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About the Dutch School Silicon Valley

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Dutch School Silicon Valley
P.O. Box 51826
Palo Alto, CA 94303



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


Wieneke van Sonderen — principal, lead teacher and administration

Kitty van Keulen — teacher

Chantal van Schooten — teacher

Lien Roobroeck — teacher

Tessa de Boer — teacher

Inge Darquennes — teacher

Emma Silvius — teacher

Els Winters — teaching assistant + substitute teacher

Heidi Bernaards— teaching assistant + substitute teacher

Vera Eysink— substitute teacher

Miriam van Ringelestijn — substitute teacher



Erik Volkerink — president

André Kuper — secretary

Brigitta Turelinckx — treasurer

Bob Carlier — marketing & emergency procedures

Pauline Teunissen



Wieneke van Sonderen — Principal, lead teacher and administration

Coming soon.

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 K-6 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. Besides working as a DSSV teacher, she is a substitute teacher at an independent American preschool & K-5 school, K-5 tutor and an Early Intervention Trainer.

In her free time, Kitty enjoys reading, writing poetry, doing art, playing (board)games, Jazzercise, playing ukulele and camping with her daughter, husband and dog.


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.

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.

Tessa de Boer — Teacher


Tessa de Boer joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley faculty in 2014 as an independent outside contractor. Tessa is a native Dutch speaker. She holds a Bachelor of Education of the Higher Education and Scientific Research Act from Hogeschool IPABO Alkmaar in The Netherlands. She did her minors in Visions of education and Inquisitive learning and was employed as a full time elementary school teacher for 6 years in The Netherlands. She has always been very interested and active in thematic learning and she got her qualification in Thematic Education from Grade 3 to 6 at De Activiteit Alkmaar. She also got her qualification in Physical Education at Hogeschool Domstad Utrecht.

Because of her adventurous character, Tessa moved to the Bay Area in 2014 together with her husband. They are expecting their first child soon. She loves traveling and outdoor activities, such as hiking, cycling, climbing and snowboarding.

Inge Darquennes — Teacher


Inge Darquennes joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley in February 2015 as an independent outside contractor. She is a native Dutch speaker who earned her BA in Education for K - 6th grade in Brussels (Belgium). For almost 10 years she taught 7 and 8 year olds in Belgium. Her favorite subjects to teach are: language, history and arts & crafts. After her husband got a job in the US in 2011, they moved to San jose. A few months later they moved to Beacon in New York, and returning 1.5 years later to San Jose.

When not teaching at the Dutch school, you can find Inge enjoying nature during family hikes, or sewing and baking all kinds of delicious Belgium treats.

Emma Silvius — Teacher


Emma Silvius joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley faculty in 2015 as an independent outside contractor. She is a native Dutch speaker and certified K-6 teacher who earned her BA in Education from the Inholland PABO. In addition, she has a MA in French from the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden. Emma lives in San Francisco with her husband Dario and her daughters Ella (7) and Mia (3). Languages are not only at the center of Emma’s work but also a daily reality in her family. Both Ella and Mia grow up with Dutch, Italian and English. Before coming to the Bay Area, Emma was a Dutch language teacher in London. She has experience with both adults and children. In the UK she worked for the Dutch Regenboog School (NTC), ACS International Schools, the European School Culham, the British Foreign Office, Imperial College London and City Lit College. Emma also has several years of experience as a consultant for school management and boards with the Dutch Independent School Association.

In her free time Emma loves hanging out with friends, doing yoga, hiking and reading.

Els Winters — Teaching Assistant + Substitute Teacher

ElsEls 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 + Substitute Teacher

Heidi Heidi Bernaards joined the Dutch School Silicon Valley faculty in March of 2012 as an independent outside contractor. She is a native Dutch speaker who moved to the United States in 2000. Heidi studied Dutch and Social Studies in Groningen. Before moving to the US Heidi worked in Utrecht at the ABN AMRO Bank, division Private Banking, as a management assistant.

Heidi lives in San Mateo with her husband Coen (also Dutch) and their sons Tom (14) and Colin (11). Heidi is a full-time mom. The boys keep Heidi busy with after school sports like soccer, cross country and flag football. During the day Heidi volunteers at the boys schools, she is on the PTA board, organizes fundraisers like auctions and read-a-thons, she has been room mom for many years (loves to do craft projects with the kids) and teaches Art in Action. Her hobbies are traveling, organizing anything, arts and crafts, hiking/running.

Vera Eysink — Substitue Teacher

Coming soon.

Miriam van Ringelestijn —substitute teacher

MiriamMiriam van Ringelestijn founded the Dutch School Silicon Valley in 2001. The DSSV started with one teacher (Miriam) and one location (Palo Alto). As the DSSV grew to have multiple teachers and multiple locations, Miriam became principal and lead teacher. Miriam is a native Dutch speaker with experience in the Dutch public school system since 1994. 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).

After 14 school years at the DSSV, Miriam is now enjoying family life with her newborn daughter and husband. She hopes to return to the DSSV as a substitute teacher.

Prof. Dr. Ir. Erik H. J. Volkerink, MBA — Board member, President and Liaison Dutch Government

EriKErik 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

BobBob 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

Ynet and André at "Koninginnedag"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.

Dr. ir. Pauline Teunissen


Pauline Teunissen is Staff Scientist and Group Leader of the Grain Applications Research Group at DuPont Industrial Biosciences in Palo Alto. In this role she is tasked with the project management of multiple projects to deliver new products for the grain processing industry; and also manages a team of scientists who are specialized in the grain research field. A main research focus area is the development of enzyme solutions for the Biofuels industry. Pauline has published and holds numerous patents in her field of expertise, and has been an invited speaker at relevant conferences. Prior to this role she was Director of the EMEA Grain Applications team based in Leiden, The Netherlands.

Pauline obtained a Masters in Food Sciences and a Ph.D in Industrial Microbiology from Wageningen University in The Netherlands.

Pauline moved to the Bay area with her family in 2011 and her son is currently attending the Dutch School in Palo Alto. She has a strong interest and affinity for children’s education and volunteers to promote Science interest to children. Pauline enjoys the outdoor life with her family in her free time.

Special thanks

DSSV would like to acknowledge the efforts from : former board members : Madeleine Smeets, 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 : Marijke Hoebee, Stephanie Kroner, Zusje Helderman, Wieke Tabak, 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 : Odette van Velsen, 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.

   Dutch School Silicon Valley 2015