Meet the Officers

The JALT TYL SIG Officers are a bunch of cool people coming from different cultural and professional backgrounds working together to provide support and professional development opportunities to teachers working with younger learners. Our differences make us stronger and we always welcome new team members who share our same goals!

Grant Osterman

Grant Osterman

SIG COORDINATOR

Dr. Osterman has been teaching in Japan since 1993.  Originally from a small Midwestern town in the United States, he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education from the University of Maryland.  After a short hiatus, he completed his doctorate degree from Northcentral University in educational leadership.  Over his career, he has taught at elementary schools, junior high schools, universities, and is an administrator at a private school in Okinawa.  He joined JALT in 1995 and has served in many roles for the Okinawa chapter.  Currently, he is the Okinawa Chapter membership chair and the Teaching Younger Learners Special Interest Group coordinator for JALT.  He is active in JALT functions online and hopes to enjoy monthly professional development trips to Tokyo when COVID-19 is contained.

Kate Sato

Kate Sato

PUBLICATIONS CHAIR (EDITOR)

Kate started teaching TEFL in France in 1988-9. Later she completed the Trinity TEFL Course in Dublin, Ireland. After teaching TEFL in France, London (UK) and Dallas (TX, USA) and Japan, she returned to Japan in 1997. Her teaching experience ranges from teaching the local nursery school to the ‘silver’ NHK age group learners. In 2001 she set up her school for children aged 0-12 which she ran for 15 years before being succumbed full-time into the world of academia and research. She was awarded her MSc at the University of Leicester in Educational Leadership in 2015. 
Away from university, teaching, and research duties you will find Kate quietly pottering around her garden musing on the local fauna and flora, wondering what new plants she can successfully germinate and grow, or simply enjoying a cup of tea while soaking up the fresh air.

Gaby Benthien

Gaby Benthien

PUBLICITY CHAIR

Gaby Benthien (B.Ed., M.Ed. Ed.D.) was born in Germany and immigrated to Australia when she was 12 years old. Gaby began her teaching career teaching Japanese as a foreign language and P.E. at a secondary school in Australia.
However, as an English language learner and immigrant, her interests also lay with teaching English as a foreign/second language. This took her to Japan on a working holiday in 1996, and she spent her time teaching English conversation to a range of age levels. Gaby liked Japan so much, she returned as an ALT in 1999… and has taught and lived here ever since.
Gaby is now teaching a variety of subjects at tertiary level, including primary school English, primary school teaching methodology and cross-cultural understanding. Her research interests include L2 motivation, study abroad and teacher development. She has often attended and also presented at JALT and Tokyo TYL events in the past, and is now the co-chair of Tokyo TYL.
Gaby enjoys any outdoor activity including cycling, hiking and skiing as well as creative pursuits such as pottery and leatherwork.

Nicholas J. Wilson

Nicholas J. Wilson

PUBLICITY CO-CHAIR

Nicholas J. Wilson started his professional career in Italy in 2012 teaching adults after completing the Cambridge CELTA course in Edinburgh, Scotland. He began working with young learners in 2014 after receiving his MA in English Literature. Since 2016 he has been teaching at numerous elementary schools as an ELT in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
Outside of his contributions towards JALT, he also co-manages the ALTTO.net website for ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) in Japan. His command of five different languages has sparked his passion towards comparative literature research, with a keen interest on the influences westernization has had on Japanese Meiji/Taisho writers.
You can find him inside old-fashioned cafés enjoying a good cup of coffee while playing around with his 1970’s Asahi Pentax film camera.

Brittny Okahara

Brittny Okahara

SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR

Brittny was born in the United States and grew up in a tiny town on the border with Canada. She’s been interested in languages ever since she noticed the sounds of French carried over on radio waves. She was homeschooled for most of her childhood and was left to care for her 4 younger sisters. This gave her a natural eye for both child safety and fun. 
Years later, she pursued a degree in Game Art and Animation, but still found herself drawn to young learners. Her senior project was a math game for children. After graduation, she decided to spend a gap year in Japan as an ALT and has never returned. She has taught learners from 18 months to 60 years of age and is currently working as both an after-school English teacher and a part-time preschool teacher in Western Tokyo.
In her free time, she still enjoys making her own video games as well as playing games made by others.