Barbara Ecker - President

I am mom to two boys - one a recent graduate of Die Rasselbande and another who will start his adventures here in 2020. I am a former family law attorney and am currently spending most of my time taking care of our two children. In my limited spare time, I enjoy cooking, knitting and all manner of crafts. My husband is from Austria, so we are a German-English dual language household. We both feel truly fortunate to have found such a wonderful preschool here in San Diego and our lives have been enriched by being a part of the “Rasselbande Familie”. From the excellent teachers, to the outstanding curriculum and supportive parents, the community I have experienced at Die Rasselbande is unlike any other. I am pleased to serve on the board doing my utmost to keep Die Rasselbande a great place to play and learn for our children.


Leila Oberdorfer - Vice President

My German husband and I moved to San Diego in 2010 and were delighted to discover that we had this amazing German preschool in our backyard! We have been so impressed with the teachers and staff at this school and have had a great experience with our 6 year old alumni and now with our 2 year old twins who are part of the Maus Gruppe. My background is interior design and I run a small event/wedding planning business. It is an honor to be a part of this school!




Anke Reineke - Secretary


Both of my children graduated from the Rasselbande, and I like to stay involved to build on the strong foundations that the school has been providing to our community.  I believe in the Rasselbande play based learning approach in which each child experiences rich learning opportunities for a healthy development. I grew up in Muenster, Germany, moved to the US to study and graduated with a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. In the past 15 years I have been working at Rady Children’s Hospital supporting the children and their families.  My goal is to continue to help shape the future of the Rasselbande to give the children the best possible learning experiences that will help them develop and get ready not only for kindergarten but for life.

Dimitri Bialk - Treasurer


Hello, I am Dimitri, the father of Roman who is in the Affengruppe. I was raised here in San Diego and graduated from Saint Augustine High School. I studied Child Development & Studio Arts at Cal State Dominguez Hills in Los Angeles for three years. After taking some time off, I went back to school and earned a BA in Advertising Design and worked in the industry for bit. For the past twenty years, I’ve been working for myself remodeling and fixing up homes. On my days off, I enjoy spending time with my wife Mathilda and our son Roman. I also enjoy surfing, swimming, camping and restoring our 1971 VW Westfalia Bus. My family and I are ecstatic to watch Roman blossom at Rasselbande; thanks to the staff, teachers, parents and all the children



  Sarah Thomas


Sarah Thomas is originally from the D.C. suburbs and has lived all over the world.  She chose Die Rasselbande for her children because of its great reputation and her strong belief in and love of learning languages.  She is fluent in Spanish and Turkish and gets around in many other languages. 

Sarah and her husband, Todd, moved back to San Diego from South Korea in March. They have two children, ages 2 and 4. She is also a Court-appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children and works with abused and neglected children to make sure they do not get lost in the overburdened social service system. In her spare time, Sarah loves yoga, eating and drinking, reading, and travelling.

Professionally, she is a naval officer and works in Coronado.  When she retires from the U.S. Navy in 2020, she will return to school to earn a Master’s of Social Work and become a therapist. She is excited about the opportunity to become more involved in the decisions affecting our kids’ education.

 Tom Darlington

Die Rasselbande has been a wonderful place for our daughters thanks to the fantastic staff and the volunteer efforts from the rest of the community. I have seen how the play-based approach to early education allows children to flourish as they follow their own interests while developing the critical interpersonal skills which are the foundation for healthy relationships long into the future. I am a scientist by training and have experience managing many aspects of small businesses in the local biotech community as well as nonprofit organizations. I am happy to be part of such a wonderful family. I am honored to be part of the Rasselbande Board.



Lara Besser 

Lara grew up in the La Mesa area and has lived in San Diego most of her life. She received her bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and her Juris Doctorate from California Western School of Law and has been a practicing law since 2012. Lara specializes in representing California employers in defense of class, representative and collective actions, as well as individual employment litigation. She also assists California employers in complying with California labor laws. Lara and her husband, Hendrik, have a two year old son who attends Rasselbande Preschool, and a new born baby girl. In their free time the Besser’s enjoy visiting family in Germany, traveling, hiking and camping. Lara was elected to Rasselbande’s Board of Directors in October 2019. She looks forward to serving the school, meeting and working with the parents, and contributing to advance the goals of the school.

Andrea Ibanez

Andrea grew up in Coronado since the age of 6 - she came from Mexico City with her younger siblings and parents.  After her parents divorce she had a strong desire to be speak German.  She attended Die Heimschule Kloster Wald, as an intern, in Wald, Germany at 17.  She immersed herself somewhat seamlessly  with not speaking any German,  just hearing it for 7 years- She recalls this experience as the best year of her life.  She graduated from High School with AP German (USDHS- now CCHS) and President of the German Club. She worked in marketing and event planning, while finishing college with an IBA and minor in Psychology (AIU).                 

When she is not in full Mom-mode,  she is working behind the scenes on their  family-owned- local business, The GreenHouse Group -  helping first-time home buyers and sellers as Real Estate Consultants, in-house Mortgage planning, and other home needs-  all the while with an uber-green lifestyle-focus . She is licensed as a REALTOR, Transaction Coordinator, Agent Buyer Representative, and Negotiations Expert.                 

Learning and helping others  transform their homes into toxic-free-living from the dirt to the gut, is her passion project. She does this through learning and teaching sustainable farming practices,  beekeeping, gardening, home cleaning, and personal care products, powered with essential oils. 

Her and her family  live in Alpine- the East countryside of San Diego with their Doberman and Five Hens.

Vera Philipsen - coming soon 

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6747 Amherst St. San Diego, CA 92115

© 2014 Die Rasselbande Preschool