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    Sarah Jones

    Students call me “Ms. Sarah”

    I grew up mostly in Portland, Oregon with brief stints elsewhere. 

    I received my BA in Psychology and Speech Communications from the UW and my MSEd from Bank Street College in New York before getting my Administrative Certification. I taught 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade for 7 years before teaching middle school for 3 years. Then, I became a Teacher on Special Assignment and helped a variety of schools before becoming an Assistant Principal for 5 years. 

    I am thrilled to be the principal at JSIS because I have the opportunity to support teachers, students and families as we work together to create bi-literate global citizens. 

    I love to bake, hike, play with my niece and nephew, and hang out with a group of kids I mentor.

    Lucy Atkinson, English Teacher, Kindergarten

    Students call me “Miss Lucy”

    So many places! I grew up in Montana, Detroit, Boston, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

    I have a B.S. in Business Finance, with a minor in Economics from Montana State University, an Elementary teaching certificate from UW, and recently I earned my Masters Degree in Literacy from SPU. I've been teaching K/1 for many, many years!

    JSIS has a special atmosphere that comes from the wonderful people (of all ages) who work, play, and learn here. Being a part of this positive, energetic community is why I love coming to work each day. Plus it's FUN!

    I love to play music (bass guitar), travel, cook and read, read read!

    Ashley Bonilla, English Teacher, 1st Grade

    Students call me “Ms. Bonilla”

    I grew up in Arizona.

    I have been teaching Kindergarten and first grade since 2009. I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Arizona. I received my Master's Degree in Curriculum & Instruction with a focus on Autism Spectrum Disorders from Arizona State University. 

    I love the community that has been built here at JSIS. The students, the staff, the parents, and the community are all so supportive and involved. Sharing my love of reading, writing, and learning with my students is the best part of my job! 

    For fun I like to hanging out with my husband & friends, reading, baking, hiking & camping, crafting, and trying new restaurants.

    Maria Buceta, Spanish Teacher, 3rd Grade

    Students call me “Srta. Maria”

    I am from Madrid, Spain.

    I have a Law Degree from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and a teaching certificate from Antioch University of Seattle. Also, at the moment I am a student in a Teaching Spanish as a Second Language Masters Program with the UNED University of Spain.

    I love working with elementary school students and being able to teach them in my own language. I believe that the language is a window into the culture, and learning a second language offers a global perspective of the world.

    I like cooking, reading and going for walks.  

    Karol Franz, English Teacher, 3rd Grade

    Students call me “Ms. Karol”

    I have lived in Seattle since high school.

    I attended Seattle University for my Masters In Teaching.

    The staff and community are the best!

    I enjoy biking, reading, writing, gardening, swimming, hiking, and hanging out with my family.

    Kathleen Gillespie, Librarian

    Students call me “Ms. Kathleen”

    I am from Montana.

    I have a Masters in Teaching with endorsements in Special Education, History, and Library Media. I began my teaching career as a classroom teacher. Then spent several years as a teacher supporting students with learning disabilities. For the past decade, I've worked as a School Librarian. I love my job supporting teachers with their classroom explorations and connecting children to great books. Victor Hugo's quote "To learn to read is to light a fire" is my mission for every child who enters the JSIS Library.

    I enjoy coming to work everyday because I work with an amazing staff. I also love the JSIS students and families - especially putting good books in the hands of children.

    I like to run, hike and read, of course!

    Marianne Hudson, English Teacher, 3rd Grade

    Students call me "Ms. Hudson"

    I grew up in Chicago, Bellingham, Marysville, Everett, Jamaica, and North Pole, Alaska. I moved to Seattle as soon as I graduated from high school.

    I have a Masters in Teaching and teaching certificate from the University of Washington. I started teaching in 1998 as a substitute teacher. The following year I started teaching at T.T. Minor in the Central District and taught there for eight years. In 2006, I made the move to teach at JSIS!

    I most enjoy the students. I love to see them work out problems, whether academic or social. I enjoy their humor and energy. I also enjoy our staff and families.

    In my free time I love to nap, spend time with my parents, go for walks, and rescue and find homes for homeless cats.

    Kayoko Kasai, Japanese Teacher, 3rd Grade

    Students call me “Kayako sensei”

    I am from Japan.

    I have a MA in Curriculum and Instruction. I also have experience in Japanese immersion programs at ES and HS & regular Japanese program at HS.

    I enjoy working at JSIS because of the harmony with teachers, parents and students.

    I enjoy running, hiking, backpack hiking, skiing, and fun with my friends!!

