We are proud to have a team of experienced educators from around the world to form our faculty at ISAK. Selected from among hundreds of applicants for their understanding of and enthusiasm for ISAK’s innovative program, these faculty members not only possess a high level of expertise in their respective fields, but are inspiring guides in the classroom, demonstrate excellent personal character, and thrive on day-to-day interaction with curious, energetic students.
In addition to our world-class faculty, ISAK is pleased to have a team of multilingual, talented and internationally-savvy staff who cover a wide variety of roles and responsibilities at the school. The breadth and depth of our staff’s accomplishments mirror ISAK’s commitment to diversity and service. Many of our staff have been with ISAK since long before its opening, and feel a strong personal stake in the school’s success.
Head of School
Mr. Jemison was appointed founding Head of School from his position as Director of the Upper School at La Jolla Country Day School, a private school north of San Diego, California. During his eight-year tenure, he successfully led in all areas of the high school’s operations including educational program reform, fundraising, finance, preparing for college and marketing. A native of Nashville, TN (USA), Mr. Jemison first came to Japan in 1992 as a member of the Japanese Exchange Teaching Program where he served as an assistant language teacher at Kurikoma Junior High School in Miyagi-ken.
Assistant Head of School
Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Ms. Murabayashi comes to ISAK from San Diego, where she was the Upper School Academic Dean and History Department Chair at La Jolla Country Day School. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Brown University, a Master’s degree in City Planning from UCLA and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Columbia University. Ms. Murabayashi is of Japanese and Korean heritage.
Science, Science Department Chair
Dr. Elizabeth Ayre has shared her enthusiasm for the sciences and critical thinking with students in Hong Kong, India, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Canada and Japan. She enjoys the challenge of developing lifelong learners with strong creative and inquiry skills. Her professional experience includes research, scientific writing and nutritional counseling. She is also involved with paper editing and curriculum development for the IBO. A mother and grandmother, Elizabeth enjoys spending time cooking around a campfire with her family, reading, and playing Scrabble.
Dr. Bigler brings twenty years of experience as a secondary and university educator to bear on her college counseling practice. Prior to joining ISAK, she spent five years as a college counselor in Taiwan. Dr. Bigler emphasizes the importance of individual students taking ownership of their college search, and focuses on helping them find universities that are a good fit academically, socially and financially. Dr. Bigler holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Geography. Having grown up in small mountain community in Colorado, USA, she is excited about living in Karuizawa, and enthusiastic about helping ISAK students reach their post-graduation educational goals.
Ms. Bolger started teaching Japanese language and culture as a fellow teacher at a public school in Ontario, Canada. After graduating from university, she taught Japanese at University of Durham, U.K. for 6 years. Also interested in Computer Science, she then worked in the software industry in the U.K. and Japan. Ms Bolger earned a B.A. in Japanese Language and Culture from the University of Tsukuba as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science from the University of Essex.
Alex joins ISAK this year with much excitement and curiosity. Born and raised in New York, Alex graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Product Design and also has previously studied and worked in Japan. Although her background is mainly in bringing physical products from idea to reality, she is drawn to cross-cultural change, especially in education. Alex comes to ISAK as a fellow through VIA, an organization built on inspiring change makers and meaningful cross-cultural connections across Asia.
Mathematics, Mathematics Department Chair
Ms. Buitrago attended university in Bogota, Colombia, where she obtained her degree in physics. She started teaching mathematics within the IB Diploma Programme in 2009 at the International School of Bogota, where she worked for four years before moving to Changchun, China in 2013. There she worked at Changchun American International School for two years before joining the ISAK community.
Chinese, IB Coordinator
Ms. Chien has a Master’s degree in International Education and a Bachelor’s degree in Chinese Literature. She has been teaching both Chinese A and Mandarin B in the IB Diploma Programme for 10 years. Ms. Chien was born in Taiwan and has lived in the UK for the last 15 years. Having taught in both Taiwan and UK, she truly enjoys working in an international environment, and believes that the cultural diversity helps enrich the whole learning process.
