St. Michael's International School


James Grimsby
Deputy Head/Learning Enrichment Coordinator

This is my seventh year working at St. Michael’s International School and living in the wonderful city of Kobe. I have had the pleasure of teaching Year 1 and Year 3 at the school, but currently hold the position of Deputy Head. In addition, I am responsible for coordinating the wide-range of Learning Enrichment programmes completed each year. Outside of school hours, my time is divided between my family and attempting to stay fit – not easy in a land with such great food!

Mairi Fraser
 Early Years Teacher / Key Stage 1 Coordinator

I am the Early Years Teacher at St Michaels, teaching a combined class of Nursery and Reception age children.  I am from Scotland where I also studied and got my teaching certification and have more recently received my Masters in Education.  I joined St Michaels in 2012. Prior to joining St Michael's  I taught  in an International Early Years School in Seoul for  6 years working with children at various stages of  the Early Years.  I strive to create a rich, fun learning environment where your children feel safe to explore new skills and concepts and foster a vision of themselves as learners that will stand them in good stead through their life. I believe that parents and teachers are partners in the development of your children’s potential and I look forward to working together with your children on this journey of exploration and learning.

Akiko Nakagawa
Teaching Assistant Early Years

I've working at St. Michael's since 2006. I studied Childcare and Education in England and I have been working in Early Years in England and Japan for over 15 years now. Recently, I completed a pediatrics course in Japan and England.  I love travelling and visiting my friends in other countries during my holiday.


Fusako Lang
Part-time Teaching Assistant  Early Years / Part-time Japanese Teacher

I started working at St.Michaels in 2012. Before that, I have been a Japanese teacher at an American public elementary school for four years. This year I am working in the Eary Years class with Ms.Fraser and also as a Japanese teacher for Non-Native speakers. I truly enjoy working with lovely students, friendly parents and fun-loving colleagues of St.Michaels. In my free time, I love to read, dance, and hang out with my family who also enjoy life in Kobe.

Alex Timmis
Year 1 Class Teacher

I am now in my sixth year at St Michael's. I first arrived in Japan 23 years ago, attending international schools in Tokyo and Yokohama as well as university in Osaka so I consider very much Japan as my home. I love to teach children of all ages and particularly enjoy offering sporting and creative club activities to St Michael's children from Nursery to Year Six. In my holidays I like to travel all over the world as well as visiting my family back in the UK. While in Kobe I love trying to get fit but this is made difficult by my appreciation of delicious Japanese cuisine. I have a passion for music from brand new electronic music  to original soul and disco records. I'm really looking forward to the year ahead teaching Year One and the challenges and experiences it will bring.

Kumiko Kamatsuka
Teaching Assistant Year 1

I have been working at St. Michael's since 2004, teaching from Nursery to Year One.  Previously, I have also taught at Osaka International School.  Having completed my Early Childhood teacher training in California, I am licensed to teach children aged up to five.  I am also certified to teach music based on Music Rhapsody programme.   


Clare Lauritzen
Year 2 Class Teacher

I am a Maths graduate, with teaching experience in England, Singapore, Kathmandu, Berlin and Kobe. I joined the St. Michael’s community in 2010 and have enjoyed getting to know the students and parents over the past few years. I love the variety of working with primary age children, from teaching Handwriting and Maths, to setting up Science investigations and being creative in Art. Exploring new places gives me great inspiration and am happy to be in such an exciting part of the world. My hobbies include swimming, reading and walking the mountain trails, when the weather is kind.

Pia Orum
Teaching Assistant Years 2

I started working at St. Michael's in 2005. My time at St. Michael's has been some of the most positive years of my professional life. In the time that I've worked here I've met so many wonderful children, families and colleagues. Seeing the students' smiling faces every day, I feel proud of the future generation we are helping to shape.  I was born in Vancouver, Canada which is often compared to Kobe as we also have mountains and a beautiful port. Kobe is a delightful city that's easy to get around and I find it a very comfortable place to live. I have lived here since 2002, though originally I had only planned on staying for a year! Fortunately, once or twice a year I am able to go back to Canada to see my family. My mom is also fond of Kobe and has visited many times.

Sally Tong
Year 3 Class Teacher

This is my third year at St. Michael’s International School. As well as teaching in Norwich City, my hometown in the UK, I have also had the opportunity to teach in Ecuador in the past. My favourite thing about teaching is to see students grow in confidence and to understand that they have the ability to achieve their best in anything they put their mind to. Living and working in Kobe has allowed me to engage in some of my favourite pastimes, such as shopping, eating, relaxing with a book and my first love – travelling.  I can’t wait to get to know my new Year Three class, as I’m sure that they will be as excited as I am to learn and work together this year!

