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

tomomisensei Tomomi Flesuras — Youth Program Dean; Teacher, Youth Program Beginner 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.

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.

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.

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 Sense

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 graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Japanese Language and Literature with a secondary emphasis in Buddhism. After graduating, she became a secretary at Ikon Europubs in Tokyo. When she returned to California, she granted the wishes of children with life-threatening conditions at the Make A Wish Foundation, then managed teams of UC Berkeley scholars while facilitating and coordinating Leadership and ESL youth programs for Japanese students with GPIUS. She joined Sakura Gakuen’s Youth Program as the Senior Introductory instructor in 2014. The following year, she joined the Adult Program. Her engaging teaching approach encourages creative thinking during her conversation and grammar activities. Continuously inspired by her students, Mari Sensei seizes every opportunity to learn alongside them and create memories on a rewarding journey together.