Meet the 2016-17 National AJET Council

 AJET Elections
New Council Members

Every year in June, a new National AJET Council takes the reigns. The council is comprised of 15 elected representatives and 15 specialist appointed members who volunteer their time to support the JET community.

Following nationwide elections in April, and an extensive recruitment drive, we are pleased to be able to announce the members of the 2016-17 National Council. Below, you can find out more about each member, the role they will play on the next council and how to get in touch with them.

Full election results, and an explanation of the election system used by National AJET, can be found on our website here.


Elected Representatives



Stephen DiTomasso

2nd Year Kagoshima JET

The National AJET Chair is the face of AJET and acts as the chief representative voice of AJET to the media and other organizations. The Chair sets AJET’s agenda for the year and works with the council to make sure AJET’s goals are being accomplished and that everything AJET does is in line with this agenda and the goals outlined in the AJET Constitution.


Vice Chair

Nick Lavin

3rd Year Toyama JET

The Vice-Chair works with the Chair and Treasurer to ensure an efficient Executive body. Duties include organizing the AJET workshops at Tokyo Orientation, supervising the elections for the National Council, chairing meetings where the Chair is not present, preparing agendas and organising the minutes for meetings.



David Winter

2nd Year Kyoto JET

The National AJET Treasurer works with the Chair and Vice-Chair to ensure an efficient Executive body. The Treasurer works to administer and supervise the AJET budget, including all financial transactions. The Treasurer also plays a supervisory role in matters pertaining to the function and productivity of the council.


Block Representatives

Under the AJET Block system, Japan’s 47 prefectures are grouped into 11 Blocks, each comprising 3 or 4 prefectures. JETs living in each Block elect a Representative, while CIRs across the country also elect a CIR Representative.

These representatives are responsible for ensuring that the voices of those in their local community are heard on a national level. Block Representatives are also responsible for laying on great parties and events to bring JETs together with each other, and the rest of the community!


Block 1 Representative

Amanda Tsuhako

2nd Year Aomori JET

Block 1 includes Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Akita. Amanda wants to be a surgeon and move back to Hawaii where she can help Japanese speaking patients. She love coffee and cats, so she spends her weekends at Starbucks and cat cafes! She wants to provide the same sense of community to the incoming JETs of the block 1 prefectures that she was welcomed with.


Block 2 Representative

Merran Eby

4th Year Fukushima JET

Block 2 includes Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima and Niigata. Merran spent the last two years on Fukushima’s AJET council, and was the organisation’s president from 2014-15. She hopes to connect the Block 2 community through the creation of great opportunities for you to meet other JETs, as well as the promotion of events from around both Block 2 and Japan.


Block 3 Representative

Ashley Fox

2nd Year Nagano JET

Block 3 includes Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Saitama and Nagano. Ashley was previously a Nagano AJET council member with experience in coordinating large and small scale events and a background in communication. Just to name a few of last year’s events, she has planned Nagano AJET Thanksgiving, Geisha Night and Hanami!


Block 4 Representative

Kristie Fletcher

3rd Year Tokyo JET

Block 4 includes Chiba, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka. Since coming to Japan, Kristie have been an active member in her local community and the JET community. Taking part in local events, sports clubs and festivals has helped her create a life in Tokyo and being part of a large group of JETs has developed her organizational skills. Her qualifications include social planning in the Tokyo JET committee, holding the position of treasurer for the Biomedical Sciences Society in University and participating in Tokyo JET Orientation as panelist.


Block 5 Representative

Domnhall McFarline

4th Year Toyama JET

Block 5 includes Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Gifu and Aichi. Domnhall wants to strengthen the bonds between the five prefectures of Block 5 and give JETs more chances to visit new places, do those things they’ve exclaimed at in other people’s photos, make connections, and have the craic (Irish for fun) with new friends. He has held the position of Toyama AJET Prefectural Representative for the past two years and successfully strengthened the local community.


Block 6 Representative

Carolina Swift

3rd Year Shiga JET

Block 6 includes Shiga, Kyoto and Hyogo. Carolina has plenty of leadership experience, which she large gained throughout University, as the president of 4 distinct clubs. This year she has served AJET as the Shiga Prefectural Representative, gaining experience and knowledge that will help as the Block 6 Representative.


Block 7 Representative

Jessica Laufer

3rd Year Nara JET

Block 7 includes Mie, Osaka, Nara and Wakayama. Jessica is luckily placed in a prefecture with a close knit JET community. She intends to spread that sense of community to the whole of Block 7, making the best Block they can possibly be! Her experiences on Nara AJET council and as Nara Touch Rugby co-Captain have given her the skills to bring our communities together and to ensure that everyone’s interests are represented at the national level.


Block 8 Representative

Amon Bradshaw

3rd Year Kochi JET

Block 8 includes Tokushima, Kagawa, Ehime and Kochi. As Block Rep Amon wants to make it easier for JETs to cross borders by sharing information about and creating events. He wants to work with prefectural AJET groups and individuals to achieve this. One of his goals is to encourage each prefecture to designate one “open” event where they welcome JETs from other prefectures. He brings experience from the 2015-­16 Council as Director of Volunteering along with prior experience in planning events for the Shikoku Hiking and Adventure Group


Block 9 Representative

Preston Backer

4th Year Hiroshima JET

Block 9 includes Tottori, Shimane, Okayama, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi. Preston’s main goal is make existence in Japan, however long or short, the least unfortunate as possible. To him, that means having engaging local gatherings where people can laugh and have fun. It means trying to understand and alleviate individual problems by continually updating reasonable general guidelines for most situations. He is passionate about these things and excited to get started!


