At TIS, all of our homeroom teachers are fluent English speakers and are qualified to teach in their home countries (currently Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States). They also have teaching experience in preschool to Grade 12 settings and are comfortable working in an international environment.
Ms. Hitomi Akimoto (Japan) – MYP (Japanese)
2021 – present
Ms. Judy Alfuen (Philippines) – PYP (Kindergarten)
2014 – present
Ms. Alfuen graduated Cum Laude from the Philippine Normal College now Philippine Normal University with the degree of Bachelor in Elementary Education. She passed the Professional Board Examination for Teachers which qualifies her to teach K-12. She began her career at the age of 20 and whilst teaching she decided to pursue her post graduate studies. Ms. Alfuen obtained her Master of Arts in Education in 1998, Master of Early Childhood Education in 2004, and Diploma in Mathematics Teaching in 2017. After 17 years of teaching in her native Philippines she moved to Vietnam and spent 3 years as a curriculum and test writer in a school in Ho Chi Minh City. She then became a Middle School Math Teacher in an international school there. She became an active member of the Saigon Mathematics Competition League of Coaches, where her school received the champion award for three consecutive years. Ms. Alfuen was also one of the organizers of the SEAMC 2014 (a well-known Math Competition Group for South East Asian Countries).
Ms. Raida Asuncion (Philippines) – MYP, DP (Mathematics)
2022 – present
Ms. Asuncion is a graduate of Bachelor of Secondary Education major in Mathematics. She is currently working on her Thesis Writing to get her diploma in Master of Arts in Education major in Mathematics. After a year of teaching Mathematics in private school and passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers, she applied for and passed the ranking in the Division of Bulacan and became a secondary public school teacher in her country. She taught mathematics for 6 years in secondary schools under the Department of Education there. Due to her passion for teaching, she was promoted from Teacher I to Teacher II and received an award for three consecutive years for joining the teachers contest in the Strategic Intervention Materials in Math in District and Division Level. She has also been a coach in Math Quiz, Sudoku and Math Trail contests. She has lived in Japan since 2019 and has worked as an assistant language teacher in Japanese elementary school. Ms. Asuncion has an interest in drawing, portrait, playing the guitar and piano. She also loves singing, driving and travelling.
Mr. Michael Bell (United Kingdom) – Librarian
2019 – present
Mr Bell is originally from Glasgow in the UK, but has lived in Japan since 2002. After graduating university, where he was granted a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology, he taught English in Tokyo for a number of years. Seeking to change careers he returned to university and gained a Masters of Science degree (with distinction) in Library and Information Studies. He started his library career at Lakeland University Japan Campus as the Assistant Librarian, before becoming the Secondary School Librarian at The British School in Tokyo. In his free time he enjoys reading books (of course), playing piano, watching Scottish football and exercising.
Mr. Jared Dano (Canada) – MYP (Individuals and Societies)
2011 – present
Mr. Dano graduated from the University of Manitoba, Western Canada’s oldest university, with two degrees. He has a B.Ed which he graduated from with the dean’s distinction. He is certified to teach kindergarten to Grade 12. Along with his B.Ed, he has a B.A with a double major in Asian studies and geography, and a minor in history. In addition to these credentials, he also completed the Certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language (CTESL) program certified by TESL. Canada. Mr. Dano has had a variety of teaching experiences including teaching early years and middle years for the Aomori City Board of Education, early years at Lertlah School in Thailand, international students at the University of Manitoba, and middle and high school level in the public school system in Canada. To further his teaching expertise, he has completed many professional development sessions, including: An Introductory Workshop for the IB MYP, Implementing the MYP, Delivering Individuals and Societies in the MYP, Designing Authentic Assessment, and Global Contexts in the MYP. Mr. Dano’s teaching philosophy is to provide a high quality education that helps every child to become a responsible and productive member of the global community.
Mr. Paul Escott (United Kingdom) – PYP (Grade 5)
2017 – present
Mr Escott graduated with BA (Hons) in French Language and Literature from UEA in England before coming to Japan on the JET program. Having worked in Elementary and Junior High Schools in Akita, he completed his Certificate in Teaching English to Adults in London then worked in Yokohama for six years. He received his Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 2011 from Birmingham City University and taught in his hometown of Birmingham for three years before moving to the British Council School of Madrid, where his class’s teaching and learning featured on Spain’s top TV news. He holds Level 2 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and in his spare time enjoys playing his guitar, hiking and spending time with his family.
