Lead of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS).
Erik earned a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, a Master degree in Engineering from the University of Twente in The Netherlands and a Master degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Erik is also an example of how people with learning disabilities are able to overcome their deficiencies; and this is the foundation for his passion with respect to education. Prior to his University accomplishments, Erik worked as an Electrician in The Netherlands after he completed vocational training and special education schooling for children with learning disabilities.
Bob A. Carlier, MBA — Board member, Marketing and Emergency Procedures
Bob Carlier is an independent management consultant focused on global marketing and business development. Prior to consulting, Bob spent more than 20 years in strategic, high profile brand development and business management in executive positions with Gillette, Tyson, and RJR-Nabisco, as well as, Oracle Corporation and venture capital backed high-tech start-ups. He started his career at Johnson & Johnson Personal Products Company in Brand Management.
Bob Carlier earned a MBA from The George Washington University in Washington, DC and Bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Spanish from The American University in Washington, DC. Bob also studied at The Hague Academy of International Law in The Netherlands and at the University of Madrid. He has co-authored: “Should Madison Meet the Bar” published in the Maryland Law Forum; and, Bartoons Sales Cartoons, a book of sales training cartoons dealing with the everyday trials and tribulations of sales-reps and sales managers, published by R&E Publishers.
From an early age Bob lived abroad in different countries and had to operate within a variety of different education systems. He is fluent in several languages and knows first hand how important it is for expatriate children to maintain and enhance their native language skills while living in a host country. Bob enjoys sports and fitness and is a regular at the Cubberley tennis courts.
Brigitta Turelinckx — Board member , Treasurer
Accomplished Finance Executive with solid and progressive experience in all facets of accounting, finance, and executive leadership within corporations. Astute business strategist with proven success in enhancing operational efficiency, streamlining financial processes, leading organizations through critical transitions, and integrating newly acquired companies’ infrastructures. Regarded for the ability to expertly drive processes and motivate teams.
Gitta held various executive finance positions at BDNA Corporation, a leading provider of IT infrastructure inventory and analysis solutions; Corefino Inc., a virtual finance organization; and Adisys Corporation, an incubator/angel investor. Before moving to the Bay Area in 2000, Gitta worked as Controller for several public multi-national corporations among which Schmalbach Lubeca Werke (aka Schmalbach Lubeca PET and Continental Can Europe).
Gitta earned a Master of Science degree in Finance from Limburgs Universitair Centrum in Diepenbeek, Belgium. She has a profound knowledge of many accounting and ERP systems.
Gitta enjoys outdoor activities with her husband, 2 children and friends, and has explored most of Silicon Valley’s parks.
Ir. Andre Kuper — Board member, Website Design and Secretary
André Kuper is an expert in supply chain management processes and has published and presented in this field. In his specialist role at HP Global Operations he is tasked with harnessing the best practices and to promote and encourage their use by conducting training programs internally, as well as, within the IT community outside of Hewlett-Packard. Prior to HP, he worked at the Applied Low Temperature Lab at the University of Twente; and also as an intern at Anderson Consulting in The Netherlands, where he worked on projects pertaining to change-management and the application of technology to learning.
André Kuper, earned a Master degree in Applied Physics and a Master degree in Instructional Systems Design, both from the University of Twente in The Netherlands. Every year Andre runs the MIT Beer Game for Stanford University and he maintains a keen interest in education appearing as a guest lecturer on topics such as, “uncertainty management” to students studying Operations Research at Stanford. André is also an academic advisor to New York based Mercy College on their on-line Master of International Business Systems program.
Madeleine D. Smeets - M.D. — Board member, Parents Participation Chair
Dr. Madeleine Smeets practiced medicine in The Netherlands and is a specialist in preventative pediatric healthcare. She also served at the Institute of Public Health (RIVM) in The Netherlands where she worked on various assignments including the coordination and implementation of national vaccination programs.
Dr. Madeleine Smeets earned a degree in Medicine from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands. Before embarking on her University studies, Madeleine also enjoyed the American High School experience as a foreign exchange student living with a host family in Washington State.
Madeleine and her husband relocated to the United States 15 years ago, raising their family in Missouri, Florida and more recently the San Francisco Bay area. She is an active volunteer in the Palo Alto school system and the community; as well as, a Board member of the Northern California/Hawaii Chapter of the Tourette Syndrome Association.
DSSV would like to acknowledge the efforts from : former board members : Peter Meijles, Ynet van der Veen, Pascual Starink, Jose Jans, Pieter Noordam, Peter Dekker, Thea Swenson, Anky van Deursen, Margriet Kolkman, Rianne Rutten, Katinka Dierick, Marcel Dignum, Ingrid Brand; former teachers : Jolien van Lieshout, Marleen Menkhorst-Renshoff, Lissy Reekers, Klaas Jan Kramer, Corien van Gelder, Anne-Mieke van der Zalm-Roza, Jacoline Wiskerke; former substitute teachers : Ann van Thielen, Tineke Koomen, Marlies Lloyd, Anja Spaans, Marie-Jose Eijking; former teaching assistents : Thessy Ries, Dorine Hoeksema, Patricia van Dreumel, Wendy van der Palen and Margriet Kolkman ; the contributions from the former (honorary) consuls of the Netherlands for Northern California Bart van Bolhuis, Doug Engmann and Ralph Pais ; as well as Liesbeth van den Berg, who designed our logo.