Lore was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She attended the Red Cross Nordic UWC and obtained a degree in International Studies with a concentration in European Studies and Political Science from Middlebury College. While at Middlebury, Lore also studied abroad both in Italy and Mexico. Most recently, Lore obtained a graduate certificate in LGBT Health, Policy & Practice from George Washington University. Lore is interested in working with vulnerable and marginalized communities, focusing on aspects of education and health. She loves reading, baking and playing rugby, and is passionate about issues surrounding gender and body positivity.
Mr. Fitzgerald taught at schools in the US, Turkey, Zambia and China before coming to Japan. He brings extensive knowledge of the IB curriculum, having taught DP English, Psychology and Theory of Knowledge. Mr. Fitzgerald earned both his Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Master’s degree in Education from Washington State University. During his university years, Mr. Fitzgerald served as a peer mentor in the university writing center, Editor in Chief of the university annual arts publication, and President of the University Student Council.
Information Science, Librarian
Before coming to ISAK, Mrs. Fitzgerald taught and served as Head Librarian in schools in Turkey, Zambia and China. She has a background in business, systems analysis, and process redesign, and many of the skills learned in business have helped Mrs. Fitzgerald to approach her teaching from a different perspective. She loves reading and is passionate about teaching students to be independent critical thinkers who are able to quickly find and evaluate information.
Spanish, ToK, World Language Department Chair
Since leaving her picturesque hometown of Málaga, Spain, Mrs. González has worked in the UK, Germany and Japan teaching Spanish to middle school, high school and university students with diverse international backgrounds. She has extensive experience in curriculum design and planning, having implemented new Spanish courses at her last two schools. Mrs. González holds a Law Degree from the University of Málaga; a Master’s Degree in Teaching Spanish as a Second Language from UNED University in Madrid; and a PGCE in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Málaga. Outside of school, she enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures, as well as designing jewelry when she finds the time.
Mr. Goodwin is a cartoonist-educator who has taught in Korea and China. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in History from Crandall University and his education degree from the University of New Brunswick. He most recently served as the MYP Individuals and Societies and TOK teacher at the Canadian International School of Beijing. Mr. Goodwin has garnered international recognition for his educational cartoons which have been featured in IB World Magazine. He has also presented at the IB Asia-Pacific Annual Conference on cartoons and education.
History, Social Studies
With almost twenty years of experience teaching the IB Programme in Curacao and Atlanta, Georgia (US) and thirty years of teaching experience in total, Mrs. Hasham brings considerable expertise and knowledge to ISAK. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at Vanderbilt University and a Master’s degree from Syracuse University. She most recently served as CAS Coordinator at Atlanta International School and has broad experience in international education, with her major focus on high school history courses. In 2011, Mrs. Hasham received a Teacher of the Year Award from ECIS, a global organization that promotes best practices in international education.
Ms. Hashimoto is a certified clinical psychologist and has been working at Japanese middle schools and universities as a school counselor for fifteen years. She has earned a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counselor Education in the U.S. and has been trained therapist in Process Work, which is an integrated and holistic approach made up of psychology, physics, sociology, and anthropology. Experiences in supporting students as a counselor as well as being supported as handicapped bring her the belief that we are here to interact so that we can make changes for the future and enrich our lives. She is very happy to be a member of ISAK community.
Arts, Fine Arts Department Chair
Mr. Hinton has taught in schools in Turkey, Italy, Brunei Darussalam, and the UK, where he was Head of Arts. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Art Education from Cambridge University and has been teaching in an international environment for nearly thirty years. He is a practicing artist, working in oils, watercolor and relief printing, as well as being a professional photographer. He loves the creative spirit the visual arts develops in students.
A committed home economics instructor with many years of experience, Ms. Ichikawa taught home economics to middle and high school students in several regions of Japan before joining ISAK as a home economics and design thinking instructor. Not only does Ms. Ichikawa aim to help students learn the fundamentals of home economics, she also wants them to build on what they have learned and put their skills to use in real life. Ms. Ichikawa’s hobbies include mountain climbing, skiing and knitting.
Mr. Iwata graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish in his native Japan before indulging his passion for traveling around Europe, subsequently settling in the UK. After studying at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London he soon became a teacher at SOAS, where he taught Japanese for over 13 years. Mr. Iwata completed his Master of Arts of Applied Linguistics from Durham University before embarking on teaching IB Japanese at an English grammar school and International Sixth Form at ab initio and language B levels, accumulating over 13 years of experience in the intellectually rigorous program.