Ms. Sega Guadarrama (Philippines) – PYP (Kindergarten)
2018 – present
Ms. Guadarrama is from Manila, Philippines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Major in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Education, Major in Basic Education Teaching. She is a qualified preschool to elementary school teacher after passing the Philippine Licensure Exams for Teachers. She has been in the academe for over twelve years, half of which in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. She has experience teaching lower and upper primary levels from the previous institutions she has worked for. She has attended workshops by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS), Innovative Global Education (IGE) and Stanford University. She enjoys travel and exploring the world with her family.
Mr. Andrew Hayes (United Kingdom) — MYP/DP (English Language and Literature), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Coordinator
2016 – present
Originally from the United Kingdom, Mr Hayes studied Multimedia Journalism at Bournemouth University in England. After graduating with honours and a letter of credit in 2003 he went to teach English in Hanoi, Vietnam for three years, working with the Ministry of Education and teaching adults and children. He returned to the UK to study a Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education, majoring in English, at Canterbury Christ Church University. He then taught English Language and Literature at a secondary school in England, before embarking on an educational odyssey in Hungary for six years. There, in the university city of Szeged, he taught English to high school students and later worked as an English Communications Manager for a large Hungarian conglomerate. Arriving in Japan in 2013, Mr Hayes commenced work at Tsuchiura Nihon University Secondary School, teaching English to 13-18 year old students. Now working at TIS, Mr Hayes is the CAS Coordinator and MYP/DP Language and Literature teacher as well as one of the high school homeroom teachers. In his free time, Mr Hayes enjoys nothing more than sampling local Japanese delicacies and trying out interesting and innovative new restaurants. A keen traveller, his hobbies include scuba diving, cooking and reading as often as possible.
Mr. Jun Hishiyama (Japan) – MYP, DP (Mathematics)
2019 – present
Mr. Hishiyama is originally from Tokyo, Japan, but has lived in France, U.S.A., and Austria during his childhood. After graduating from the IB DP program at the American International School of Vienna, Austria, he studied Mathematics at the University of Tsukuba, where he obtained his Japanese teaching license to teach Mathematics in Junior High School and High School. He began his teaching career at K. International School in Tokyo, Japan. He then did one year of teacher training in the U.K. to obtain the PGCE in Secondary Mathematics. Before coming to Tsukuba International School, he has taught at two other schools, one year at Hosei Kokusai High School in Japan and another year at SEK International School in Qatar. This will be his seventh year teaching MYP and DP Mathematics. In his free time he likes to visit Art Museums or go to bookstores (He is not at all an avid reader, but likes to get inspiration.)
Mr. Ken Koshibe (Japan) – PYP (Physical Education)
2018 – present
Mr. Koshibe graduated from Temple University with Bachelor of Arts. He started his teaching career as a cram school teacher in Tokyo until he was offered to coach the high school boys basketball team at Yokohama International School. The following year, he was offered a position as an assistant teacher. Soon he found his passion in teaching and completed the physical education certification program in Washington. He enjoys playing almost any sport (especially basketball) and also loves photography and travel around the world. He is a passionate and motivated teacher who is always committed to learn and improve. He is passionate about giving students the best possible education in academics and life.
Ms. Helena Mapoy (United States) – MYP, DP (Mathematics, Science, Physics)
2021 – present
Ms. Mapoy graduated from Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Physics and a Master of Arts in Adolescent Education in Physics, simultaneously. After earning her teaching certification, she worked in a New York City public high school, where she taught Physics, Chemistry, and AP Physics 1 and 2. For those 6 years, she helped to develop and expand the physics curriculum to include lab practicals of varying difficulties to suit her wide range of students. She is also a member of the National Science Teachers Association, and in 2018, she attended the National Conference. Outside the classroom, she contributed to the school community in extracurricular activities. Among those, her favorite activity was coaching the Girls’ Outdoor Track team, which saw all of the school records fall under her coaching tenure. While teaching full-time, Ms. Mapoy was also a part-time assistant coach for her college swimming team, winning two conference championships in her four years of coaching. Aside from running and swimming, she also enjoys watching other sports like gymnastics, figure skating, and tennis. Her interest in fitness and sports is only a portion of her wider range of hobbies. In her downtime, she also enjoys some reading and creative writing, gaming, traveling, and learning the piano.
