Teachers and employees
Else Mathiassen is the headmistress of Vestjyllands Højskole. She is our representative in the local environment and our voice in the society, where she expresses the schools and her own opinions in blogs, articles and by joining debates and discussions. She is a former member of the motherboard of the Danish Folk high school association (FFD).
This is one side of her job as headmistress. The other side, as she expresses, is to create a folk high school, where the employees can develop themselves for the benefit of the students. The third side, which is the most visible in our daily life, is her vision about our school in West Jutland: A school weighting the following values equally: social, ethics and professional. Briefly, these are all the ingredients for a good stay at a folk high school.
Since she was 14 years old, she has been travelling a lot with theater and dance. It has brought her to Africa and to Chile with the Mapuche-indians. Dance, theater and travel were connected and it brought her to Tokak Theater in Fjaltring in 1981, and later to the international ensemble Cantabile. Later the dance brought her to the Arabian world, Cuba and South America.
She has been teaching at the university in Odense, the teacher college and at Vestjyllands Højskole, before she became headmistress in 2002. Beside of her passion of dance and theater she also likes storytelling. She mixes storytelling with her great insight of the different cultures and knowledge about life. Very often, it will be presented with dance, music and theater.
In 2005, she received the “Cultural prize” for her cultural work in West Jutland. In 2011, she was elected to the board of Ringkøbing Fjord Theater.
All our teachers are active artists within their subjects and passion. We offer a high level of teaching and our teachers are well known within their subject in Denmark. More of them have been awarded and won prizes. Most of the teachers live nearby and use the school outside working hours. This gives a relaxed and familiar environment.
Michael Kirkegaard, Dance
Michael Kirkegaard is vice headmaster and a dancer. He teaches world dance. He finished his teacher education from ”Den frie lærerhøjskole” (a special teachers college for teachers in the folk high schools and boarding schools) in 2004. He has been teaching at Vestjyllands Højskole since and is since 2008 our vice headmaster. Furthermore, he is a board member of the dance committee at the National Danish Association for Gymnastics and Sport (DGI).
Michael is fascinated by the dance and all what it represents. He says, “Most of the dance movements have their roots in Africa. The roots go deep and far back in time. In the meeting with other cultures the dance movements have been developed and are continuously developing.”
Rituals and religion are still playing a huge part of the original dance styles, and many stories is told via dance, stories with connection to the daily life. The dance has developed differently in the different cultures and countries, but there are a lot of commonalities, also to the dance styles we know in the western cultures. We will work and discover these commonalities and use them to create new dances.
Michael has a set of rules for his teaching:
1. Our fascination of dance is our motivation
2. The music is our inspiration
3. Happiness and aggression are our common driving force
4. To dance is a way to be yourself in a community
5. To dance is to be present
Justine De Valicourt, Cooking and pastry classes, funny science
Justine is a Canadian master cook. She has a science education combined with the cooking and gastronomy from the Institut de Tourisme et d’Hôtellerie du Québec. A scholarship led her to Europe, where she has been working at El Bulli in Spain, Falsled Kro and Nordic Foodlab created by Norma. She is teaching in the cooking class, where she’s is passing on her passion for gastronomy.
Jens Bredholt, Painting and Tango
Jens is teaching in painting – and spends most of his time in the studio. He dances tango with Else, and is teaching the students in this passionate form of dance once a week.
Kristian Skov, Music and Singer
Kristian is music teacher and teaches singers – you can always hear him singing somewhere in the school!
Kirstine Kyhl Andersen, Dancer and Choreographer
Kirstine is a dancer and teaches ballet and contemporary dance. She is educated modern dancer and choreographer from the School For New Dance Development in Amsterdam. She has been working as a professional dancer since 2004 and is a board member in The Free Choreographers and The Organization for Stage Dance in Denmark.
Rebecca Kaagh Nordbo, Ecology and sustainability
Rebecca teaches permaculture, entrepreneurship and a sustainable life style. She is an educated chaos pilot and a master of managing project and creating green change.
Andreas Steinicke, Theater
Andreas is teaching in theater and philosophy. He brings you on stage!
Daniel Dalgaard, Writer
Is a writer and is teaching the writers class. He is educated from Forfatterskolen in Copenhagen and has a bachelor in Danish and literature. His first book was published in 2013.
Marianne Toft, Ceramics
Marianne is teaching in ceramics. She has her own ceramics workshop in Fanø.
Birtha Toft, Garden use
Birtha is project manager on the Garden of Wonder and is teaching in the subject Garden use.
Kristoffer Brun Gram, Outdoors and bushcrafting
Kristoffer teaches outdoor life and the art of bushcrafting. The ancient craft of sustaining and enjoying life in the wilderness. He has a master’s degree in political Science and is a former sergeant in the Danish Military.
Tage Jepsen, Carpentry and wood design
Tage is teaching in carpentry and wood design – a subject where you are combining the outdoor life with practical and creative work with your hands.
Tage is educated Carpentry teacher and has many years of experience creating wonders of wood.
We are always looking for inspiration, and oftentimes we invite guest teachers to our main subjects.
In the office you will meet:
In the kitchen you will meet:
Inger Liin Knudsen and Kirsten Bjerge, leaders of the kitchen
Henriette Liin Knudsen, cooking artist
Caretaker and cleaning
Our caretaker is Erik Kjeldgaard Hansen.
Cleaning is taken care of by the students in winter under supervision of a teacher in charge.
In summer we have a “Cleaning staff”