Mr. Lachance brings 31 years of overseas teaching experience to ISAK. He has formerly taught in Trinidad, Turkey and Indonesia. A Canadian citizen, Mr. Lachance earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics from Carleton University and a Bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of Ottawa. Mr. Lachance is passionate about mathematics education and strives to enhance his students’ appreciation of the historical development of mathematical ideas and their applications. Mr. Lachance and his wife enjoy traveling and hiking.
Physics, Mathematics, IB Coordinator
Mr. Lacoste has been teaching physics and mathematics for the past 22 years in Egypt, Ecuador, Canada, Turkey, Hong Kong and now Japan. As an active workshop leader for IB workshops in both physics and mathematics as well as an IB examiner for HL Mathematics, Mr. Lacoste has been an active member in the international teaching community. He has earned his Bachelor’s degree in Physics at the University of Toronto and his Master’s degree in Mathematics at York University.
Mr. Masui was born and raised in Japan. After attending college, he moved to the United States and went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Japanese with an emphasis in language teaching from San Francisco State University. Mr. Masui taught Japanese language and culture at a secondary school (grades 6 through 12) in the San Francisco Area for thirteen years. He enjoys helping students develop a genuine interest and motivation for learning languages. He believes that learning languages is the key to becoming a citizen of the world and hopes to support students in becoming respectful and responsible global citizens. After living in the U.S. for 18 years, Mr. Masui and his dog, J.J., are very excited to return to Japan and to be a part of such an innovative school in a beautiful environment.
Sharon Lacoste McDonagh
Visual Arts, ToK, ToK Department Coordinator
Ms. McDonagh is a global nomad who has lived in Zambia, England, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sweden and Canada. She graduated with an IB Diploma from high school and has worked at schools in Egypt, Ecuador, Turkey and Hong Kong. Sharon has taught IB Visual Arts, ToK and Film for many years and finds exploring the process of making things to be infinitely fascinating. She graduated from Stockholm University and the Swedish Film Institute and spent many years making film as a professional before becoming a visual arts educator.
Mindful Self-Discipline, Music, Dean of Student Life
Mr. McGibbon has been teaching internationally for the past twelve years. He believes that quality holistic education is a big part of creating a more peaceful society. His passion for education stems from a 4 year experience studying corporate social responsibility as part of a MBA external study program in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Because of this experience he developed an entirely new perspective and he redirected his focus and energy into education as a force for change. He has since taught in Shanghai, China and most recently he was the head of Arts and Design at the United Nations International school in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Having traveled and worked in England, Canada and China for the past 10 years, Ms. Mekhala is thrilled to join the ISAK community. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and Geography, a Master’s degree in English Literature from Lucknow University, India, and a Bachelor of Education degree from Crandall University, Canada. She has experience teaching MYP English Literature and has served as the personal project coordinator. Her passion for volunteering and serving her community is what drew her to ISAK. Her other interests include, cooking, gardening, photography, reading and taking long walks.
Originally from Spain, Mr. Melero gained valuable business experience in information technology, graphic design and advertising before finding his true calling as a teacher. He has since spent nine years teaching mathematics and computer science in the UK, Spain, Germany and Japan. Mr. Melero has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Málaga and a PGCE in mathematics from the University of Oxford. Inspired by his computer science background, he uses every opportunity to integrate technology and online resources into his mathematics lessons. When not teaching, he enjoys a wide range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, skiing, cycling, photography, fishing, and scuba diving.
Health, School Nurse
Ms. Mikuni is a registered nurse and has a Master’s degree in Nursing and a school nurse diploma. She has worked at a Japanese high school as well as Japanese boarding schools in France and Switzerland. Ms. Mikuni continues her experience as a teacher of health education at ISAK, where she is co-teaching the mindful self-discipline and health class.
Merisa was born and raised in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She attended high school at UWC USA in New Mexico and earned her Bachelor’s degree in sociology from Colorado College. Merisa is currently completing her Master’s degree in International Education at the SIT Graduate Institute. After 6 years living in the U.S., Merisa is ready to explore new world views and is excited to experience life at ISAK. She is committed to breaking down the structures of oppression and is passionate about education that teaches students to think and act self-critically.
