School Board 2017/2018

Ferdinand Spannan


Nationality: German

Born 1976 in Germany, he graduated from high schools in the US and Germany, then did a civil service year at the Goethe Institut Rothenburg before earning academic degrees B.Sc. Industrial Engineering (Hamburg University) and Master of Business Administration (Manchester Business School). His wife is Japanese and they have 3 children enrolled at the school. Ferdinand lives in Japan since 2005 and is managing the local branch of a German refrigeration and air conditioning company.

Tala Fabic Noel

Vice Chairman

Nationality: Filipino

Born in 1977 in the Philippines, Tala graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering (University of the Philippines).  After working briefly in Australia, Indonesia and Philippines, Tala moved to Japan in 2000. She is married and has 3 children – 2 of whom have studied at the school (David for 8 years and Ysa for 7 years) and Anika who is currently enrolled at the school. Tala is an operations manager at the research & development division of a multinational FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) company.

Christoph Pantel


Nationality: German

My name is Christoph Pantel. I am a German national, was born 1978 in Berlin, am married to a Chinese lady and have a seven year old daughter and a ten year old son. I hold two commercial degrees, one from Italy and one MBA from Australia. My work experience ranges from business development and marketing, supply chain management, financial controlling to SAP/IT project management. I lived almost 15 years outside of Germany, most of the time in China, Italy, USA, Malaysia and now Japan. I am strongly motivated by complex challenges and love to engage with people. As hobbies I like to bicycle, read books, make and listen to music and socialize with people.

Nicolas Brabeck

Vice Treasurer

Nationality: German

Nicolas was born in 1976 in Germany and graduated from high school in Germany before earning an academic engineering degree (Dipl. Ing.) in aeronautics at the University of Applied Science, Hamburg. His wife is from Venezuela and they have 2 children enrolled at DESK (Gr. 2 and 4). He has been living in Japan since October 2016 leading the Japanese aftersales service division of a German company. Nicolas speaks four languages and has lived in Germany, the US, Indonesia and China and his children went to the German school in Shanghai, China, before coming to Japan.

Jan Wolfstieg


Nationality: German

Jan Wolfstieg is German citizen and long term resident of Kobe. He is employed at a Japanese engineering firm where he manages technical documentation and is in charge of the company’s ASME certification. Jan has previously worked at DESK and saw the first 5 years of the ES. He came back to the school in 2014 for sending his elder child to school. Jan’s hobbies are family and sea-kayaking. As a board member Jan’s concern is improved continuity and consistency of board decisions and policies through efficient internal documention, as well as the continued highly professional and dedicated work of the school’s staff for the good of the children.

Jim Mansfield

Vice Secretary

Nationality: American

Born in 1966 in the United States, he began his honorable service as a member of the 9th Engineers support Battalion, commissioned with the USMC United States Marine Corps at Quantico Virginia. And with the Leadership skills that he developed and learned during his time in the military he continued his education earning a Master of Education in Teaching English as a Second Language. He is married and has two children, his daughter Priscilla is currently at the school. Jim is the Education Director of LTA Publishing Network which produces and supplies ESL related testbooks to the University COOPs in the Kansai area. He also Lectures at KCUFS University in Kobe and he enjoys being a volunteer in his daughters Girl Scout Troop, also he helps with activities at his local church group.

Olivier Tillier

Other Board Members

Nationality: French

He is 43 years old, a French citizen living in Kobe since 4 years with his family, his wife and 2 children being at DESK.

‎He holds a degree in Engineering and works for Airbus Helicopters as Managing Director for Japan and Head of Operations for North Asia.

Frank Pitzner


Frank Pitzner, the Principal / Schulleiter of the DESK International School Kobe

Nationality: German

Frank holds the German State teaching qualification (First and Second "Staatsexamen" = Masters equivalent) as well as a Post Graduate Masters in School Management. He has been a teacher for over 20 years (grade 1 to grade 10) and has worked as an administrator since 2000. He started his career abroad as the Nursery and Primary School Principal at the German International School of The Hague. After almost 8 years there he went back to Germany to become the Primary Principal of Cologne International School (World IB School), a school with a bilingual approach. He stayed there for 6 years. He is married and has two sons.