We are proud to have a team of experienced and dedicated educators from around the world as our faculty at UWC ISAK Japan.
Selected from among hundreds of applicants for their understanding of and enthusiasm for our unique leadership program and our shared UWC mission, 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, our team of multilingual, talented and internationally-savvy staff cover a wide variety of roles and responsibilities at the school. The breadth and depth of our staff’s accomplishments mirror our commitment to diversity and service. Many of our staff have been with our school since long before its opening, and feel a strong personal stake in the school’s success.
Dr. Bigler brings twenty years of experience as a secondary and university educator to bear on her college counseling practice. Prior to joining UWC ISAK Japan, 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.
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 UWC ISAK Japan 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.
Advisory Program Coordinator, Interfaith Program Coordinator, G10 CAS 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.
Humanities, Global Politics
Mr. Earwood attended university in the United States and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education; he is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in International Relations and Affairs. Prior to joining UWC ISAK he taught in Jordan, Austria and the US. Mr. Earwood has extensive experience within the IP curriculum, having taught DP Global Politics and TOK as well as MYP Humanities. Fascinated by politics, he encourages his students to view political issues from various perspectives. In his free time, he enjoys biking, hiking, and spending time with his wife.
Before coming to UWC ISAK, Mrs Earwood taught in Jordan and Austria. In addition to teaching, she brings extensive knowledge working within residential life and outdoor education. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sport and Adventure Recreation through Bedford University before going on to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education through Nottingham University. In Austria, she served as assistant boarding house mistress of a girls boarding house. At UWC ISAK, she plans to use her previous experience to enhance the health and wellbeing of students within residence.
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.
Librarian, EE Coordinator
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.
Assistant Manager/Office of Admissions, 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 UWC 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.
Spanish, 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.
Global Politics, TOK
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.
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.
Office of Facilities
Prior to joining UWC ISAK Japan, Mr. Hadashi worked 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 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!
Office of Academic Affairs
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 UWC 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.
Art, CAS Coordinator
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..
Manager of Facilities
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 UWC ISAK Japan because she resonated with the school’s philosophy on diversity and she feels passionate about supporting student to become catalysts for positive change.
Office of Admissions
Through working for a local radio station, FM Karuizawa, where she learned much about ISAK, 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.
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.
Office of Academic Affairs
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 honoured to be involved with a school that has the potential to inspire innovation in education and develop and empower the individual in the interests of advancing positive changes in the world.
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.
Office of Facilities
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 UWC ISAK Japan and his goal is to make sure that the campus is clean and safe for everyone who lives and works here.
Susan King-Lachance comes to ISAK with over thirty years of theatre and English teaching experience. In the past twenty- five years, she has taught in Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey. For many years Susan was involved in the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) and led theatre festivals and workshops in several continents, as well as teaching IB Theatre and serving as an IB examiner. She has experience as an ELL teacher and currently gives extra support to students as they pursue their studies here at ISAK.
Director, Marketing & Communications
After spending nearly a decade in Tokyo managing global communications programs for some of the world’s highest profile businesses, Dean Kirkness moved to Karuizawa with his family to put down roots in the idyllic Japanese countryside. He became interested in working with UWC ISAK Japan after learning about the school’s vision and grasping its potential to be a beacon in education to Japan and the world. Dean is motivated by helping the school and its students discovery their own stories and the means with which to tell them. In his spare time, Dean dabbles in coffee roasting, sake imbibing, and Japanese woodworking, though not necessarily in that order.
Office of Accounting
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. Knight brings over 10 years of international experience as an educator and counselor to UWC ISAK Japan. She began her career in education as a JET in Minamimakimura, and most recently worked at Makuhari Junior and Senior High School (Chiba) where she led the 7th and 8th-grade Returnee Language Arts courses and the Overseas College Counseling Program. Ms. Knight received a Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Studies from the University of Notre Dame and she holds a Master in Education and Curriculum Development. As a MEXT Scholar, Ms. Knight attended Tokyo University of Foreign Studies and earned a Certificate in Japanese Language Education. She enjoys using her expertise in international education to support students as they make confident life choices and plan a successful path toward university.
Office Manager/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 began working at UWC ISAK in 2014 and wishes she could have attended 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.
Assistant Manager of Technology
Ms. Koido brings an extensive background in web content design, marketing and project management to the UWC ISAK technology department. Prior to joining UWC 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.
Head 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, Ms. Kono 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, Ms. Kono 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 has worked full-time for the school since 2011.
Office of HR/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 UWC 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.
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.
Deputy Head of School
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.
After enjoying successful stints at International School Manila and Taipei American School, Ms. Lin joined UWC ISAK to pursue the school’s mission to cultivate transformational leaders through whole-person education. Herself a lifelong learner, Ms. Lin is currently pursuing a PhD in Educational Technology at Walden University. In her spare time, she is just as likely to be wearing scuba gear as hiking boots, unless she’s already consumed by a good book.