After several years teaching health and physical education at elementary and middle schools in Tokyo, Ms. Ogawa became a scuba diving instructor, teaching scuba diving in Thailand, the Maldives and Canada. She returned to Japan after a period in Germany and became a licensed special education instructor. Ms. Ogawa loves sports of all kinds, and is currently teaching physical education at ISAK.
History, Economics, History Department Chair
Mr. Parameswaran has more than 15 years of experience teaching economics in various universities and international schools in Asia and Africa. Before joining ISAK, he worked as Head of Humanities at British Nigerian Academy, Abuja, Nigeria. He also taught IB Economics at UWC Mahindra College (MUWCI), Pune, India for three years. His educational qualifications include a PhD in Economics from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) and a Masters degree in Development Economics from Calicut University. He believes that change is possible – through open and honest dialogue, courageous action and a sense of community.
Noriko Maggio Saiki
After teaching Japanese at a prefectural high school in Japan, Ms. Saiki moved to Europe, where she taught IB Japanese Literature at the International School of Maastricht, International School of Eindhoven and the International School of Dusseldorf. She enjoys helping native-level Japanese students who are studying in a multilingual environment develop their Japanese language capabilities and deepen their understanding of Japanese culture. Ms. Saiki has a Bachelor’s degree in Japanese Language and Literature from the School of Education at Waseda University.
English, ToK, English Department Chair
Mr. Sgarbossa started teaching English while collaborating with a charity in Rwanda. He has been involved with the United World Colleges (UWC) movement for the past fifteen years. After running short courses in Montenegro and Russia, in 2006 he joined the faculty of UWC Adriatic (Italy). Trained as a counselor in Carl Roger’s person-centered approach, Mr. Sgarbossa believes that the intellectual development of students should go hand in hand with their personal growth, and is committed to support them in discovering and achieving their potential, both inside and outside the classroom.
Science, Design Innovation
Ms. Tsurumi has devoted her career to education, inspired by the potential of education to empower youth to make positive changes in society. Ms. Tsurumi received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Education at Macalester College, and earned a Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education in International Education Policy. She has taught IB Biology and high school/middle school science at the American School of Yaounde in Cameroon and at the Shanghai Community International School in China.
Mr. Tuggey graduated with a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Southampton, UK, before teaching in the UK boarding school sector and moving to work at UWCSEA Dover, Singapore. During a research placement in Switzerland, Mr. Tuggey found his passion for the outdoors and has since enjoyed caving, climbing and leading student expeditions across Europe and Asia. Mr. Tuggey is a theatrical teacher who loves chemistry and enjoys sharing his passion for science and the outdoors with his students.
Ms. Venugopal received a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Cochin University of Science & Technology, India. Her specialization is Image Processing. She has taught in various engineering colleges in India. Before joining ISAK, Ms. Venugopal taught IB Computer Science at British Nigerian Academy in Nigeria. Her objective is to motivate youth to develop new technologies and to utilize those technologies for the benefit of the society.
Advisory Program Coordinator
Ms. Corrias has developed her professional profile working with charities and NGOs, where she has been operating in the management of human resources and as a trainer and facilitator in Italy, Spain, Israel/Palestine, Mexico and in the Balkans. She has developed projects in education, interfaith dialogue, community building, active citizenship, children’s rights, conflict transformation, and in the socio-medical field. Ms. Corrias holds a Master’s in Political Sciences and a Master’s in Cultural and Religious Mediation. She strongly believes that educating young generations in dialogue, empathy and the value of diversity is crucial to supporting the growth of future leaders who will have a meaningful impact in our globalized world.
Prior to joining ISAK, Ms. Elitzky was the Director of College Counseling at La Jolla Country Day School. Born and raised in Villanova, Pennsylvania, Karen received her BA in Political Science and Psychology from Amherst College and her MA in Educational Psychology from New York University. After college, she began her teaching career at the Canterbury School in Connecticut, and then moved to San Francisco where she continued to teach as well as to begin her career in College Counseling. Karen currently lives in San Diego with her husband, Erik and their two daughters, Lily and Rose. She is very excited for the opportunity to join ISAK’s team!
