MEET OUR TEACHING TEAM
At the Berkeley Turkish School we are fortunate to have a passionate and experienced local teaching team that are actively involved in designing and strengthening our curriculum as the needs of our community evolve.
Gülten is from Ankara, Turkey where she lived her entire life until moving to the Bay Area 24 years ago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Media (Radio & TV) from Gazi University in Ankara. Subsequently, she was trained in AutoCAD as a structural designer-draftsperson and worked for various engineering and construction companies in Turkey. She continued in that profession with engineering firms in San Francisco and the East Bay.
While always loving and connecting with children, when her nephew was born in 2010 in El Cerrito, Gülten became immersed in caring and working with infants and preschoolers. Spurned by this experience, Gülten received Certificates of Achievement and of Accomplishment in Early Childhood Education in both the Basic and Associate Teacher programs at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill in August 2013. Gülten's inspiration is drawn from the world-renowed educators and preschools of Reggio Emilia in Italy, and others from around the U.S. and the world who are also influenced by the Reggio Emilia approach to Early Chilhood Education.
She now works as a substitute preschool teacher at several Berkeley, Albany, Lafayette and El Cerrito preschools. She has a high-energy personality and communicates very effectively and responsively with children from diverse populations.
For relaxation, Gülten enjoys photography, gardening, cooking, traveling and cross-country skiing. Frequently, she can be found alongside her husband remodeling their 100-year old Albany house
Fatoş Arabacıoğlu was born in North Cyprus and started playing piano at the age of nine. Two years later Fatosh was accepted into Bayrak Radio Television Corporation’s (BRTK) Children Choir and Orchestra where she performed weekly on television and radio. Inspired by Cypriot Folk Music, Fatosh began playing accordion, and for the last 20 years she has been traveling Europe and America representing Cypriot Folk Music at international cultural festivals.
After studying violin performance at Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus, Fatosh moved to Tucson, AZ to continue her studies at the University of Arizona. In 2012, Fatosh completed her degree in music performance for flute at Middlesex University in London with a focus on Suziki Method early childhood music education. During this time, Fatosh studied with artists from John Hopkins University - Peabody Institute, Hacettepe University, Royal Academy of Music, Université Paris Sorbonne - Paris IV, and the Royal College of Music.
In 2014, Fatosh founded the band Turkoise in Washington, DC, performing a mix of contemporary and traditional Turkish music. She has also taught flute, violin and chorus at a private primary school in Virgina and Dr. Fazil Kucuk Turkish School in London.
Today, Fatosh teaches music at her private studio, and lives with her husband, baby boy, and their maltese Kopuk in their Berkeley home.
Sema Altan brings to our school over 30 years of diverse education experience. After retiring as a math teacher in Izmir, Turkey, Sema continues to spend her time volunteering at the Izmir Ataturk Community Library teaching mathematics for the blind and visually impaired. Along side of being a passionate educator, she is an active environmental community organizer and is the founder of one of the first community gardens in Izmir, Balcova Ekoljik Komsu Bahcesi.
Sema’s passion for mathematics, environmental justice and experience as a professional floral designer will be the inspiration behind her teachings at BTS for the Fall 2017 semester.
She is a mother of two children, and grandmother to three girls.
Hande started her career in 2009 as the Teacher of Turkish Language and Literature in a high school in Turkey. She was teaching high school students aged between 14 and 17, developing and evaluating examinations and participating in the material development and testing sessions. After two years, in 2011, she started working as an Instructor of Turkish Language (Turkish for Foreigners) in Istanbul University. In this position, she was teaching the Turkish to exchange students from all over the world including Erasmus Program, co-authoring and proofreading the textbook Istanbul, supervising city tours aimed at introducing and orientating students to Istanbul as well as to Turkish culture. In 2013, she started working in Zonguldak Bulent Ecevit University; and taught Turkish Language and Literature to undergraduate students both in-class and online. She also has experience teaching the Turkish to exchange students.
Hande holds a Master’s degree in Teaching Turkish Language and Literature from Istanbul University. Also, she holds a Bachelor’s degree in Turkish Language and Literature from the same university. Currently, she is a candidate for a Ph.D. degree in Turkish Language and Literature.
Hande is a Turkish expert with several books and publications. She has more than six years of experience in teaching, material development, testing, publishing in Turkish. Having the experience of working in schools at different levels, she has the know-how regarding how to educate and how to test any level of students.
Taliha was born in Istanbul and grew up in Bursa. She studied at Bogazici University where she obtained a BS in Molecular Biology & Genetics and a MS in Biomedical Engineering.