    Maria Matamala, Spanish Teacher, 5th Grade

    Students call me “Srta. Matamala”

    I am from Osorno, Lakes region, Chile.

    I attended Universidad de Los Lagos for a 5 year long bachelor's degree in teaching. In 2008, I was awarded a Chilean government scholarship to complete a semester at the University of Montana in Missoula. I started working for Seattle Public Schools in 2011 as an Instructional Assistant in Dunlap Elementary, Maple Elementary and Concord International School. In 2012 I joined JSIS.

    I love working in JSIS because of the amazing people that make it real, highly qualified teachers, hardworking families, devoted students and an amazing supporting staff. The immersion program also lets me share my language and culture in a country that by 2050 will have more Spanish speakers than any other country in the world. Es mi granito de arena para esta sociedad.

    I try to do Zumba when I have time. I also enjoy painting and playing board games with friends. I am a cat lover, so I also try to spend time with "Chispa", even though he doesn't approve of the idea most of the time.

    Hiromi Pingry, Japanese Teacher, Kindergarten and 1st Grade

    Students call me “Hiromi sensei”

    I grew up in Tokyo, Japan.

    I have a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and a Master of Arts in Human Development. I have a K-8 teaching certificate, ESL certificate, and Special Ed. certificate. I taught math and science as a volunteer teacher in a secondary school in Kenya for 2 years during college. I worked as an enrichment teacher at kindergarten at TOPS for 3 years before I went back to school to get a teaching certificate. After I taught kindergarten and 1st grade at TOPS for 2 years, I joined JSIS and taught 2nd and 3rd grade for 10 years. I started teaching Kindergarten and 1st grade in 2012.

    I enjoy working at JSIS because I love all the staff and parents who sincerely care about all students. I believe JSIS students are growing up as caring human beings partly because they learn in multilingual and multicultural environment.

    I love to watch any sport for fun. I also love to play any sport.

    Leslie Ramirez, Spanish Teacher, Kindergarten

    Students call me “Srta. Leslie”

    From the time I was four, I was raised in Tacoma, Washington.

    I started as an Instructional Assistant here at JSIS in 2010 and went back to pursue my Master's in Elementary Education and Certification. I started teaching as a Kindergarten immersion teacher in 2014.

    Our awesome staff and students. As a staff, we work together as a team and are strong advocates for our students needs. Our students' perseverance to come every day and learn content in another way language is motivating.

    I love to run and take dancing classes.

    Takako Reckinger, Japanese Teacher, 4th and 5th Grade

    Students call me “Takako sensei”

    I grew up in Tokyo.

    I started teaching at JSIS in 2004, when our very first Japanese language immersion students came into 4th grade. I have my B.A. in Elementary Education at Rikkyo University in Tokyo and I received my Master's degree in Education in Michigan. Before I became to teach at JSIS, I was a customer service rep for United Airlines, a college counselor for Japanese high school graduates who wanted to go to colleges in the US, a Special Ed teacher at public schools in Tokyo, an international program coordinator at the YMCA, and a Special Ed IA for Bellevue school district.

    I enjoy to teach what I have and learn what I don't have yet at JSIS. I also love the staff, students, and community of JSIS who are always trying to be open minded, compassionate, and willing to grow together. I especially LOVE my students' accomplishments at each year's Japan trip!

    I enjoy reading, Taiko drumming, and eating good food with family and friends.

    Heather Wiens, English Teacher, 2nd Grade, Reading Intervention, and ELL

    Students call me “Ms. Heather”

    I grew up in Spokane, Washington.

    I taught English in Indonesia, Spain and Italy for seven years. After that returned to do my Master in Teaching at UW and have taught in Edmonds and Seattle since then.

    I love the international community at JSIS. The emphasis on bilingual education and creating global citizens is why I am so excited to be a part of this learning community.

    I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, eating good food, and getting out to enjoy the city/world.

    Rie Zilly, Japanese Teacher, 2nd Grade and Reading Intervention

    Students call me “Rie sensei”

    I was born in Tokyo, Japan, and grew up in Chiba, which is a suburb of Tokyo.

    I studied English Literature in college in Japan, received Masters in Teaching here in the US. I taught Japanese to young children (0-5) in the immersion setting for five years before I started to teach at JSIS in 2011.

    I truly enjoy teaching students who are lucky enough to be able to learn in this special environment. Teaching in the immersion setting is challenging at times, but it also can be very rewarding. I like to see my students' smiles every day. The parents community has been very strong, and I can always count on their wonderful support system. I appreciate my co-workers who are willing to help me if I need anything. These are the reasons why I love working at JSIS.

