Our Faculty

At Sakura Gakuen we are all dedicated to infusing youth and adults alike with Japanese language skills and culture while maintaining a level of freshness and excitement for the process of learning and materials being learned. We have a team of teachers and staff committed to your success and whose enthusiasm for your achievements is unmatched.

Please meet our staff:

Updates pending


Azumi Pugliani Sensei — Teacher, Youth Program Kindergarten Classes
Azumi Sensei was born in Tokyo and raised in Yokohama, Japan. She came to the United States in 1989. Azumi Sensei has been teaching at Sakura Gakuen since 2010. "As I teach my students, I also grow as a teacher and person." She looks forward to seeing her students each Saturday and meeting new ones each semester. Outside of her teaching responsibilities, Azumi Sensei is busy with her twins; a boy and girl, who are attending high school. Her hobbies include yoga, running and Ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement). Email Azumi Sensei.

tomomisensei Tomomi Flesuras — Teacher, Youth Program Junior Introductory Class
Tomomi Sensei was born in Nagano and raised in Osaka, Japan. She came to the United States in 2014. She was employed at a PR company for 8 years, then found her calling as she started  language school in Japan. She is passionate about teaching and enjoys being a Sensei at Sakura Gakuen. Her hobbies include reading, ballet exercise and traveling. Email Tomomi Sensei.

mariesensei Marie Jansrikesorn Sensei — Teacher, Youth Program Beginning Class
Marie (ma-li-e) Sensei is from Hokkaido, Japan. She enjoy teaching and sharing the Japanese language and culture with students in Sakura Gakuen. Her goal is to make the class a warm, comfortable, and fun learning environment. She’d like to help each student develop an interest and love for the Japanese language and culture. 
Email Marie Sensei. 


Tokiko White Sensei — Teacher, Youth Program Senior Introductory Class
White Sensei grew up in Japan, and after completing her bachelors degree & teaching credential there, emigrated to the UK for English studies, then the East Coast for a Masters degree & now finds herself a long-term resident of Sacramento, where she pursues her passions of piano, chorus, beaded jewelry making, healthy food preparation and of course, teaching the Senior introductory class for middle and high school students here at Sakura Gakuen. Over her years of teaching, she has found that each of her many students has a unique learning style, so her work is always exciting. Her certificates include Kimono Fitting & Tea Ceremony, and her knowledge of Japanese cuisine ensures that some fun cultural elements of Japan will accompany developing language proficiency. She understands that each of her new students is one-of-a-kind, the kind whom she believes can enjoy and progress!  Email White Sensei.

Nelson Maiko Nelson — Teacher, Youth Program Intermediate Class
Maiko Sensei was born in Fukuoka, Japan. She attended school in the Bay Area including California Culinary School in San Francisco. She was a chef, has taught Japanese calligraphy and has attended school for interior design. She enjoys spending time with her husband, son and daughter. Her hobbies include playing sports, gardening, watching movies and cooking. Her classes will benefit from her Japanese culinary skills with some cooking lessons! Email Maiko Sensei.
Nelson Nanako Moriyama — Teacher, Youth Program Advanced Class
Nanako Sensei was born and raised in Osaka, Japan. Before her arrival in Sacramento in 2016, she taught Japanese language in India as well as Japan. She believes that students learn best when experiencing language as part of a larger cultural experience. Thus, she is always on the lookout for fun and creative ways for students to employ their language skills in the real world. She enjoys hiking, travel, movies and San Francisco Giants baseball. Email Nanako Sensei.


Mrs. Thomas — Dean and Teacher, Adult Classes 
Thomas Sensei, California credential teacher, has an excellent sense of communication and has success teaching advanced speakers and non-japanese speakers alike. Thomas Sensei is a walking Wikipedia of knowledge about Japan. If you want to know anything, just ask. She recently retired from teaching at San Juan Unified School District. Email Thomas Sensei.

PhotoTC Mari White Sensei — Teacher, Adult Classes
White Sensei has a wealth of knowledge and freely shares it with her students. She enjoys teaching experienced and non-japanese speakers alike.

TKoga Temari Koga Sensei — Teacher, Adult Classes
Mari Sensei is a teacher for the Adult Program. 

AChisholm Anna Chisholm — Teaching Assistant
Anna san assists Marie Sensei in the Beginning class.
AChisholm Shuka Park — Teaching Assistant
Shuka san assists Azumi Sensei in the Kindergarten classes.