She moved to Puerto Rico in 2011. Taliha completed her Ph.D. degree at the Universidad Central del Caribe in 2015 where her doctoral dissertation was awarded summa cum laude. As an expert in electron microscopy, she developed and implemented innovative approaches to brain sectioning. She identified an optimal solution to serial-sectioning by finding the narrowest possible way to trim. As a result, lab scientists have implemented her new technique in their research. This proved to be the most accurate, cost efficient and expeditious way to reconstruct 3D models.
Taliha has passion for education. She believes in the growth mindset approach as a teaching strategy where students focus on improvement instead of worrying about how smart they are. With effort, it is true that anything can be achieved. Focusing on the process rather than the result helps students to grow and evolve. They work harder to learn more. As a result, they become more intelligent through the increase of synaptic connections in their brains.
Taliha is committed to improving scientific education at all levels. She is enjoying her role as volunteer Science Teacher at the Berkeley Turkish School. She is proud to be part of this effort to preserve the rich traditions of Turkish culture and language. Currently, she is seeking her next career step in Biological Sciences.
Doctorate student of USF, School of Education.
Didem has just finished her master program in TESOL and worked as a graduate assistant in the Center for International Education at Salem State University. Her undergraduate degree is on Foreign Language Education, Middle East Technical University, Ankara. Before coming to the US, she taught English to young learners in different parts of Turkey for 9 years. She serves as international coordinator of Pax Populi, a non-profit organization which aims to teach English to Afghan students in online environment.
Didem was the volunteer teacher for Group 2 during Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters.
Ayşegül Gökmener Ateş has finished Early Education program at Marmara Univeristy in Istanbul. She pursued education with a master's degree from yeditepe University on Educational Leadership and Management and Human Resources at HKU. Her dissertation is on transcript analysis.
While working as a teacher at the Ministry of Education for over 10 years, she coordinated projects such as "Istanbul Dersi", "Istanbul Avrupa Kultur Baskenti", "Egitime Yolculu", "Lise denkligi" in Istanbul.
Aysegul also has a three-year leadership experience as a school principle. She took active roles in the foundation of Tarabya British School besides coordinating many social responsibility projects in Istanbul.
Aysegul believes that the bliss of learning from and with the children is one of the assets of being a teacher. She is currently on maternity leave.
Sibel was born and raised in Istanbul. She studied at Istanbul Technical University, and obtained her BS degree in Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering. Since then she has been learning and teaching. Starting at 9th grade she tutored other students in mathematics and physics. She extended her teaching and understanding of children's behavioral and intellectual development through her personal experience with her own son who is 25 years old now.
Sibel worked for national and international companies for years. When her family moved to England for a year due to a job assignment she studied fashion design. She worked as a substitute teacher in the K-12 system in Illinois for nearly three-years, mostly in the “Special Education” department with mentally disabled children . She developed great interest in the methods that have been designed for these children. Applied teaching techniques and their concrete results challenged her to move forward into early childhood education. When she moved to California, she obtained her internationally recognized Montessori Teacher diploma in Mountain View in 2011 and worked for pre-schools in different positions such as Site Director and Lead Teacher.
Since Sibel is a silversmith and self-taught enamellist, she is very much involved in fact based art activities as well. She has taught arts classroom as a part of enrichment program for different age groups and helped the children how to see objects, how to blend colors, and encouraged them to expand their creativity and small motor skills.
She has also established and maintained Kindergarten programs in different schools including expanded Montessori jobs, social programs, cooking classes, and advanced reading program. Sibel enjoys sharing her perspective about Montessori early childhood education, revolving around her passion and experience.
Sibel taught Fall 2015 Semester as the group 3 teacher, Spring 2017 Semester as the group 4 teacher.
Preschool Teacher in training
Ezgi holds a bachelor of International Relations Degree from Gazi University in Ankara. After completing her post-graduate international trade studies, she came to the US as an au pair to advance her English Studies. This life turning event made her realize her passion and talent for working with children. She started taking early child education classes at the community college and is about to complete her first year of studies. Some of the classes she has completed are Child development, Principals and practices of Early childhood education, Child, Family and Community, Introduction to Special Needs Young Children, Health, Safety for Young Children, Diversity in ECE, Introduction to Curriculum in ECE. Ezgi has over 50 hours of observation hours, and she has been working for the past two years with children aged 0-8 years old. Her goal is to complete her studies to become a child psychologist. Ezgi is not teaching this semester and we thank her for her many years at BTS.
VOLUNTEER TEACHER AIDES
We are grateful to our volunteer teacher aids who assist our teachers in and out of the classroom.