Ms. Kim Marie Loupas (United States) – PYP (Pre-Kindergarten)
2015 – present
Ms. Kim comes from Columbus, Georgia. She graduated from Columbus State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Education. She has two teaching certifications, Georgia Educator Certificate in Early Childhood Education and a Georgia Educator Certificate in Middle Grades (4-8) Math. After graduating university she spent five years in Shimane prefecture, working as an A.L.T., teaching English at two junior high schools. While in Shimane, she also volunteered at a Japanese preschool and participated in a local high school taiko group.
Ms. Kyoko Miki (Japan) – PYP (Japanese)
2019 – present
Ms. Miki has a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Japanese Language and Culture at the University of Tsukuba and a Master of Arts in International Studies, also from the University of Tsukuba. After working as a Japanese teacher in several schools and universities, she moved to France where she worked for 4 years at Université Grenoble Alpes and Université Paris Diderot. After she came back to Japan, she worked at Tsukuba University and International Christian University. She has taught Japanese classes not only for foreign students but also classes for native speakers. In France, she was part of the Japanese section for a primary school in Courbevoie (near Paris ), and became very interested in education between several cultures. This was a strong motivation for joining the TIS team. She has a licence to teach Japanese in junior high school, high school and primary school.
Ms. Hiroko Momohara (Japan) – PYP, MYP (Visual Arts)
2012 – present
Ms. Momohara graduated from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies with a Bachelor of Arts. She is qualified to teach English at the junior high school and high school level. She worked as an English teacher in Japanese high schools for 11 years. While she was in Vienna with her husband and two sons for a year, she became interested in different educational paradigms, such as Waldorf/Steiner education. From 2000, she began to study education through art. She now holds art programmes for children and their parents and she enjoys playing the lyre (a small harp).
Mr. John Ng (Canada) – PYP (Grade 3)
2020 – present
Mr. Ng is from Toronto. He has a Bachelor of Arts (History) with honours from York University and a Bachelor of Education (Primary/Junior) degree from Queen’s University. During his time at Queen’s University, his focus was in international education. After obtaining his teaching degree, Mr. Ng had the opportunity to teach English online to students in China. During this time, he managed and operated a virtual classroom that focused on delivering the curriculum using an interactive whiteboard. Afterwards, Mr. Ng moved to Japan to work at an international kindergarten in the Kansai region. He was able to learn and adopt IB teaching concepts and principles into his way of teaching. He is also a member of the Ontario College of Teachers. In his free time, he enjoys reading books (fiction), playing sports and canoeing.
Mr. Adam Ortega (United States) – PYP (Grade 2)
2021 – present
Mr. Ortega is from the United States of America and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in 2008. He has a professional teaching certification and is a licensed early childhood educator. He received his International Baccalaureate Certificate in Teaching and Learning through the University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada), an IB-recognized university. He began teaching in Fukushima, Japan in 2012. There, he also volunteered with local organizations to support the community after the Great East Japan Earthquake. He taught at an international preschool and elementary school in Tokyo for seven years, where he initiated the school’s CIS membership and accreditation process. He has ten years of experience teaching preschool and early elementary. He works to continuously develop as a professional by utilizing tools and implementing strategies acquired at workshops, such as those offered by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and the East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS).