Ms. Goto met Lin Kobayashi on a skiing team at the age of 18, and has been a big fan of hers since then. She worked at US and domestic investment banks, handling equity sales for both individual and institutional clients. Ms. Goto joined ISAK in December 2012, when Ms. Kobayashi contacted her about becoming her assistant. Apart from her work at ISAK, Ms. Goto is currently raising two daughters (ages 4 and 8), and enjoys playing badminton, studying the “five element theory” of Chinese medicine and trying new places to eat.
Mr. Hayashi wished to be a part of the newly established ISAK because of his desire to make a contribution to the education of students in Asia in becoming worldwide leaders. Mr. Hayashi himself has extensive international experience, working for the Japanese Ministry of Defense for 36 years as a fighter pilot and transportation pilot (serving as flight commander and chief of defense) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan for 6 years, where he was engaged in duties related to defense and consular services. His international experience totals around 10 years and includes time in Switzerland, Iraq, Germany and Malaysia as well as Iran, Singapore, Indonesia and East Timor. Mr. Hayashi’s ambition is to fly a paraglider solo in the near future!
After working for an Australian company for 10 years, Ms. Hirose moved to Karuizawa to raise her three children in the countryside. While bringing up her children, she worked part time as an English teacher and translator. In 2015, Ms. Hirose began doing some translation work for ISAK and became inspired how the school supported motivated students with financial difficulties. She is very happy to join the talented team and is looking forward to seeing the students growing up to be leaders who will improve the world.
Ms. Ikeda worked in the Financial Industry for ten years in series of roles including IR & Corporate Communication, Executive Assistant to the CEO and Government Relations. As a diversity & inclusion specialist, she was responsible for creating a diverse workforce and a culture of inclusion. Working closely with the Japanese government, she positioned a company as diversity global leader focusing on the empowerment of women. She also served as a Vice Chair of Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan. Ms. Ikeda joined ISAK because she resonated with the school’s philosophy on diversity and she feels passionate about supporting student to become catalysts for positive change. In her spare time, she enjoys playing tennis and watching movies.
Through working for a local radio station, FM Karuizawa, where she learned much about the ISAK project, Ms. Ishiwa was keen to interview founder Ms. Lin Kobayashi for her radio program. However Ms. Ishiwa was so impressed by what she learned that she sought to become involved in the project herself, and Ms. Kobayashi ended up interviewing her! Alongside her work at the radio station for the past 10 years, she has worked as a freelance interpreter, emcee and narrator. In her childhood Ms. Ishiwa lived in Australia, the US and the Republic of Panama. Her interests include attending concerts, musicals, plays and trekking.
Catherine Padley Iwata
Having cultivated an interest in East Asian languages and culture early on, Ms. Iwata began studying the Japanese language at the age of 12, which eventually led to her studying Japanese Language B for the International Baccalaureate at an international school in the UK. She went on to study pharmacy and Chinese medicine at University, the latter of which enabled her to combine her interests in medicine and East Asian culture, history, philosophy and language. Ms. Iwata is honored to be involved in such a dynamic and unique project that has potential to inspire innovation in education and develop and empower the individual in the interests of advancing positive changes in the world.
Mr. Jeon was born and raised in Korea. As a young student, he became interested in Japanese language and culture and pursued this passion while studying at Hankuk University in Korea, and later at Waseda University. Mr. Jeon is proud to be a member of the staff at ISAK and his goal is to make sure that ISAK is clean and safe for everyone who lives and works here.
Office of Admission / PR
Even as a young child in Japan, Ms. Kaneko was exposed to people from many different cultures. She and her family have hosted homestay guests from over 50 different countries! After studying abroad in Mexico for high school, Ms. Kaneko chose to major in International Education Studies at University. During her university days, she also participated in the Ship for World Youth Program operated by the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan as a representative of Japan. Prior to joining ISAK, Ms. Kaneko worked at Japanese General Trading and as a translator for the Ship for World Youth Program. In her space time, she enjoys pottery arts and trekking.
