Good people doing great work!
Makiko Bortolato graduated from Tokyo Gakugei University with a bachelors degree in elementary education and middle/high school education. During her study to become a teacher, she was interested in Waldorf Education and went to Germany for one year. She studied at Paedagogischen Hoch Schule Freiburg. She taught at public elementary schools in Tokyo for six years before going back to Europe. This time, she received a Rotary Club Scholarship and studied at Waldorf teacher training school in Switzerland for a year. After arriving in the US, Makiko also taught at ENA and tutored Japanese students. With her French husband, she is raising boy and girl twins. Recently, she enjoys performing puppet shows with her friends in Japanese and English. Makiko Sensei is a teacher in the Japanese program.
Ivy Chu graduated from National Changhua University of Education with a bachelors degree in education and has a teaching credential issued by the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. She had been teaching high school students in Taipei City for more than 14 years and earned a Masters Degree in business administration while she was teaching. After coming to the U.S., she started teaching Mandarin Chinese. While volunteering at her daughter’s preschool, she realized how fulfilling working with that age group was. She then studied Early Childhood Education and taught preschool. She is trained and experienced from preschool to high school. Her philosophy of education emphasizes independence, freedom with boundaries and respect for free choices. In her free time, Ivy enjoys reading, baking and hiking. Chu Lao Shi is a teacher in the Mandarin program.
Michelle Estia earned her bachelor’s degree in Education from San Jose State University. She has a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) and has taught elementary students for 9 years in private schools in the bay area. Along with teaching, Michelle also does private tutoring for students in English, reading, and writing. In her free time she enjoys hiking, yoga, and dancing salsa. Miss Michelle is a teacher in the English program.
Kazuko Gold graduated from Kobe Tokiwa College, Chico State University and DeAnza College with degrees in early childhood education and child psychology. She joined the California Subject Matter Project and studied teaching visual arts, literacy and drawing skills aligned with the California K-8 Visual Arts content Standard and Common Core literacy in Technical subjects while She worked at French Gulch-Whiskeytown Elementary School. She brings a wealth of experience working with children of all ages and abilities recently having worked in an inclusion preschool. This has allowed her to adapt her technique to reach every child under her care. Kazuko’s teaching style includes blending dance, music theatre and visual arts in her lessons. Kazuko has worked as a Head Kindergarten Teacher at the Kiyose Yurikago Kindergarten in Tokyo while holding additional responsibilities including curriculum development and staff training and development. She holds a California Certificate of Paraprofessional Teaching, and Teaching Credentials in Japan and is a proud mom of three children! Kazuko Sensei is a teacher in the Japanese program.
Elizabeth Gonzalez earned a masters degree in Finance and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration as well as a degree in early childhood education from Foothill College. She also earned certification for Overseas English Teachers by Cambridge University. She has been teaching ESL from preschool to high school students for 20 years. These studies and experiences prepared her for a 5 year position as the Director of the Language Center in University of the Valley of Mexico in Mexico City. Elizabeth has volunteered, creating and teaching the Art Studio Class and Kinder preparation at First 5 and in the Finance Department at Pathways Hospice. A mother of two young girls who enjoy learning languages as much as their mom. In her free time she enjoys hiking, reading books, sightseeing and playing tennis. She hopes that through her teaching, young children discover that learning a second language is fun. Mrs. Eli is a teacher in the English program.
Edwin Hu graduated from San Jose State University, magna cum laude, with a masters degree in TESOL. He also received his bachelors degree from National Taiwan Normal University with a major in Education and a minor in Applied Chinese Culture and Language. Edwin is experienced for designing both English and Chinese lesson plans and curriculum because of his educational background. He has worked for the British Council in Taiwan as a young learner assistant, and as a writing tutor in the Writing support program for the freshman at SJSU. Edwin also has multiple volunteering experiences that he taught in middle schools in the rural area both in China and Taiwan. In his free time, Edwin enjoys playing basketball with friends and spending time with his wife. Hu Lao Shi is a teacher in the Mandarin program.
