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HIS NISEKO Teachers & Staff
HIS Niseko is pleased to introduce our dedicated teachers and staff.


Elementary School

School Administrator 

Mr. Barry Mernin

Barry Mernin is a professional educator who values lifelong learning. Barry participated in summer workshops with Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, directed by Lucy Calkins. He earned a master’s degree in Mathematics Instruction. He obtained a leadership certificate from the Principal’s Training Center for International Educators. Barry received a vast amount of professional development in curriculum development, educational pedagogy, and educational technology. He is devoted to his wife, Naomi Noda, and to his son, William Taiga Mernin.

Early Years Teacher

Ms. Lola Lai

This is Lola's second stint and fourth year in HIS Niseko. She was captivated and riveted by the unfathomable amount of learning opportunities one could provide a young learner in the enchanting surrounds of Niseko. Finding a point of intersection between her image of the child and the freedom to design intentional learning experiences inspired by the Reggio Emilia pedagogy, she returns into the welcoming embrace of the Niseko community, excited to explore and discover the world with your child. She believes the way to constructing a strong foundation for lifelong learning is to consistently quench the thirst for learning herself, for one can only inspire when they are inspired. Lola has taught in international schools in Singapore, Cambodia and Turkey as an Early Years educator. Her passions in life has also brought her to live and work in South Africa, Thailand and most recently, the Maldives. Apart from being a certified Early Years educator, Lola is also a qualified safari field guide and a scuba diving instructor. She gets incredibly excited if you talk with her about ethology, entomology, wildlife and marine conversation, anthropology, David Attenborough, human rights issues and road trips off the beaten track. She promises to foster your child's learning and growth by marveling, discovering, exploring, loving and appreciating life in Niseko with them. Lola deeply believes that this world will be a better place if every child is equipped with the ability to always grow in love, kindness, curiosity and with a sense of wonder.

ELL Teacher  EY Assistant

Ms. Emily Atkinson

Emily Atkinson graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a first class degree in Japanese Studies. During her studies she spent a year abroad studying at Kyoto University where she furthered her proficiency in the Japanese language. Whilst in Kyoto she spent most evenings teaching English to Japanese children which she greatly enjoyed. As a child, Emily had been immersed in a broad assortment of cultures having spent most of her life in Malaysia and further yet having been brought up by a mother who is Japanese and a father who is British. Emily has always been naturally drawn to working with children and wishes to continue learning from the influential teachers at HIS in hopes of becoming a full time teacher herself one-day.

Kindergarten - Grade 2 / Cultural Exchange Coordinator

Mr. Merek Sinclair

Australian Mr Sinclair first graduated with Honours in Asian Studies at Adelaide University specialising in Japanese language, before also studying in Japan at Kansai Gaikokugo University. After graduating he became an ESL teacher in Japan, and has taught at many schools across Sapporo and throughout all year levels. He competed professionally both nationally and internationally in ballroom dance and undertook his primary teacher classroom teaching certification while in Japan. He is currently undertaking a Master of Education degree and this is his sixth year in the HIS Niseko community. 

MP3 Teacher

Mr. Andrew Wanner

Mr. Wanner is newly arrived MP3 teacher. He earned his post-baccalaureate teaching licensure for grades K-6 through the University of West Florida after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish from Northern Arizona University. He is currently in his 8th year of experience teaching at the elementary level. He has previous experience with both the British and American curriculum, teaching in schools in Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. Andrew is joined in Niseko by his wife Shinta, and daughter Braelyn.

When he is not teaching, Andrew enjoys the outdoors and is an avid fisherman.

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