Sarah Reynolds
Year 4 Class Teacher and Key Stage 2 Curriculum Coordinator

I started teaching at  St. Michael's International School  in 2012 and I am excited and overjoyed to be in Japan. I am originally from Birmingham in the UK and have been teaching for eighteen years. I previously worked in Dubai, UAE, in several international schools and loved my experiences there. I have two roles here at SMIS; firstly being the Year Four teacher and secondly being the curriculum coordinator for Key Stage 2.
I am honoured to be part of a team committed to striving for excellence in all. In my classroom there is always a positive atmosphere in which I inspire, motivate and challenge each child with high esteem. In my eyes “every child is a star with dreams as high as the sky.” I am strongly committed to being a life-long learner and I hope to foster this notion within my students.

Avani Shah
Teaching Assistant Year 3 & 4

I was born in India, but I have always lived in Kobe. I enjoy reading and watching movies. This is my sixth year working at St. Michael's International School. I am very lucky because I get to experience St. Michael's through the eyes of a teacher, alumni and as a parent.


John Aspinall
Year 5 Class Teacher / IPC Coordinator

This is my fourth year at St Michael's International School. I am excited about the year ahead and looking forward to another fun year of learning, especially when using our topics from the International Primary Curriculum. I love Japan and have lived in Fukuoka, Kyoto and Mie Prefecture before settling here in Kobe. At weekends, I enjoy spending time with my family, playing the piano, riding my mountain bike and catching up on the football.


Marcel Peñarroja
Year 6 Class Teacher

 I come from London, the capital of the United Kingdom.  I am now going into my ninth year of teaching and I began teaching at St. Michael's International School in 2010.  I thoroughly enjoy working and living here in Japan, particularly in Kobe.  One of my most favourite experiences so far has been was when I saw the Sumo Basho last March.  My interests include swimming, cooking, travelling and football (soccer to some of you.)


Jasmine Shallcross
Teaching Assistant Year 5 & 6

Hi my name is Jasmine Shallcross and I come from Wales in the United Kingdom. I have been working in education for 6 years now, in the UK and also here in Japan. This is my second year working at St. Michaels International and I am the Teaching Assistant for Years 5 and 6. I am really looking forward to the year ahead; getting to know new children and helping SMIS children to achieve their goals in a fun and exciting way. This is my fourth year in Japan; I feel very at home and settled here in Kobe. I come from a creative background and enjoy using my creativity both in and outside of work. In my spare time I like to cook (and eat out!), travel and spend time with my friends and family.

Gabe Inter
ESOL Teacher

I have been working at St. Michael's International School since 2006 as a teaching assistant and now as the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. In my free time, I enjoy playing sports, watching movies and searching for new Kit Kats! I also enjoy visiting my family and friends back home in Hawaii.

Peter Ho
Music and P.E. Teacher

I started working at St. Michael's in 2005. I have three children and Kobe is a wonderful place in which to raise a family. My children attend St. Michael's International School and I enjoy seeing them educated here every day.  I love all kinds of music and sports but especially jazz and golf!


Steven Lewington
Library and Learning Enrichment  Teacher

I have been working at St. Michael's International School since 2005 when I joined as the Year Two assistant. The following year, I became the Library teacher and I have enjoyed working in that role ever since. Alongside my Library duties, I have also worked as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher, Learning Enrichment teacher and relief teacher. Every day is a pleasure, full of surprises, challenges and opportunities for learning. I love it!

Yoshiko Fujiki
Japanese Teacher

This is my third year teaching Japanese at St Michael's International School. It is an interesting job, and I enjoy teaching from Nursery to Year 6. I used to teach Key Stage 1 classes at an independent school in Wimbledon. Prior to my departure to the UK, I was working at the British School in Tokyo, and it was there where my interest in the British education system developed and I began to pursue a teaching career in the UK.


Ahmed Aljonaid 
Saudi Arabia
ICT Director

I have been in St. Michael's since 2005 and have started my new role as the ICT Director in 2012.  I hold a master Degree in Computer Science from the USA and a Ph.D in Science from Japan.  Away from work,  I enjoy spending time with my wonderful wife Karla and precious son Ali-Kyle, especially outdoors—playing, visiting new places and learning together. I also enjoy fixing small mechanical or electronic devices, programming, working with metals and woods, reading, and learning new languages. Not everyone gets to enjoy all this and enjoy their job too, so I feel very fortunate that I am able to have all of this.

Setsuko Taniguchi
School Nurse

I have been in St. Michael's since 2011.  Prior to coming to St. Michael's, I worked at hospitals in Kobe as a nurse/midwife for eight years.  I take pleasure in having days with students full of energy.  In my free time, I enjoy swimming, cooking and playing with my cat and grandson.

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