Ms. Ester Palit-Ang (Philippines) — MYP (Sciences), DP (Biology, Chemistry)
2016 – present
Ms. Palit-ang was born and raised in northern Philippines. Growing up in a family of educators, she knew that teaching was her passion. She finished her Bachelor of Science in Biology/Science Education with honors and shortly after passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers, she was employed in the high school attached to the university where she obtained her degree. While serving her alma mater as a full-time science teacher, she pursued and finished her Master of Arts in Science Education. She accepted the challenge to teach in the college level in the same university and became an assistant professor. She was one of the pioneering faculty members of the Environmental Studies Department and actively involved in curriculum planning and development of its programs. She was assigned to teach major and minor subjects in Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. Alongside, she served as an adviser and technical critic for undergraduate research students. In her sixth year in the university, she was sent to Ibaraki University for her Master of Science in Bio-resource Sciences (major in Environmental Chemistry) under the auspices of Japan International Cooperation Agency. Her experience in a Japanese university and science research institutes in Tsukuba City had further developed her laboratory skills and in areas such as data analysis and writing scientific papers. She also became a part of the Japanese educational system where she spent seven years as a teacher in the primary and middle schools of the Kasama City Board of Education. When she is not teaching, she enjoys cooking, gardening, camping and helping out in her community.
Mr. Travis Pardy (Canada) — MYP (English)
2016 – present
Mr. Pardy is from the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. After completing a Bachelor of English, he worked in Japan for 6 years as an English instructor and office manager in the Tohoku area. After completing his Bachelor of Education back in Canada, Mr. Pardy taught for 3 years as a teacher to both children and adult learners in Canada, while also volunteering on local boards and committees in the areas in which he worked. He then returned to Japan to work here at TIS with his family, where he has since completed a Master’s diploma in Curriculum Studies from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. He is delighted at the idea of teaching IB curriculum, as the IB’s mission statement fits well into his own personal educational philosophy of creating open-minded and reflective learners. Mr. Pardy holds Level 2 in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and also acts as an IBDP Examiner for English DP Assessments. Mr. Pardy has served as the grade 9 homeroom teacher since starting at TIS, a position he is very proud of.
Ms. Sophy Premanandhan (India) – PYP (Assistant)
2019 – present
Ms. Sophy Prem, from India, holds BSc in Nursing from MGR Medical University, MS in Psychotherapy and Counseling and a diploma in primary education. She taught nursing at an Indian university while studying MBA for a year before moving to Japan. She has attended the SENIA conference for children with special needs and is interested in things like music, cooking and reading. As a mother of two, she has lots of experience with helping children grow and her goal is to help bring out creativity, individuality and the hidden potential in each and every one of her students.
Ms. Gaille Ramos-Sarreal (Philippines) – PYP, MYP (Music)
2019 – present
Ms. Gaille Ramos-Sarreal obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance (Magna cum Laude) from St. Scholastica’s College, Manila in 2011 and Masters in Music in Performance Teaching from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne in 2014. She also earned accreditation as a flute teacher of the Suzuki Method under Suzuki Music Victoria, Australia in 2014. Gaille taught IB Preschool, then classroom Music to Grades 3-8 in the Philippines for 5 years before teaching at TIS. She has attended the Making the PYP Happen in the Early Years workshop as well as several MYP Category 3 workshops. She also received training in the First Steps in Music for the Early Years Program under John Feierabend in 2018. Gaille played with the Manila Symphony Orchestra for 10 years before pursuing a career in classroom teaching. Her passions include promoting classical music among the youth and learning about music around the world. In her spare time, she likes to read mystery novels and bake.
Ms. Rae-Ann Reyes (Philippines) – MYP, DP (Visual Arts)
2016 – present
Ms. Reyes graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology (major) and Education (minor) in 2003 and a Master of Family Life and Child Development degree in 2012. After graduating, she taught preschool children in a local Chinese school for four years. She spent a year at Bannister Academy in the Philippines where she was a preschool program director and designed the preschool curriculum and policies. She then pursued further teaching experience in IB schools such as Cebu International School and Chinese International School Manila where, apart from preschool, she was also an elementary homeroom teacher, an elementary art teacher, and an IB Visual Arts teacher. In between teaching, she has also worked for Scholastic Books as an educational program consultant. Her hobbies include sewing, arts and crafts projects, travelling, and cooking. She makes handmade clothes and learning toys and resources as a passion project.
Mr. Goro Sakaguchi (Japan) – MYP (Sciences)
2012 – present
Mr. Sakaguchi was born in Shizuoka, Japan and spent most of his childhood years in the United States. After completing his compulsory education, he returned to Japan and studied Geology at the Shizuoka University. He achieved his Diploma and teaching qualification in 1995, and since then, he taught at various schools and institutions both domestic and abroad. Mr. Sakaguchi has seven years of teaching experience in the IB MYP Program and he is very excited to implement the philosophy at TIS. On holidays he loves to travel, but on weekends, he cooks, swims, plays the piano, takes photos and much more.
