The Richness Within 1 – Introduction teachers


Wendy Nelson Kauffman

Metropolitan Learning Center, Bloomfield, Connecticut, USA


My name is Wendy Nelson Kauffman. I am in my third year teaching history at the Metropolitan Learning Center. I teach 9th grade United States history and a 12th grade U.S. Foreign Policy class. My 12th grade students will be doing the Netherlands project this spring. Our class examines U.S.  foreign policy from the start of the Cold War (after 1945) to the present. The essential question for this course is “what should be America’s role in the world?”  Students will begin the course by examining the values and views that influence US foreign policy choices. Through simulations, reading, writing and discussion, we will analyze the decisions that America has made in the past 60 years and the options for the future. After chronologically examining America’s foreign policy, the course will focus on current issues in the following areas: US relations with China and the Middle East, the global economy, national security, human rights violations, the environment and global health.

Our school is a global and international studies magnet school with an emphasis on technology. We are located in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Students from six nearby towns choose to send their students to us from grades 6-12.

I have been teaching for 10 years. Before that I was a television reporter. I am married to an investigative reporter at a newspaper called the Hartford Courant. I have two sons, age 13 and 18. I enjoy bicycling, yoga, and traveling.


Madeline Madeline Brownstone

Baccalaureate School for Global Education, Astoria, NY, USA

Greetings. My name is Madeline Slovenz Brownstone. The “Richness Within” project appeals to me in many ways—one of them is that it will be an opportunity for me to touch base with my ancestral roots. My grandparents on my mother’s side both emigrated from The Netherlands in the early 1900s.  I always considered myself more “Dutch” than Czech or Croatian (my father’s side of the family.)

I have been involved in iEARN projects for the last two years. The first experience was iEARN Jordan. The exchange began in the forums and culminated in two-way student exchanges between New York and Aman. Some of my students have also participated in Youth Can and continue to work on environmental issues and global awareness through community service and action.  Currently, I teach design technology in the Middle Years Program at The Baccalaureate School for Global Education (BSGE).

BSGE is an IB World school in New York City.  Although IB (International Baccalaureate) schools are usually private institutions or small programs within larger schools that cater to the elite, our school distinguishes itself as a public New York City school that offers an elite educational opportunity to all children. BSGE serves 425 students from the 7th through 12th grades.  All our students enter in the 7th grade and are, upon acceptance, considered candidates for the IB degree.  The students that will participate in the Learning Circle will either be a 9th or 10th grade English class, or possibly a mixed group of students between 8th and 12th grade who elect to participate in this program as an after school activity.

I am looking forward to joining this Learning Circle because I am wondering what our students will show us about their understandings and experiences of studying in a multicultural educational environment. In my school, multicultural is the norm. This is because we are a public school located in the Borough of Queens, the most polyglot section of New York City. Our student population reflects the condition of being a local Queens’ school.

I have been teaching public school for thirteen years. Previously I have worked a theater artist and have also taught courses in colleges and universities in the field of performance studies. I have published journal articles on ethnic performance and cross-cultural fieldwork and also a non-fiction children’s book, Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year,  that is still in print since 1991.

I am married. Through my marriage I have three step-daughters and three grandchildren.  My husband Peter and I both work at BSGE.  We love to travel.


Bridgette Francis

College of Staten Island High School for International Studies (CSI), Staten Island New York, USA

Bridgette  Francis is a Global Studies and World History teacher at CSI High School for International Studies, a small, international themed public high school in Staten Island, New York. In addition to her current position.

Bridgette has been involved in multiple school reform and human rights education projects in schools throughout New York City . Her teaching style emphasizes utilizing the arts and media as tools for student sell-expression and responsible global citizenship.

She is a yoga, biking and surfing enthusiast and is eager to develop programs that bridge academic and physical education in public schools.


Thalysia Thalysia Knoppel

Oostvaarders College, Almere, The Netherlands

My name is Thalysia Knoppel.  I am a young English teacher in the Netherlands. I am teaching for three years now and hope to get acquainted with this learning circle. I hope to learn more about email projects like these. I think this project is a great start.

The school I am representing is the Oostvaarders College in Almere, Holland. This is a secondary school for middle (4 years), high (5 years) and pre- university level (6 years). Our school is very ambitious to work with schools abroad, so I was asked if I would do this learning circle. And I said yes of course.

I teach first, second and third year pupils between the ages of 11 -15. The class I have chosen to do this project is a third ‘athenaeum’ class, which means they are getting English for 2 ½ years now. This is one of the pre- university levels without Greek and Latin. I have known them for two years now and I must tell you these are a great bunch of kids. It is group of 22 pupils who are looking forward to this project.

I hope to see you all soon and wish you all good luck with everything.


Tanne Tanne Hoff

Het College Vos, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands

My name is Tanne Hoff, I am a biology teacher at The College Vos in Vlaardingen, Netherlands. I teach both in Dutch and in English. This is my fourth year at this school. Our building does not only have normal classrooms, but also rooms called studio’s. In those rooms, students can work for themselves. Some of these studios also have extensive computer-facilities. Most students in the Netherlands also have access to the internet at home. I will be checking my mail a few times a week, both at home and at work.

For this learning circle, we will have a contact hour every Monday, on which the students are also able to use these computers.

Apart from teaching, I am also very fond of travelling. I like to scuba-dive, to enjoy nature and to learn about other cultures. Marine biology is, in my opinion, very fascinating. I do keep a coral-reef aquarium at home and I also publish articles in some marine-aquarium magazines, including the Dutch magazine for which I am one of the editors.

The 2T-group with which I am in this learning circle is a small group, consisting of only 14 students. Their age group is from 13-14 years.


Tanne Hoff


Hans van Buuren

Libanon Lyceum, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

My name is Hans van Buuren, I’m 52 years old and I live at the Bergselaan in Rotterdam.

For over 25 years I have been teaching English at the Libanon Lyceum in Rotterdam. I think teaching at this school is great because of the diversity of our Pupils. They have different cultural backgrounds and that’s one of the reasons why it makes teaching here interesting.

My hobbies are traveling, reading cooking and listening to music.

Hans van Buuren


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