Ms. Kitazawa began her career in accounting before moving on to real estate as an appraisal assistant. She changed careers in 2013, becoming an interpreter at a medical device manufacturing company where she interacted with a predominantly Filipino culture that allowed her to learn much about a different language, customs and culture. She lived in London for one year to study English, and has traveled extensively throughout the U.K. Her hobbies include her cats and hiking, and in particular climbing Mt. Kurofu, which she highly recommends for the magnificent view of nearby Mt. Asama. Ms. Kitazawa has been inspired by Ms. Lin Kobayashi’s strong faith and passion in making her dream a reality – nothing is impossible if you carry out your will and never give up.
Administrative Assistant to Head of School
Ms. Kobayashi, a Karuizawa native, has lived and worked all over the world,including Malaysia, Thailand, the US, Mauritius, the Bahamas, Morocco, New Caledonia, the Maldives, France and Egypt. She became very interested in the ISAK project as it was her dream to attend such a school when she was a student! Ms. Kobayashi is fluent in French, Japanese and English and in her spare time enjoys playing tennis.
Ms. Koido brings an extensive background in web content design, marketing and project management to the ISAK technology department. Prior to joining ISAK, Ms. Koido worked for a Japanese general trading company where she spent several years focusing on digital youth culture, including both educational and entertainment content. She has lived abroad in both Canada and Britain. Ms. Koido received her Master’s degree in psychology from a UK university.
Director of Operations
Ms. Kono joined the Ship and Aerospace Division of Mitsubishi Corporation after graduating from the Faculty of Letters, Arts and Sciences at Waseda University. In 1991, Hiroko left Mitsubishi to join the Capital Group, an American-based asset management company, and she worked as an analyst handling investment research in Asian stocks and managing portfolios from 2003 to 2011. After eight years working in the United States, Hiroko returned to Japan in 2008. Drawn to the ISAK mission and vision, both as a businessperson and as a mother of two college and high school students, Ms. Kono joined ISAK full-time in November 2011.
Head of Accounting
After graduating from university, Ms. Kuno worked in the Tokyo branch of a US bank for 13 years where she was engaged in reporting to the Japanese Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Japan. After taking a career break to raise her son, Ms. Kuno resumed working in the accounting section of a Swiss watch importing firm. Her wish to be involved in raising students with the potential to change the world is what attracted Ms. Kuno to ISAK, where her vast experience and knowledge is of considerable asset to the project. In her spare time, Ms. Kuno enjoys singing and listening to music.
Visas & Travel Logistics
In addition to speaking four languages, Ms. Lopes brings a wealth of experience to ISAK. She has worked as a tour guide in Europe, taught at a Japanese elementary school, and coordinated youth programs for the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare. Ms. Lopes enjoys swimming and cheerleading, and in her spare time she is pursuing a master’s degree in economics!
After graduation, she joined a Japanese trading company, where she spent five years managing imports and exports of automobile parts to the US and EU. Ms. Machida is currently working at ISAK as an administrative assistant while raising two young children.
Ms. Miller found ISAK through her sister Elizabeth, and became intrigued with the program after seeing such a positive impact on her niece through her participation in Summer School – a truly transformational experience! Ms. Miller studied English and psychology at university and is passionate about helping ISAK grow via online strategies. She previously owned her own marketing company which provided email and web marketing services to over 40 career colleges in the United States. Ms. Miller has a wide range of hobbies including kayaking, photography and cooking. She is also an avid traveler, always on the lookout for someplace new to discover!
Starting out as part of the 2014 Summer School team, Ms. Nakano is now a member of the fundraising team. Before ISAK, she worked for a railway company in several departments, including PR, marketing and driving the bullet train! Ms. Nakano discovered ISAK through her research into the Japanese education system. Her belief is that leaders who can make a positive change to the world and make people happier come from a truly diversified community. She therefore joined ISAK with the desire to influence the Japanese education system and also have a positive impact on the world along with ISAK staff and supporters.
Director of Admission
Ms. Oswald came to Japan as an exchange student in her junior year at Stanford University, enjoying the experience so much that she returned after graduation and has remained here for over 20 years! Ms. Oswald worked in Tokyo as a copywriter for a few years, eventually leaving to become a freelance translator. After meeting Ms. Kobayashi while she was interviewing Stanford alumni in Japan about their views on international schools, Ms. Oswald joined ISAK in 2012 after volunteering her services as a translator. Now involved in all aspects of the admissions process, Ms. Oswald considers this the best job she has ever had, citing the everyday dynamic pace and the amazing people she works with- staff, faculty and students alike!
