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

PUBLICATIONS CO-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.

Martin Sedaghat

Martin Sedaghat

PROGRAM CHAIR

Martin grew up in San Diego, California, and received his bachelor’s degree in archaeology at UC Berkeley.  After working in Greece, he traveled to Japan through the JET program in 2003, planning to stay for only a year or so.  Of course, that didn’t happen, and he has been living in Niigata prefecture ever since.He has taught as an ALT at the elementary school and junior high school level, and also worked as a full-time homeroom teacher at a private high school.  Currently he is working at an English-intensive preschool and also studying for an MA in TESOL.  Martin joined JALT in 2020 and became the TYL SIG program chair in 2021.  He is particularly interested in how young children acquire language, as well as the design and use of picture books for use in English lessons.At home, he is usually playing video games with his son, planning trips with his family, or walking his dog.

Nicholas J. Wilson

Nicholas J. Wilson

PUBLICITY CHAIR

Nicholas J. Wilson teaches English in public elementary schools in Nagano, and is a Google Certified Educator focused on fostering student’s 21st-century skills through foreign language education.  An active JALT officer, Nicholas also organizes independent professional development opportunities for ALTs including Agorà, a monthly interactive live event as part of the ALT Training Online grassroots initiative.

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.

Marybeth Kamibeppu

Marybeth Kamibeppu

MEMBER-AT-LARGE

Marybeth is from a small-town on Long Island, New York. She always had an interest in travel and other cultures and languages, and her family hosted exchange students from many countries. This allowed her to have short-term homestays in Quebec and Caracas, and eventually led to a semester abroad in Japan during undergraduate work at Colgate University. 

To earn tuition for graduate school, Marybeth returned to Japan for a “couple” of years. After graduate school at the School for International Training (MAT), she taught at the University of Maryland, College Park, intensive English program for eight years. Return to Japan followed and she taught students from age 2 – 70 in the Kanto area. Six years ago Marybeth and her family moved to Hiroshima where a new stage of her teaching career began at Hiroshima International School, a small international baccalaureate (IB) school with students from age 3-19. In addition to teaching English language acquisition, Marybeth is the Middle Years Programme (MYP) coordinator and one of the college counselors. 

Outside the classroom, Marybeth enjoys aerobics, walking outdoors, attending sports events, and watching Netflix. She looks forward to meeting friends and family beyond Zoom when the pandemic is contained.