Ms. Chiaki Shirata (Japan) – MYP/DP (Japanese)
2016 – present
Ms. Chiaki Shirata obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Japan Women’s University, Faculty of Human and Social Studies, and a Master degree from Ochanomizu University in Comparative Studies of Societies and Cultures. She is a qualified teacher of Japanese as a foreign language, after obtaining her teaching certificate at Japan Women’s University. Before coming to Tsukuba International School, Ms. Shirata taught Japanese as a foreign language at YMCA College of Health and Welfare, at Jumonji University and at Cockatoo Primary School in Australia as an assistant teacher for LOTE (Language Other than English). Ms. Shirata is a member of the Society of Japanese Language Education Methods (JLEM), Japanese Language and Culture Study Group, and Thinking At The Edge (TAE) Study Group.
Mr. Aaron Smith (United States) – MYP (IAS), DP (Global Politics, TOK), Extended Essay Coordinator
2020 – present
Mr. Smith has called many places on the west coast of the United States home, but if forced to pick a “true” it would be Portland, Oregon. He graduated from Portland State University in 2005 with a double Bachelors of Science in Political Science and in History, completing both courses with honors, and was awarded membership in the National Honor Societies for both academic disciplines. He was certified to teach secondary social studies (History, Economics, Geography, Politics) by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and has over 10 years experience teaching in the International Baccalaureate, having taught at schools in Japan (Yokohama International School, and K. International School Tokyo) and Germany (International School of Stuttgart, and Munich International School). Students in his former diploma cohorts have, on average, consistently scored above the world average in History and TOK, and he is excited by the opportunity to teach Global Politics this year and hopes to lead his students at TIS to similar levels of success. Over the years he has completed multiple professional development workshops (both by the IB and by third-party providers such as InThinking) on both the MYP and DP curriculums. In his free time, he enjoys fitness and training, hiking and other outdoors recreational activities, and reading.
Ms. Dianne Suzuki (Australia) – PYP (Grade 1)
2008 – present
With three uncles as teachers influencing her childhood, it’s no surprise that Dianne dreamed of one day becoming a teacher. Graduating from Northern Rivers CAE (Southern Cross University) with a Diploma of Teaching, she set her sights overseas and found herself teaching English in Japan. Dianne was involved in TIS in its infancy, initially as a volunteer teacher, then a part time teacher, then finally as principal teacher before leaving to concentrate on her own family. Dianne’s many years as a teacher in a variety of settings and as a parent gives her a unique insight into the challenges that multi-lingual, multicultural and internationally-minded families face in Japan when trying to find the right educational setting for their children. Dianne is excited to be back at TIS to see the school grow and become what its founders dreamed it to one day be. “Education is not the filling of a bucket but rather the lighting of a fire”.
Ms. Grace Wong (Malaysia) – MYP (Music)
2021 – present
Ms. Wong graduated from UCSI University in Malaysia with B.A. (Hons) in Classical Music in 2015. She went on to obtain her M.Mus in Music Performance from the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Wales, U.K in 2017. She began her career at the age of 25 and whilst teaching music to all stages at an international school in Malaysia, she decided to pursue her International Postgraduate Certificate of Education, qualifying her to teach internationally. In her music teaching journey in Malaysia, Ms. Wong has also prepared her students for piano and violin competitions for Kota Kinabalu Music Festival. She has also led string ensemble as well as choir at her former school, and organised choir performances at various venues in Malaysia. After 4 years of teaching in her native Malaysia, she moved to Japan and joined TIS in 2021. To further her teaching expertise, she has completed many professional development sessions, including: Musical Futures International, Orff Schulwerk Certification, FOBISIA Music Teachers Conferences in various countries, IBAP Virtual Regional Workshop, and AMIS Music Educators’ Online Summit 2021. During her free time, she enjoys traveling and exploring different cultures.