    I like to reading, photography, and playing games with my family.

    Harumi Chappel, ELL Instructional Assistant

    Students call me “Harumi sensei”

    I grew up in Tokyo, Japan.

    I graduated from college in Japan and worked as a computer software engineer. After having children I became interested in education, especially teaching Japanese. I opened and ran a Japanese tutoring center for elementary students between 2003 and 2012, and I've been working with JSIS 4th and 5th graders at JSIS since 2005.

    I work at JSIS as an IA. If a teacher is like a classroom father, an IA is like a classroom mother. Teachers have to lead and manage the whole class. I cooperate with the teacher and focus on individual students. I enjoy looking after each student's needs and helping them.

    I love working out and reading books.

    Junko Cole, Japanese Instructional Aide, Kindergarten

    Students call me “Junko sensei”

    I grew up in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

    I graduated from junior college in Japan. I later completed a 420 hr. Japanese Teacher's Training Course at a private language school. I taught Japanese to foreigners working in Japan, and also was an assistant teacher, teaching English to Japanese students at this language school for 3 years. I have been a Japanese IA at JSIS for over 10 years.

    Being Japanese, it is such a pleasure to help teach the Japanese language to my students and to share our culture with them. I enjoy the JSIS community of parents and staff.

    I enjoy salmon fishing from the beach, watching Seattle Sounders games, cooking, and traveling.

    Chika Imanishi, Special Education Instructional Assistant

    Students call me “Chika sensei”

    I grew up in Osaka, Japan. I have lived in Ireland for a year before coming to the United States.

    I received elementary teaching certificate in a college in Japan. Then I transferred and graduated from a US college with BA in art history.

    I love the way the students, teachers and parents work together to make this wonderful school.

    I like walking and reading mystery books.

    Naomi Saavedra, Spanish Instructional Aide

    Students call me “Srta Naomi”

    I am from El Salvador, San Salvador.

    I've had the pleasure of working in Early Childhood Development since 2001. I got my Bachelor in Public Communication and Relations in my country El Salvador. Since moving to the United States, I was able to go to school for Early Childhood Development education.

    Being part of JSIS has allowed me to share my culture with the students and be part of the community. I love work with children.

    I enjoy scrapbooking for fun.


    Elisabeth Brace, ELL (English Language Learner) Teacher

    Students call me "Ms. Elisabeth"

    I am a Washingtonian from Anacortes. 

    My passion for language learning and teaching began after college when I lived and worked in Baja California, Mexico, for three years. Since then, I have worked with adults and children of all ages and various cultural and language backgrounds. I joined the JSIS staff as the ELL teacher in 2006. 

    I enjoy our vibrant community of learners--this is a place where I learn and grow alongside other teachers, students and families. 

    I like to hike, garden, play basketball, outside and explore.

    Annie Chang, Lunchroom Manager
    Patrick Dailey, Special Education Teacher

    Students call me “Mr. Pat”

    I am from Miller, South Dakota.

    After four years in the Marine Corps working as a cryptologist, I went to college in South Dakota to get a B.S. in Special Education. I then taught in South Dakota;Tijuana, Mexico; San Francisco; San Diego; Woodburn, Oregon; and in El Salvador before coming to Seattle to teach special education at Pathfinder Alternative School and finally to JSIS in 1999. Over the years at JSIS, I have taught special education, Spanish, Technology and reading. I also earned a degree from Western Oregon State College.

    I find the whole community very friendly and accommodating. In my role, I am able to spend multiple years with many of the same students and work with all of the teachers. As a result, I would say that the relationships are the most important.

    I like fishing, hiking, running, bicycling, and reading.

    Angie Sterwald, School Nurse
    Connie Olson, Speech Language Pathologist

    Students call me "Ms. Connie"

    I grew up in Seattle. I lived in the Mid-West for 5 years and then returned to my childhood neighborhood. I am a graduate of Franklin High School.

    I attended the University of Washington (GO DAWGS) and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences. I attended Northwestern University in Chicago and have my Masters Degree in Speech and Hearing Science. I have taught in Omaha Nebraska, Lynnwood and Seattle over the past 21 years. I have taught children ages 2 years to 21 years old.

    I love the staff at JSIS! I love being surrounded by so many amazing people from a variety of countries and backgrounds. I love the students at JSIS! It is incredible to watch as you learn and grow in a multilingual environment.

    I enjoy spending time in the Mountains with my family. We like to hike in the summer and ski at Crystal Mountain in the winter. I enjoy watching my children in the fall play soccer and run cross country. When I get a quiet afternoon alone I love to read for pleasure in my favorite green chair.