Masami Kanamitsu graduated from Saint Monica College in Kanagawa prefecture with a bachelors degree in early childhood education and credentials to teach preschool as well as kindergarten. She began her career at Kensington Taiiku Yochien where she taught preschool. Her passion for outdoor education and communication led her to live abroad in Australia. Upon returning to Japan, Masami Senseii continued her studies in early childhood education and social services. She returned to teaching at Piko House in Yokohama and at Kanigaya Preschool in Kawasaki, teaching children from one to four years old, emphasizing communication and physical development. While raising her two children, Masami Senseii volunteered at preschool and kindergarten in Pacifica, CA. Most recently, Masami has taught special education students in San Mateo. Masami Senseii is continuing her passion to help children learn to communicate. Her active approach helps children develop confidence as they learn through physical activity. Masami Sensei is an administrator and teacher in the Japanese program.
Etsuko Katchi graduated from Kinjo Gakuin Junior College with an Associate of Arts degree in English in addition to a teaching credential for English. She studied English at Spring International language Center for over a year in University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She started teaching at Juku school for 3-9th graders in Hamamatsu, Japan. Then she worked as an English teacher at junior high schools for 5 years. In the U.S., she started working as an assistant program coordinator at Japanese Friendship Garden in San Diego. There she taught Japanese culture to school-aged children. She then worked as a Japanese teacher at Kokugo Gakuen in San Diego for 3 years. She also taught Japanese to 3 -10 years old children as a tutor in Southern California. Etsuko Sensei enjoys spending time with her two boys and husband in her free time. Etsuko Sensei is a teacher in the Japanese program.
Hiromi Knox graduated from San Jose State University, cum laude, with a degree in education concentrating in child and adolescent development. She also earned a liberal arts degree from De Anza College. Hiromi Senseii began her career at Early Horizons where she worked with toddlers and prekindergarten children teaching reading and math. While at Okasan and Me, Hiromi Senseii honed her bilingual teaching skills, helping children to communicate in both English and Japanese. Her warm and patient approach encourages the children to express themselves and gain confidence. Hiromi Senseii’s art background brings a creative flair to her work. Hiromi Senseii worked with both gifted and talented students and special education students while at Graystone Elementary School, teaching math and reading. Hiromi Senseii enjoys relaxing with her three daughters and husband in her spare time. Hiromi Sensei is a teacher in the Japanese program.
Sarah Lao graduated from Jiangmen childhood education normal school and Central Radio and TV University Major Primary Education in China. She had been teaching preschool in Guang Dong China for six years. After coming to the U.S. she started teaching Mandarin Chinese in Montessori environment School for about 12 years. Her Montessori diplomas include – Assistants to Infancy MISD Training Center (Montessori Institute of San Diego) and Montessori Early Childhood Teacher Credential Course (AMS) Montessori Teacher Education Center (Sunnyvale). She is a mother of two children. In her free time, she likes to go hiking and spend time with her family. Lao Lao Shi is a teacher in the Mandarin program.
Janice Lee graduated from National Hsin Chu University of Education with a bachelors degree in Music Education. She has taught elementary students for more than 18 years both in Taipei City and the Bay Area. Janice created and taught curriculum and her service earned the Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Teaching from the Ministry of Education in Taiwan. Janice is a friendly, passionate and disciplined teacher and enjoys working with students from multiple backgrounds and discussing various topics. As a teacher, Janice has the mission is to help students to become curious and passionate, lifelong learners in Mandarin. She hopes students will find as much joy in this journey of exploration as she does. Outside of work, Janice enjoys music, traveling, and reading books. She also likes to spend free time with her family, including two boys who keep her busy. She is also an accomplished classical piano teacher with experience preparing students in CM and ABRSM Exams. Lee Lao Shi is an administrator and teacher in the Mandarin program.