Ms. Ayumi Woollard (Japan) – PYP (Pre-Kindergarten)
2013 – present
Mrs. Woollard graduated from Capital Normal University (China) with a degree in Modern Chinese after 4 years living and studying in Beijing. She achieved the highest level in the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK) (National Chinese Language Exam). Ayumi spent 5 years living in the UK where she studied English at London Metropolitan University before moving with her family to the English Lake District, home of Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth. Ayumi’s experience as the parent of a lively 2-year-old has driven her interest in early years education and she is enjoying the opportunity to develop her professional knowledge at TIS.
Ms. Hiromi Yagishita (Japan) – PYP (Pre-Kindergarten)
2009 – present
Mrs. Yagishita has a degree in English Language and Literature from Meikai University. After graduating, she worked at Hilton Tokyo Bay Hotel for five years before deciding to attend Seitoku University in order to obtain her license to become a nursery school teacher. She has five years’ experience teaching in a Japanese nursery school. Mrs. Yagishita joined TIS in 2009, specialising in working with our youngest students. She helps the students take their first steps towards developing their motor skills and reading and writing skills, and she also introduces them to various elements of Japanese culture. Mrs. Yagishita has attended three official IB PYP workshops (Making the PYP Happen (twice) and Teaching and Learning in the PYP) and attended an “Early Years Job-Alike” at Tokyo International School in 2011. She has also visited several international schools to observe and learn from their early years programmes.
Mr. Prabhakar Yesupathem (India) – MYP Physical Education
2018 – present
Mr. Yesupathem graduated in India, with a B.Ed from Chhattisgarh University. Mr. Prabi has had a variety of teaching experiences including teaching early years, primary, middle and high school for 12 years in Dubai, India, and Africa. He has worked in 6 international schools such as American School of Dubai-UAE, Wellington International School – Dubai-UAE, Stonehill International School Bangalore – India, Edubridge International School Mumbai-India, and American International School of Brazzaville, Republic of Congo -Africa with IB and American curriculum experiences. Mr. Prabi is also a certified ASCA level III swim coach and masters swimmer, Lifeguard Instructor and Surf Lifeguard. Mr. Prabi was also a competitive swimmer and has participated in national swim competitions. Certified in IB Training Making PYP Happen, Delivering MYP curriculum, PHE MYP Cat 2 workshop, Differentiation in Teaching and Learning.
Ms. Preetha Yesupathem (India) – PYP (Pre-Kindergarten)
2018 – present
Ms. Yesupathem is from Bangalore, India. She graduated BA (Hons) in Education from Chhattisgarh University, India, has a Diploma in Pre and Primary Education from Asian College of Teaching, UK and a Masters Diploma in TEFL. After teaching the upper primary she moved on to Pre-Kindergarten setting for the last 3 years. She has taught PYP at various International Schools at different locations in India and Africa. Ms. Yesupathem has attended the IB PYP workshop “Making the PYP Happen in the Early Years” and recently did a workshop on “Positive Discipline in the Classroom”. She is married to Mr. Prabhakar Yesupathem and has a daughter. Her hobbies include cooking, and travelling along with her family.
Ms. Kiyoko Koganei (Japan) – School Counsellor
2014 – present
Ms. Koganei completed her Bachelor of Science (Psychology) at Salve Regina University and a Master of Science (Marriage and Family Therapy) at Fuller School of Psychology in the Unites States. She is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California and a clinical psychologist in Japan. She worked in several counseling centers associated with a graduate school and in local schools from elementary through high school. She is currently working for a clinic in Tokyo with psychiatrists and other clinical psychologists and also going to another graduate school to advance her career and learn more about research in Psychology. In addition to the work in the clinic, she owns a private practice, Hope International Counseling, in Tokyo for people who seek a healthier emotional life. Her daily life is filled with meeting and listening to people and reflecting on the amazing journeys that individuals take. Her goal is to not lose the spirit of enjoyment even in the busy moment and to balance work and relaxation. She misses the cultural experiences which she enjoyed while she was overseas. TIS is giving her the joy and excitement of being around people from different parts of the world.
