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HIS Teachers & Staff
HIS is pleased to introduce the teachers and staff for the 2018 - 2019 academic year: 


High School Teachers

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.

David Piazza - Math / Science / Outdoor Education

Dave has been teaching at HIS for over 15 years spread over two stints, first in the mid-nineties and now in the 21st century. During his off-hours, Dave enjoys the outdoors and woodworking. Dave hails from the United States, where he first honed his teaching skills in northern California.


Jared Pangier - Literature
Jared Pangier is from a place colder than Hokkaido but with far less snow. He has spent the greater part of his 20s and 30s residing in the Asia-Pacific part of the world. His undergraduate degree is in Computer Science while his masters is in education, licensed to teach secondary English.

Beyond his love for literature, he loves writing. He is a regular contributor to Powderlife Magazine based out of Niseko and has future aspirations to publish his manuscript about the resiliency and balance of life. Valuing that himself, when he's not teaching, he spends a great amount of time in the mountains with the rest reserved for his beautiful wife and smiling daughter.


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.

Gergana Marinova - Math, Art and Design

My name is Gergana Marinova and I am the Elementary Art, Secondary Math and Secondary Design 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!

Kristin Dixit - Math

I'm originally from Portland, Oregon, and attended the University of Southern California for a BA in Mathematics and Comparative Literature. One planned year in Japan turned into seven (in Oita, Chitose and Sapporo), followed by five in England (home country of my husband, Rakesh), and since 2003, twelve more years in our favorite city, Sapporo. We have two sons, Kiran and Rishi.

I've taught EFL throughout my 19 years in Japan, including six years at local junior high schools. In my free time, I enjoy gardening, cooking, skiing, camping, reading, and genealogy.

Ian Aseltine - Science

Born in Bangkok, I am a "Third Culture Kid," the product of international schools like HIS, now following in the footsteps of my international educator parents. I spent my childhood moving between Thailand, Korea, China, and Nevada (USA). I attended Kalamazoo College in Michigan, where I majored in Chemistry and Psychology. I then moved on to study neuroscience at Northwestern University in Chicago, and spent my early adulthood in Chicago, working in various science and social science laboratories. There I learned first-hand what laboratory research is like -- experience that I happily share with my students. I earned a Master of Education in secondary science education from the University of Illinois before teaching middle school science in Myanmar/Burma for three years. And here I am now in Sapporo! My primary interests (other than science and education!) are scuba diving, singing, and playing the french horn and trumpet.

Laura Harmon - History, AP Capstone, College Advising

Laura originally hails from Texas, but called Chicago her home for about 10 years with some detours in between. She holds a BA in Sociology from the University of Chicago and MS in Education from Northwestern University. Laura became interested in education while working as a tutor and mentor in Chicago neighborhood schools and becoming involved in summer programs for gifted students. After teaching English in France for a year, Laura taught History and Theory of Knowledge at an IB school in Chicago for 3 years before heading abroad again to explore beautiful New Zealand. She is thrilled to be at HIS, amongst a tight-knit and diverse community that encourages her to grow in her practice, all within close proximity to some great hiking!

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