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Team

JOSE & MAEGAN DIAZ

FOUNDERS

 

Jose Diaz: M.A. Theological Studies (The University of the Holy Land, Jerusalem)

Maegan Diaz: B.A. Education (Moody Bible Institute, Chicago)

Jose and Maegan Diaz have over 10 years of teaching and tutoring experience in 4 nations, and have been part of several successful educational and community startups in Asia and America. They are the directors of YWAM Oita and are founding Hinoki Academy. 

RHONDA SOMMERS-HARRIS

ACADEMIC ADVISOR

 

M.A. Educational Leadership (Trinity Western University, Vancouver B.C.)

Mrs. Sommers-Harris has over 40 years of Christian education experience. She has served in Japan for over 35 years. Currently she is pioneering International Christian School (ICS), a ministry of Youth With A Mission, serving missionary children in Japan. ICS creates systems of relational, academic and spiritual support for families. She champions educational community as a context for relationships based on Christ's love.

 

JOHN PATRICK PAZDZIORA

ACADEMIC ADVISOR

 

Ph.D. in English Literature (University of St. Andrews, Scotland)

Dr. Pazdziora is a professor at The University of Tokyo (TODAI). His current research considers children's culture from the 19th century to the present. He has over 10 years' experience in higher education teaching English through literature in China and Japan. Dr. Pazdziora is currently principal investigator on a Japanese government-funded project studying representations of disability in Victorian children's books. He brings his experience of English foreign-language curriculum, multilingual pedagogy and the educational needs of third-culture children to our team as we form a groundbreaking curriculum that values children and literature.

 

EMILY KUSUHARA

CULTURAL & ACADEMIC CONTRIBUTOR

 

School of Worship and Transformation (Youth With A Mission, Tokyo)

Emily has served as a volunteer in Hokkaido, Alaska and Indonesia. Emily is Japanese-American and grew up in Japan. Her interest in alternative education led her to join our team as a developer. Her first-hand experience as a bilingual third-culture kid has informed our use of both languages. Her love of history, science, and handiwork has greatly enriched the curriculum and daily rhythms.

 

MARINA KAWASAKI

CULTURAL & ACADEMIC CONTRIBUTOR

 

B.S. Social Sciences (Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University, Beppu, Oita)
 
After graduation Marina lived on Mt. Fuji as an inn keeper, was a barista in New Zealand, and was staff at an alternative school in Tokyo. Marina is holistically minded from a Christian perspective of the whole person. She gathers insightful, whimsical and practical  activities and resources for integration at the academy. She brings her passion for other cultures and nature discovery to our seasonal and phenomenological unit studies.

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