About Hokkaido International School
HIS Specials Teachers
HIS is pleased to introduce the teachers and staff for the 2015 - 2016 academic year:
Celia Lopez Escribens - Spanish
Hola! I am the Spanish teacher at HIS. I was born and grew up in Peru and graduated with a degree in Meteorological Science from the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Lima. In 1995 my husband and I moved to Japan to pursue further studies and I completed a Master’s Program at Hokkaido University. I have been teaching Spanish at HIS since 2008, and also at Sapporo Medical University since 2005. My family and I have made Sapporo our home and we very much enjoy living here. Our children, Enrique and Daniel, are students at HIS.
Kathleen Riggins - Librarian
My husband and I are from the United States, but we have been living in Sapporo for 40 years. For the past 19 years I've been serving as the librarian at HIS. I deeply enjoy helping the students find the information they need and good literature they enjoy.
Kirin Sugino - Music
I am a HIS alumni and a proud member of the Class of 2010! I went to the U.S. for 5 years and graduated this May with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Westminster Choir College of Rider University. My passion is singing in choirs, and I am currently learning how to play the guitar and the Japanese taiko. I am so grateful to be living my dream of being a teacher!
Certificate: Montana Teaching License (K-12 Music), still pending.
Saeko Nara - Japanese
Saeko Nara is a native of Hokkaido. She holds an MA in TESOL an a BA in Sociology both from Seattle Pacific University in Seattle, Washington, She is also a certified teacher for Japanese as a foreign language. She has taught university accredited Japanese courses at a language school in Seattle, and was a teaching assistant and the language lab tutor at North Seattle Community College. Previously, she taught English as a foreign language as well as the TOEIC/TOEFL prep courses at language schools in Sapporo.She worked as a full-time Japanese teacher at HIS 2003-2005, and is a part-time teacher since 2007. She currently teaches K-12 Japanese at HIS.
Yumi Miyatake - Japanese and ELL
After graduating university with a bachelor in education with K-12 teaching licenses in Japan, Yumi worked as an English teacher at a high school in Hokkaido. She also holds a teaching license for Japanese as a Foreign Language and experienced working as a Japan Outreach Coordinator sharing Japanese cultures and language at the University of Alabama in the U.S. She has been teaching Japanese language and ELL from 2015. Yumi enjoys cooking and traveling during her free time.
Gergana Marinova - Art, Math and ELL
My name is Gergana Marinova and I am the Elementary Art, Secondary Math and ELL support teacher at HIS. My husband, Mark Erickson and I have been teaching internationally for the last five years. Before we left our home in Colorado for the thrill of International living, I was working in a professional design office as a Landscape Architect. I was born and grew up in Bulgaria and graduated with a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Forestry, Sofia. Arts and Mathematics have been the building blocks of my education and career for years. Nature and the outdoors are my true passions and what has shaped my life and made me who I am today. Coming to Hokkaido brings it all together! I am looking forward to a great year of learning and adventures together!
Mark Erickson - Middle and High School Art & Outdoor Leadership
My name is Mark Erickson and I have a BA in Fine Arts and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction. For the last 19 years I’ve taught a wide range of subjects such as outdoor education, fine arts, adventure sports, cultural studies, and elementary education. I’ve written art and cultural studies curriculum for schools along with chairing school accreditation teams. My family and I have lived in Colorado, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, and China. I look forward to sharing my passion for art and the outdoors with my students this year.
Claire Yao - ELL
Claire Yao was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She holds a BA in Education and a TESOL certificate from the University of Toronto, as well as a BA in International Development Studies & Comparative Political Science from McGill University.
Claire spent the first 10 years of her career creating and leading arts-based educational programs for youth and staff in non-profit organizations, with a focus on newcomer/refugee and mental health issues. She is co-author of the Educator's Equity Companion Guide, and her first collection of poetry, Flesh, Tongue, will be published in October 2015.
Joseph Tomasine - ELL
Joseph was born and raised in the United States of America and calls Massachusetts his home. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Language & Literature from the University of Massachusetts, and a Master of Arts in Teaching - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) from the University of Southern California. Joseph is certified to teach English as a Foreign Language in the prefecture of Hokkaido and is working towards an ESL certification in the USA. He loves to spend time with his wife and two children. Joseph enjoys reading, food and comedy in his free time.
Yutaka Sugino - Music
I have been teaching K to 12 music for more than 30 years in international schools in Singapore, Japan, and Egypt. Although I am getting physically old, I have never been tired of sharing the gift of music to my students.
Music touches your heart and soul. It brings you the world beyond the words can explain. Are you ready to explore music with me?