Office of Academic Affairs
In addition to speaking four languages, Ms. Lopes brings a wealth of experience to UWC ISAK Japan. 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!
Office of Development/Assistant to Head of Operations
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.
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.
Activities Director, Music
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.
Deputy Head of School
Dr. McGregor holds a PhD in cultural history from the UEA. There he was inspired by the university’s motto to ‘Do Different”. His philosophy is that education should transcend borders and boundaries, striving to help us realize that people are people through other people. Alex joined UWC ISAK Japan from UWCSEA East in Singapore, where he was the Head of History. He was drawn by our promise to inspire transformational leaders: stewards empowered to give voice to the voiceless and hold power to account. Alex has currently published two history books exploring identity, ideology and art. He is happiest at the theatre, traveling to new destinations, watching a bit of Star Trek and locked in conversation.
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.
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!
Prior to joining the faculty at UWC ISAK Japan, Ms. Mimuro taught science at UWC Maastricht. She brings deep IB experience to UWC ISAK, having previously served as a biology examiner and moderator for the IBDP. She has also served as principal examiner for Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology (A Level) for a leading exam board in the UK. Ms. Mimuro is passionate about Aikido and enjoys participating in the UWC ISAK Japan martial arts activity.
Sciences, Science Department Chair
Mr. Murphy is a UWC graduate and former science faculty member at both UWC Pearson and UWC Mahindra Colleges. In addition to teaching science, Mr. Murphy is also an IB science examiner. He is passionate about environmental sustainability, and he enjoys participating in outdoor education and residential life.
Director of Development
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 UWC ISAK Japan 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 joined the school with the desire to influence the Japanese education system and also have a positive impact on the world.
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.
Office of Development
Ms. Okada spent her early childhood in Los Angeles, where she naturally learned to accept diversity, including cultural and racial differences. After moving back to Japan during high school, she experienced a shocking cultural gap in society, which often caused her to ponder why people aren’t simply accepted as they are. Ms. Okada hopes for true positive change in the world, and is supporting UWC ISAK Japan while raising two children. She graduated from Keio University and enjoyed an interesting career in finance and PR/marketing before joining UWC ISAK Japan. She is a self-described foodie, chef and golfer.
Director of Enrollment and Financial Assistance
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 began working for the school in 2012. 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!
Manager of Academic Affairs/Compliance
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.
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.
Office of Facilities
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.
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.
Director of Admission
Ms. Sprado grew up in rural Alberta Canada. She earned a B.A. degree in Global Development Studies from the University of Alberta and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree. Prior to joining UWC ISAK Japan, Ms. Sprado worked at the University of Alberta, Acadia University and Brock University, most recently as Relationship Manager, Africa and Latin American Markets. She is passionate about the UWC model and excited to work alongside peers who also embrace the UWC philosophy. When not at her desk, Ms. Sprado loves being outside — hiking, kayaking, swimming, jogging and camping. She enjoys working with students and helping them prepare for personal growth and future successes, however that may be defined.
Manager 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 UWC ISAK Japan project has enabled Mr. Suzuki to achieve this goal!
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 UWC students, and is excited to help them realize their potential through good health.
Biology, Mindful Self Discipline, Leadership Program Coordinator
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.
School Counselor & Pastoral Care
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.
Chemistry, Outdoor Education Coordinator
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.
Mr. Underwood has extensive experience in teaching English Literature and English as a Second Language. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales and a Master of Teaching from the University of Tasmania. Before coming to UWC ISAK Japan, he taught in rural Western Australia and Hiroshima International School. An enthusiastic writer, Mr. Underwood believes in the value of creativity as a means of self-expression and to make positive change in the world. When not in the classroom, Mr. Underwood enjoys cycling, hiking, and spending time with his three daughters.
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.
Manager of Summer School/Office of Admissions
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. In addition to her admissions work, Ms. Wada has played a large role in the UWC ISAK Japan summer school program.
Assistant Manager/Office of Admissions
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 enjoys being be part of the diverse and talented staff working at UWC ISAK Japan.
Communications and Marketing
Ms. Watanabe met school founder, Lin Kobayashi in 2011, and was asked to join her journey to start ISAK. Ms. Watanbe has experience overseeing marketing and communications at international organizations and companies such as IDEO, and now focuses her expertise on communicating the values of UWC ISAK Japan through traditional and social media. Ms. Watanabe enjoys spending time with her infant daughter and cooking and pilates when time allows.
Communications and Marketing Associate
Ms. Zainal recently graduated as a member of the inaugural class at Yale-NUS College with a degree in Psychology. During her four years in college, she worked at the Admissions Office and the Writers’ Centre, managed the student-run café, and also found time to be the resident cat lady. She was drawn to UWC ISAK Japan because of her strong belief in the school’s educational philosophy, which she finds largely similar to her positive experiences in college. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading and watching Netflix.