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Officers & Trustees

President of the Teutonic Council of Savannah -

Peter D. Mueller

Peter D Muller
  • Current President of German Heritage Society of Savannah

  • German ancestors immigrated to Savannah in the 1800s

  • Practices law in Savannah

  • Educated at the University of Georgia and the U.S. Naval Academy

  • Past President of Hibernian Society of Savannah

  • Past President of Georgia Defense Lawyers Assoc.

  • Board member of Skidaway Island Republican Club

  • Member of Rotary Club of Savannah South

  • He and his wife, Lisa, have 3 grown children

Vice President of the Teutonic Council of Savannah-

James N. Anderson

James Anderson Ph.D
  • James (Jim) Anderson, Ph.D.

  • Vice president and a charter member of the Teutonic Council

  • As chair of Greater Savannah International Alliance for the City of Savannah, led the efforts, along with the local German American societies, to organize the Teutonic Council

  • Served also as secretary and as chair of cultural/events committee

  • Coordinator of annual teacher exchange among Halle Catholic High School and Effingham and Chatham County schools

  • Emeritus professor of music at the former Armstrong State University, and chaired the department of art, music, and theater for 15 years. 

  • A former assistant to the vice president for international education at Armstrong for 15 years

  • Established teacher and student exchange between Martin Luther University (Halle, Germany), Otto von Guericke University (Magdeburg, Germany) and Armstrong State University

  • Assisted with development of the partner city relationship between Halle and Savannah

Secretary/Treasurer -  

Former President of the Teutonic Council of Savannah -

Dieter K. Gunkel

Dieter Gunkel
  • Past president and a charter member of the Teutonic Council

  • Born 1941 in Goettingen, Germany

  • Grew up in a small German town

  • Completed medical school in Germany, with a research doctorate in pediatrics

  • Postgraduate training in internal medicine and cardiology at Medical College of Georgia

  • Practiced general and interventional cardiology in Savanah from 1975-2014

  • Elected president of the Teutonic Council, TC, at inception in 2014

  • Helped incorporate TC, obtaining as 501(c)3 designation

  • Dual American-German citizenship

  • Regular visitor to Germany and Austria

Trustee -

Trustee -

Edwin (Pete) Mottweiler Hodges, Jr.

Ediwn (Pete) Mottweiier Hodges, Jr.
  • Retired U.S. Army officer and Vietnam Veteran

  • Global Field Office Support manager for Lockheed Martin, with 40 corporate field offices worldwide

  • BA from Georgia Southern; M. Ed. from Boston University 

  • TC trustee for 2 years

  • active with German American Day celebration

  • life member of Georgia Salzburger Society

  • past chair of Greater Savannah International Alliance

Trustee -

Mindy Shea

Mindy Shea
  • As TC trustee, involved with German American Day celebrations

  • Director for 14 years of Tour, Travel and International Sales for Visit Savannah, the tourism division Savannah Chamber of Commerce

  • Concentrated on promoting Savannah with German travelers

  • Helped foster partnership between the city of Savannah and Halle, Germany

Trustee -

Leo G. Beckmann

Leo G. Beckman
  • Manager of governmental affairs for the Georgia Ports Authority since 2003

  • Former legislative assistant to congressman Jack Kingston, working to secure funding for Savannah’s and Brunswick’s harbor deepening

  • An alumnus of Wake Forest University

  • Member of Metro Savannah Rotary Club

  • Graduate of Leadership Savannah

  • Served as chair of Leadership Southeast Georgia and Effingham College and Career Academy and vice president of Propeller Cub of Savannah

  • Board member of Employability and of YMCA of Coastal Georgia

Trustee -

Anne Groover Miller

Anne Groover Miller
  • Retired educator after 38 years in Bryan and Chatham County school systems, 3rd-time president of the Bryan-Evans Retired Educators Association, former Area Six Director for GREA

  • Worked with T.C. since its founding

  • Helped established the Exchange Teachers Program with Claudia Christiansen and Jim Anderson, formulating guidelines for teachers exchange between German schools and Chatham/Effingham schools, following up with participants

  • The administrator of the TC Facebook page and assistant administrator of the TC webpage

  • Helped with German American Day celebrations 

  • Board member of the Georgia Salzburger Society, publisher of GSS Newsletter, administrator of GSS Facebook page and Go Visit Ebenezer website, member of Visit Ebenezer tourism and office committee for GSS

Trustee -
Leiston T. Shuman, Jr.