Ms. Naoko Saito (Japan) – School Counsellor
2015 – present
Ms. Naoko Saito completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Biola University and Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in the Unites States. She is a licensed clinical psychologist in Japan. She worked in a counseling center associated with a graduate school in the U.S., also in a mental clinic and a public child developmental center in Japan. Over the years, she worked with hundreds of children and their families as well as individuals and couples, and visited many nursery schools and preschools as a clinical therapist. She is currently working as a school counselor in local schools from elementary through junior high and also working in several public health centers providing counseling for parents of 1 to 5 year old children. She loves working with children and intends to further grow as a counselor. She enjoys taking a walk in the neighborhood sensing the change of seasons, also loves traveling to experience different cultures, including ethnic foods. She enjoys spending time at TIS especially because of its cultural diversity and beautiful nature around it.
Ms. Yukari Escott (Japan) – Staff Support Officer
2021 – present
Ms. Escott has been a member of the TIS team since April 2021
Mr. Shinji Yagishita (Japan) – Facilities Officer
2008 – present
Mr. Yagishita has been a member of the TIS team since 2008, but he joined us as a full-time staff member in August 2018.
Mr. Akira Yokota (Japan) – Board Liaison Officer
2008 – present
Mr. Yokota has been on the board of the school since 2008, but he joined us as our first board liaison officer in 2017.
Senior Leadership Team
Mr. Vincent Jan Africa (Philippines) – MYP Coordinator, Vice Principal (Middle School)
2015 – present
Mr. Africa is from the Philippines. He is a graduate of De La Salle Lipa, Philippines of BS Secondary Education Major in Mathematics with honors. After teaching High School Physics and Mathematics for two years in the Philippines, he moved to Jakarta, Indonesia where he worked in an international school. During his stay, he worked as a middle school mathematics teacher, discipline coordinator and programme coordinator. Mr. Africa also does work for the IB Asia Pacific Region as a Workshop Leader, School Visit Team Member and Building Quality Curriculum Reviewer. He has been sent to lead workshops and evaluate IB school programs in several different countries such as Indonesia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, and Australia.
Mr. Peter Congreve (Australia) – DP Coordinator, Vice Principal (High School), Guidance Counsellor
2014 – present
Mr. Congreve is an honors graduate of engineering from the University of Queensland, Australia. His specializations lie in engineering, design & technology, physics, the earth sciences and mathematics; he also holds additional qualifications in computer programming. After graduating, Mr Congreve found himself drawn to education and spent many years tutoring in Australia and Japan before winning a coveted scholarship from Education Queensland to return to his alma mater to undertake a Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education. Mr Congreve graduated with a Dean’s Commendation for Academic Excellence and spent several years teaching science, mathematics and senior physics in Far North Queensland, before returning to Japan. As a passionate believer in the IB and its role in building multicultural understanding and empowering young men and women to engage socially and professionally at an international level, he is excited to have joined TIS in 2014. Mr Congreve is married with two children, and lives in Tsukuba.
Ms. Joanne Handa (United Kingdom) – School Manager
2011 – present
Ms. Handa graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA (Hons.) in International History and Politics and came to Japan on the Japan Exchange and Teaching programme (JET). She lived and worked in Fukushima prefecture, as an assistant English teacher and then as a coordinator for international relations. After completing an MA in Advanced Japanese Studies from the University of Sheffield, she has undertaken administrative work, including English editing and Japanese to English translation, for Sumitomo Life, Tokyo National Museum, and the National Institute for Environmental Studies. She has passed Level 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test and joined the TIS administration team in February 2011.
Ms. Hisae Kitazawa (Japan) – Financial Officer
2013 – present
Ms. Kitazawa has been a member of the TIS team since April 2012.
Ms. Akane Kono (Japan) – PYP, MYP, DP (Japanese), Japanese Program Director, Guidance Counsellor
2011 – present
Ms. Kono has a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Japanese Language and Culture at the University of Tsukuba and a Master of Arts in International Studies, also from the University of Tsukuba. She received an award for her master’s thesis. She has a certificate for teaching Japanese as a foreign language from the University of Tsukuba and teaching qualifications for both junior high school and high school (both in the “specialized” category, the highest one available in Japan). She has taught Japanese to both Japanese and foreign students at the Japan Aviation Academy and the University of Creation, and has given guest lectures at the University of Tsukuba and Ami International Exchange Association. Ms. Kono’s students have won awards for Japanese speech contests, Sakura Medal book trailers and haiku (Itoen haiku challenge). She has attended several IB PYP, MYP and DP workshops, both in-school at with other schools. She has also passed the 2nd Grade of the English Proficiency Test (Eiken) and Level 2 of the Secretarial Skills Proficiency Test. She is a member of the Society for Teaching Japanese as a Second Language, Society of Japanese Language Education Methods (JLEM), the Japanese Association of Second Language Acquisition (JASLA), Association of Japanese Language Teachers in Europe (AJE) and the Mother Tongue, Heritage Language, and Bilingual Education Research Association (MHB) and Japan Association for Research into IB Education.
