2019 Executive Committee

Sara Couture

Sara Couture was in Shiga Prefecture for two years, from 2013 to 2015. During that time, she worked as an English Language Teacher in Nagahama and taught grades 1, 2, 5 & 6 in two elementary schools as well as special needs classes. She fell in love with Japanese cuisine, onsen and Urasenke tea ceremony. She participated in many cultural events and enjoyed many camping-biking trips around Japan. Since coming back to Canada, she is an active member of the Montreal Association of Chado Urasenke Tankokai & practices tea every week.

Violaine Roussel-Bongiovanni
Vice-President, Membership and Events

Violaine Roussel-Bongiovanni was an ALT for two years and lived in Kagoshima Prefecture with her husband and son from 2015 to 2017.  She taught all school levels and went to more than 13 schools! During her free time, Violaine drew her intercultural experience threw Manga. She loved being part of the Japanese community and going camping all around Japan.

Monica Phan

Monica spent two years (2016-2018) in the smallest prefecture of Japan, Kagawa. She worked as an English Language Teacher at both elementary school and junior high school. During her time there, she enjoyed countless cultural experiences such as making strawberry daifuku, going to various festivals and attending Nippon Professional Baseball games. Since coming back to Canada, she teaches French to elementary school students (classe d’accueil) and loves to share memories about Japan with them.

Francesca Abbondanza-Bergeron

Francesca Abbondanza-Bergeron was an ALT in Niigata Prefecture for two years, from 2016 to 2018. During this time, she taught at elementary and junior high school levels, she gave a class on French Canadian cooking, took part in the Niigata AJET Musical for the promotion of English through the arts, and worked with her town of Tokamachi to create a promotional video for their International Basketball Tournament. During her free time, Francesca loved to explore her area and enjoy local festivals such as the Kimono Matsuri and Snow Festival.

Thomas Commerford

Thomas Commerford was an ALT in Gifu prefecture for 2 years, from 2016 to 2018. During that time, he worked at two elementary schools and one junior high school. He taught many cultural lessons about Canada both in the schools and in the community. During his free time, Thomas enjoyed skiing in the Japanese Alps, enjoying local festivals and biking around the countryside.

Jessica Shepherd
Senior Advisor

Jessica Shepherd was an ALT in Ehime Prefecture for 4 years, from 2011 to 2015. During that time, she worked in 8 different senior high schools, as well as special education schools. In her free time, she enjoys practicing Ikebana, Iaido, Togei, running, hiking, as well as learning about the subtleties of Japanese sake. She is happy to talk more about this over a nice Junmai Ginjo!

Honourary Members

Frédérick Canuel – Weekend Orientation Advisor

Sylvie Cornibert – Matsuri Advisor

2018 Executive Committee