Daniel Martin is a New York-based partner at an international law firm, where his practice focuses on commercial real estate transactions throughout the US. Before attending law school at the University of Michigan, he traveled widely. After graduating from college, he taught English as a Second Language in Tokyo, Japan and later in Chengdu, PRC. Dan is an adviser to the school.
Christopher Nikoloff graduated from Boston University with a degree in philosophy and a masters degree in education. He later earned an MBA from Santa Clara University. Chris has administered at several schools including Head of School at Harker and is currently Headmaster at The American School in Switzerland. Chris is an adviser to the school.
David Pardue graduated from San Jose State University with a bachelors degree in Computer Science and minors in both math and business. Shortly after graduating he started an online company with his close friend. David has lived in the San Jose area his entire life, and has taught math, science, and computer programming professionally for the past 13 years. Mr. Pardue is a teacher in the English program.
Maria Pinlac is an International Educator with extensive experience working at private schools and non-profit organizations around the world. Holding a BA in Information Technology Management from Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario and a Graduate Diploma of Education (with high distinction) from the University of Wollongong, Australia, she has spent over 10 years teaching abroad in Japan, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Australia. She is passionate about enhancing the lives of children through education. Maria currently resides in Los Gatos. In her free time she enjoys doing yoga, hiking, reading books, cooking and exploring beautiful Northern California. Mrs. Maria is an administrator in the English program.
Robert Regan graduated from Boston University cum laude with a masters degree in education and a Division One ice hockey, national semi-finalist. Robert worked in BU’s pilot education program, served on the Board of Trustees at Ecole Bilingue, developed the Returnee curriculum at Shibuya Jr. and Sr. High School, helped establish Tokyo International School, was the founding principal of The Harker English Language Institute and founded Lessons In English. Rob is cofounder and a teacher in the English program.
Tomoko Regan graduated from Waseda University with a degree in English and a teaching credential for English. She taught at Shibuya Makuhari High School in Singapore and Shibuya Jr. and Sr. High School in Tokyo, where she led international field trips to England. She was a volunteer interpreter for The Tamagawa School guest families at The Harker School. She has traveled much of the world and is mother to three, bilingual, bicultural children. Tomoko Sensei is cofounder and a teacher in the Japanese program.
Yasushi Sato graduated from Juntendo University. He is a judo expert of the fifth dan and a coach to Olympic judo wrestlers. He taught at Egodgawa Toride High School and is a senior administrator at Shibuya Jr. and Sr. High School. Satoh Sensei is an educational consultant for curriculum and administration in the Japanese program and partner for a future school in Tokyo.
Yasuko Tsuruike started playing basketball when she was a middle school student. This led her to a basketball career at Hitachi, Ltd – Totsuka, one of the top Women’s Japan Basketball League teams in Japan. After she retired from her basketball, she continued to work at Hitachi, Ltd. After, she decided to go to San Diego and learn a different culture and English for 10 months. After returning to Japan, she taught computer classes from 1st to 6th grade students as a part-time instructor in Osaka which she found very interesting. She decided to earn a teaching credential at Bukyo University, Kyoto Japan. Yasuko worked as a full-time teacher in Osaka Prefecture public elementary school appointed by Osaka Board of Education in Japan for 10 years. She is now so delighted to be at Springbridge International School where all of our students learn Japanese education and culture. With her professional experience, she is hoping to encourage all of her students to have a variety of expression, thought and application through learning and playing with his or her own smile. Yasuko Sensei is an administrator and teacher in the Japanese program.
Brian Whiteley earned his B.A. in History from San Jose State University and holds a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. He has taught elementary and middle school students at other bay area private schools during the last 14 years. In addition to his classroom teaching, Brian is a USPTA-certified tennis pro who has taught students of all ages and skill levels. Brian is also a skilled musician and has offered private music lessons to children and adults over the past two decades. He is proficient in musical styles ranging from classical and flamenco to jazz and rock, and plays instruments as diverse as the piano, guitar, bass, violin, viola, cello, mandolin, ukulele, drums, clarinet and trumpet, and alto saxophone. Brian is a teacher in the English program.