Mr. Stephen Okyne (United States) – PYP (Grade 4), Well-Being Coordinator
2011 – present
Mr. Okyne is from New York. He has a Bachelor of Science (Behavioral Science) and a Masters of Science degree in Education which includes New York certification for grades 1-6. He has worked in public schools in the US and in Japan. He is a dedicated, resourceful and goal driven professional educator with a solid commitment to the social and academic growth and development of every student. Mr. Okyne enjoys listening to music, gardening, basketball and a good game of football, American of course! Although he is not a great cook, he does like to experiment and try new dishes. He likes to travel and his journeys have taken him to Taiwan, Korea, Mexico, Ghana, Thailand and England among other places. Mr. Okyne enjoys meeting new people and exploring different cultures.
Mr. Ian Woollard (United Kingdom) – Learning Support, PYP Coordinator, Vice Principal (Elementary School)
2013 – present
Mr. Woollard graduated from the University of Leeds (UK) with a distinction and honours in BA Chinese (Major) and Politics (Minor). After Leeds, he undertook a Master’s degree in International Development at the London School of Oriental and African Studies, completing a Master’s dissertation on education and economic development in Rural China. He completed his teaching qualification at the University of Cumbria (UK) and has since added a postgraduate certificate in Special Needs education. Ian was attracted to the IB Programme because of its strong emphasis on responsible international mindedness and social action. His professional interest in teaching remains tightly aligned to his belief that education should be emancipatory and have the capacity to effect positive social change. Ian has lived and worked in the UK, Romania, India and China and is enjoying his time in Japan. He is married to Ms. Ayumi Woollard. They have two children, Sora and Haru.
Head of School
Ms. Shaney Crawford (Canada) – Principal
2008 – present
Ms. Crawford is originally from Canada. She has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) in Language and Linguistics from Queen’s University (Canada), a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) from Charles Sturt University (Australia), and a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Tsukuba (Japan). She has received several academic awards including the Governor General’s Academic Medal for highest standing graduate in her high school, an annual provincial scholarship and a one-time scholarship for high standing in her faculty at Queen’s University, a Monbukagakusho (MEXT) Scholarship to pursue graduate studies in Japan, and an award for her master’s thesis at the University of Tsukuba. She has completed various PYP workshops (Pedagogical Leadership in the PYP in 2011, Making the PYP Happen in 2010 and 2011, Investigating Inquiry in 2019, Making Space for Learning in 2020), MYP workshops (Delivering the MYP in 2011, Global Contexts in 2015, Approaches to Learning in 2016), DP workshops (DP for Administrators in 2014, Academic Honesty in 2016, Librarians in 2016, TOK for subject teachers in 2017, Role of the Supervisor in the Extended Essay in 2018) and cross-programme workshops (Governance in 2016, Creating Inclusive Classrooms in 2017). She has also attended job-alikes and visited many of the IB schools in Japan, and a number of schools in Hong Kong, to observe classes and learn more about their IB implementation. She has passed Levels 3, 2, and 1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, Levels 9, 8, 7, 6, and 5 of the Japan Kanji Aptitude Test, and Levels 7, 6, 5 and pre-4 of the Japanese Language Examination. Ms. Crawford originally came to Japan in 1995, and has lived in Tsukuba since 2002. She has been involved with Tsukuba International School since 2004, she joined the staff in 2008, and she has led the school since 2011. She served as the Vice President of the Japan Council of International Schools from 2012 to 2021 and is currently serving as the Treasurer of that organization. She has also participated in several governmental and non-governmental committees at the city, prefectural, and national level in Japan.