Academic Affairs / Compliance Manager
Ms. Otake attended international schools in Hong Kong and Taiwan and graduated from university in the UK before working as a project manager in international marketing and sales in Stockholm, Sweden, where she lived for over 11 years. She then relocated to Tokyo and worked in quality management before moving with her family to Karuizawa. Ms. Otake is excited to be a part of such a diverse team at ISAK. In her free time she enjoys traveling, organizing outdoor activities, home farming, visiting art museums and attending concerts.
Mr. Santiago grew up in a very small Mixteco community in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. In his early years, he worked the land with his family where he learned to grow corn, beans and different kinds of fruit in addition to caring for chickens, goats, cows and sheep. After spending eight years working in the agricultural industry in the United States, Mr. Santiago relocated to Taiwan, before coming to Japan. He has always enjoyed plants and horticulture, and helps keep the ISAK grounds beautiful year round. Mr. Santiago enjoys helping students with their gardening project and he takes pride in keeping school buildings clean buildings and safe for the ISAK community.
Ms. Takano holds degrees as a registered nurse and public health nurse. She initially worked in a clinical setting, acquiring counseling experience while working with both Japanese and international patients. She later worked as a nurse in the brain surgery department of a major regional hospital. Ms. Takano’s interest in international activities began in high school, when she was an exchange student to the US.Since then, she has been involved in international volunteer and charity activities, with focus on the Philippines and other countries in Asia. The mother of two children, Ms. Takano firmly believes that proper mental and physical health are essential for humans to make the most of their lives. She feels privileged to be working with ISAK students, and is excited to help them realize their potential through good health.
Ms. Tuggey comes from a multicultural background, having grown up in Sweden, Australia and Singapore. After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology from Southampton University, UK, she moved back to Singapore 2011. In Singapore Ms. Tuggey worked educating students about the importance of conservation, while taking them on field trips in the Malaysian rainforest. Having recently completed a Master’s degree in Psychology, Ms. Tuggey hopes to integrate psychology with her previous knowledge and experience in order to facilitate not only students’ personal growth, but also an appreciation for the environment surrounding them.
Office of Admission
Ms. Wada, a native of Japan, participated in a study abroad program when she was just 15, spending a year in New Zealand with other students from around the globe. Later she participated in a global leadership program and completed her Bachelor’s degree in communications at university in the United States. After returning to Japan, Ms. Wada taught ESL at an international school in Okinawa for 5 years. Ms. Wada is excited about participating in ISAK’s mission to develop transformational leaders in her new position as Summer School assistant.
Office of Admission
Ms. Wada was born and raised in Japan, but spent 30 years living abroad in Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the U.S. A graduate of the University of Hawaii with a degree in Fine Arts / Photography, Ms. Wada has worked as a professional photographer, an interpreter, and a program coordinator for a corporate education company around the world. Ms. Wada and her husband were drawn to Karuizawa because of it’s beautiful location and year-round outdoor activities. She is excited to be part of the diverse and talented staff working at ISAK.
Director of Marketing/Communications
Ms. Kayoko knew Ms. Lin Kobayashi through a friend, and was asked to join her journey after their first meeting in 2011. Having had experience in marketing and communications at both domestic and international organizations, Ms. Kayoko now dedicates her work to communicating the values of ISAK to the world by developing creative marketing strategies. She is in charge of media relations, social media marketing, content creation and branding. Ms. Kayoko is determined to support Ms. Kobayashi, and in doing so make positive change to the world. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, pilates and exploring something new!
Director of Technology
Born in Italy and raised in England and Japan, Mr. Suzuki has lived and worked in multinational environments. He worked in Tokyo at a multinational company based out of Minneapolis for 18 years, becoming Head of Marketing, which enabled him to travel all over the world on business. After returning to his family hometown of Karuizawa, he resolved to give back to the local community; the ISAK project has enabled Mr. Suzuki to achieve this goal, while simultaneously exploiting his interest in diversity (with particular focus within Asia) and indulging his passion for new technology