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

APugliani

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.
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Karin Shaffer Sensei — Teacher, Youth Program Senior Introductory Class
Shaffer Sensei was born and raised in Saitama, Japan.  Before coming to the U.S. in 2006, she worked in the international business business field for nearly 8 years in Tokyo.  She started working at Sakura Gakuen as a sub in 2016 and has been teaching as a Sensei since the 2017-18 Fall Semester.  Teacher is her joy and she is always impressed by her students' passion toward learning Japanese and their diligence.  She provides easy-to-understand and fun learning lessons with visual aides.  Her hobbies include singing, dancing, and crafting.   Email Shaffer 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.
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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.
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Thomas

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 Shuka Park — Teaching Assistant
Shuka san assists Azumi Sensei in the Kindergarten classes.