Leiston T. Schuman, Jr.
  • Member of the Teutonic Council Board of Trustees since 2018 representing the German Friendly Society of Savannah. Currently serves on the Fundraising Committee and participated in German American Day celebrations.

  • Life Member, Past President, and Past Secretary of the German Friendly Society of Savannah.

  • Emeritus Member and Past Board Member of the German Heritage Society.

  • Life Member and Current Board Member of the Georgia Salzburger Society.

  • Descendent of immigrant Martin Henry Schumann, who was born in Niedersachsen, Germany, and later became part of the Salzburger settlement at Ebenezer, Ga. A descendant of John Daniel Harms and Anna Elizabeth Lunsmann Harms, who emigrated from Hannover, Germany.

  • Graduate of the UGA Terry School of Business.

  • Retired from The Prudential Insurance Company with 25 years of service.  Active now as an insurance broker representing several companies.

  • Member and Past President of the Augusta Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

Trustee -

Claudia Christiansen

Claudia Christiansen
  • Founding member of the TC involved with organizing and maintaining educational connections with Halle through teacher exchange programs works with the TC cultural and events committee and with German American Day celebrations 

  • 35 years an educator in Chatham and Bryan counties in elementary grades, multicultural education, art ed., leadership, technology administration

  • Taught in private and public schools, cultural art programs for the city of Savannah, and for a private art gallery

  • Life Member of the Georgia Salzburger Society and active GSS board member since 2008

  • Presently President of GSS and chairs committees focusing on tourism, German heritage, crafts, genealogy, and German/Salzburger contributions and contributions and accomplishments in America since 1734

  • Celebrates her German heritage by researching her lineage that dates to before the Salzburger expulsion to Georgia

  • Studied the German language for 4 semesters

  • Member of local, state, and national education, cultural and historic organizations such as Georgia, Effingham, and Richmond Hill historical societies, CMA, Arts on the Coast, Georgia Retired Educators Assoc, CREA, BREA, Phi Delta Kappa

Trustee -
Joachim Otto Michels

Joachim Otto Michels
  • A native of Lübeck, Germany

  • Retired director of northern German secondary school

  • Taught German 7 years at Savannah Country Day

  • A former staff member in the international office of former Armstrong State University

  • A charter member of TC, past treasurer, and current member of cultural/events committee *participant in fund-raising for TC

  • Instrumental in organizing and executing German American Day celebrations

Trustee -

Diane Rodriguez 

Diane Rodriquez
  • Born in Aachen, Germany, and grew up in a small town near Stuttgart 

  • Moved to the U.S. in 1998

  • Returned to Germany when the husband was stationed there for 5 years

  • Moved to Richmond Hill in 2007

  • Volunteered in military organizations and worked in the civilian personnel office

  • Works as a realtor since 2013

  • Dual American-German citizenship

  • Father's family from Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Stuttgart area; mother's family from North Rhine    

  • Westphalia, Osnabrück area

Trustee -

John Dekle, M.D.

John Dekle, M.D.
  • Retired obstetrician-gynecologist

  • A charter member of TC involved with Savannah Philharmonic event featuring German vocalists

  • Member of TC cultural/events committee 

  • Participant in planning and execution of German American Day celebrations

  • Member of German Heritage Society and past chaplain, vice president, president-elect, and president

  • “Double German” background, as Dekle or Deckla of Hamburg and Harnesberger of Alsace Lorraine

  • After retirement served 11 years as a volunteer gynecologist for Community Health Mission and served with Step Up Savannah

Trustee -   James L. "Jim" Clanton  (1938-2023) 

James Clanton
  • Retired from Riverside Mfg. Co., vice president of leasing and rentals division

  • Three years at a Trustee with the Teutonic Council of Savannah

  • German Friendly Society member and current vice president

  • Salzburg Society of Georgia member

  • Member of the Clinton Lodge #54 F&AM for 49 years

  • German Heritage thru mother (Shuman & Schuman both spellings in Family Bible, changed to Shuman during WW1)

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