Diana is originally from Bulgaria, where her interest in business management started already in high school. She earned a BA in Social Activities (2004), an MA in International Management (2015), and a verified certificate of achievement from MITx in "Business and Impact Planning for Social Enterprises" (2020). Her work experience includes project development and operations management. Diana moved with her family to Eindhoven in 2015, where she has been involved in numerous social initiatives having to do with integration, social cohesion, and support for multilingualism. Her role as chair of the board includes overseeing activities as well as managing the International Children's Book Collection project in partnership with Eindhoven Library.
Geert has a BA in Education from KHLim (Belgium) and a MA in International Management from the University of Liverpool. He has work experience as an expert consultant on local integration policy and as both, teacher and manager, in international education and in heritage language programs (in Nigeria and in the Middle East). Recently he was the founding head of SALTO International School in Eindhoven (NL) and he is currently the Director-CEO of the Proominent Foundation, a group of 11 schools in Ede (NL).
Philippe has been active for more than ten years in the non-profit sector. He uses his technical knowledge to assist with accounting, and he also helps with organizing events and trainings, and securing funding and grants. He is a member of the board of several associations all having a close relationship either with the French language or multilingualism, namely, Francofilous (French HL program for French-speaking primary school students), l’Entente des Associations Francophones aux Pays-Bas, and Be-Rise.
Gisi is from New Orleans, Louisiana, in the U.S. and speaks English as her mother tongue. She holds a Bachelor's degree in German Studies from Loyola University (2004, New Orleans), an Erasmus Mundus European Master's degree in Theoretical Clinical Linguistics (2007, Groningen, Joensuu, and Potsdam), and a PhD degree in Child Language Acquisition (2012, Groningen). She worked for six years in Eindhoven as an educational consultant helping multilingual, internationally mobile families with children. In 2018 she initiated two projects: one to organize Italian lessons for Italian-speaking children and one to organize a network of heritage language programs in Eindhoven. As a part of these projects, she has helped add 500 Italian children’s books to the Eindhoven Library. Together with her Italian husband, Gisi is raising trilingual children (English, Italian, and Dutch).
An Advisory Council is an external sounding board that gives non-binding advice to the Board and Managing Director of HLE Network. The Advisory Council is composed of internationally recognized experts in the fields of heritage language education, multilingualism, and non-profit governance. Members of the Advisory Council have no financial interest in the success of HLE Network and are not compensated by HLE Network.
Joy Kreeft Peyton
Joy Kreeft Peyton, PhD, is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Applied Linguistics (CAL) and President of the Coalition of Community-Based Heritage Language Schools. She has over 35 years of experience working in the field of languages, linguistics, and culture in education. She has been working on issues of heritage language and mother tongue education for many years. She was a founding member of the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages, hosted at CAL. She is co-editor of Heritage Languages in America: Preserving a National Resource and Handbook of Heritage, Community, and Native American Languages in the United States: Research, Educational Practice, and Policy. She has worked in Ethiopia, Nepal, and The Gambia (on projects funded by USAID and the World Bank) to develop educational materials, including leveled readers, in children’s mother tongues, for individual and group reading. She is a Senior Advisor for the EU-SPEAK project (Newcastle University), whose mission is to enhance the knowledge and skills of teachers of adult immigrants who have limited education and literacy in their native language (LESLLA adults).
Dr. Ellen-Rose Kambel is founder and director of the Rutu Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Amsterdam that promotes intercultural multilingual education. The Language Friendly School is a school label and global network founded by the Rutu Foundation that unites schools who welcome and value all the languages spoken by their students. Dr. Kambel is a human rights lawyer and an experienced trainer, public speaker and author of several articles and books on human rights, education and multilingualism. Her latest book, co-edited with Prof. Orhan Agirdag, Multilingualism and Education: Dutch Plus was voted second best educational book of the Netherlands in 2018. Dr. Kambel most recently joined the Supervisory Board of the National Museum of World Cultures in the Netherlands.
Ken Cruickshank is Professor of Education and Languages at Sydney University Australia. He was a teacher for many years and then was a teacher educator, training teachers of English. He has worked with community languages schools (i.e., heritage language schools) for over 30 years. As a member of the Community Languages schools Board he lobbied for recognition and funding for the schools. In 2017 he established the Sydney Institute for Community Languages Education (SICLE) which conducts research and provides professional learning and resources for community languages schools.
Frederike Groothoff, PhD, is an expert on multilingualism. After years of teaching newly arrived migrant children she changed her activities to teaching teachers and advising pedagogical and educational organizations on the subject of multilingualism. After teacher college Frederike was a primary school teacher in Aruba and upon her return she studied language and culture studies in Utrecht and did a research master Language and Communication.in Nijmegen. From 2014 until 2020 she carried out a PhD project about the Dutch language development of newly arrived migrant kindergarteners. Nowadays besides working for Utrecht University, she gives taks throughout the Netherlands with her own compagny LangWhich in which she encourages educational professionals to incorporate home languages into daily school practice. She also encourages teachers to advise parents to keep talking in their home languages and to stimulate children to attend heritage language programs.
Frederike supports HLE Network since she sees it as a great opportunity for HL teachers to gather and share knowledge with each other. Her wish for HLE Network is that their organization will be used not only by HL teachers and parents, but that they will also reach and inspire mainstream school teachers to cherish heritage languages as well.