Block 10 Representative

Harriett Bougher

2nd Year Saga JET

Block 10 includes Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Oita. In one of the smallest JET communities in Japan, Harriett has been able to be active in her first year. As Block 10 Representative she wants to strengthen the ties within the community and allow others within her Block to feel as valued as she has felt. Harriett has been recognized for her activeness and leadership within the Saga community by being appointed Saga AJET Representative for 2016-2017. She looks forward to serving as Block 10 Representative this year!


Block 11 Representative

CJ Fischer

2nd year Okinawa JET

Block 11 includes Kumamoto, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, and Okinawa. After serving his first year on JET, CJ plans to tackle challenges through proper self-care and by utilizing the proper resources to bridge the communities closer together. CJ is a go-getter and wants to get to know the people and explore the places in the four prefectures he serves. He humbly looks forward to your questions, suggestions, and concerns!


CIR Representative

Zach Krause

3rd year Chiba JET

The CIR Representative is the representative voice of CIRs in AJET. The CIR Representative brings any issues or concerns to the National Council’s attention. The CIR Representative also creates initiatives to ensure CIR involvement and participation in AJET. Also, the CIR Representative keeps in direct contact with the CIR network and convey and receive information through these connections.


Appointed Representatives


Director of Advertising

Nancy Ngo

2nd Year Toyama JET

The Director of Advertising works to get the best deals for JETs. The Director of Advertising is the go-between for companies and the JET community. She negotiates with partners, keeps AJET’s Facebook presence spam-free, and makes sure JETs know about upcoming discounts, giveaways, and special deals.


Director of Public Relations

Lillian Hart

2nd Year Toyama JET

The Director of Public Relations writes and manages public content for AJET, directs all AJET promotional campaigns, and works to ensure that AJET is effectively represented to those it serves. The Director of Public Relations is always seeking to further JETs’ knowledge of AJET and the resources it provides.


Director of Social Media

Mitchell Dehnel

2nd Year Gifu JET

The Director of Social Media maintains and updates AJET’s social media presence. The Director of Social Media ensures that JETs are kept up-to-date on JET and AJET activities within their communities and throughout Japan through prompt social media updates.


Director of Affiliate and Community Relations

Agata Rybalkiewicz

2nd Year Mie JET

The Director of Affiliate and Community Relations increases and supports the JET and Japanese community members’ participation in AJET events and activities. The Director of Affiliate and Community Relations both manages AJET Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and develops new and ongoing programs within AJET to strengthen the JET community.


Director of Digital Resources

Jordan Smith

2nd Year Hyogo JET

The Director of Digital Resources maintains and updates the current database of resources, and creates new resources. The Director of Digital Resources strives to improve the daily lives and adventures of current and future JET Programme participants.


Director of Professional and Educational Development

Ariel Kane

3rd Year Toyama JET

The Director of Professional and Education Development (DPED) actively seeks out new opportunities, partnerships, and materials that will assist JETs in becoming more skilled and accomplished educators and professionals, and aims to provide JETs with timely, innovative, and high quality resources that will enrich and enhance their personal and professional development. This includes the curation of up-to-date tools that will enable JETs to broaden their skill-sets and prepare them for transition into a variety of careers after their JET tenure has ended.


Director of Volunteering

Andrew Hall

4th Year Shikoku JET

The Director of Volunteering manages volunteer resources by making available volunteering opportunities to the JET community. The Director of Volunteering organises events through National AJET including the Race to the Top and Community Service Trip, seeks out volunteer opportunities with other organizations, shares information through social media and Block Representatives and offers guidance to JET volunteers.


Director of Alumni Relations

Ryan Hata

3rd Year Tottori JET

The Director of Alumni Relations (DOAR) links past JETs (alumni) and current JETs. The DOAR works to strengthen the relationship between AJET and the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) by providing current JETs and alumni chances to interact and share their knowledge. The DOAR is also responsible for promoting AJET to the JET alumni community, and shares information and job opportunities JETs in return.


Director of Alumni Resources

Rachel Brisson

2nd Year Fukui JET

The Director of Alumni Resources manages the networking resources for current JETs and JET alumni. The Director of Alumni Resources builds solid ties between JETs and JET alumni by bridging opportunities between the communities, and relaying information and employment prospects between the two in coordination with the Director of Alumni Relations.


Head of Visual Media

Lehlogonolo Mokotedi

2nd Year Fukuoka Jet

The Head of Visual Media ensures that all AJET content is visually consistent and clear in print and on the web. The Head of Visual Media establishes and maintains the image of AJET throughout its publications, including Connect magazine,, reports, and other related materials.


Translation and Interpreting Coordinator

Kathryn Cwynar

2nd Year Yamagata JET

The Translation & Interpreting Coordinator makes AJET materials and reports available in Japanese and facilitate communication between AJET, CLAIR, and the three ministries (MIC, MOFA, and MEXT). The Translation and Interpreting Coordinator organizes translations of AJET reports, and provides interpretation at opinion exchanges.


Director of Online Publications

Timothy Saar

2nd Year Gifu JET

The Director of Online Publications oversees publication of AJET Connect Magazine and other AJET publications online. The Director of Online Publications works to not only ensure consistent timing and quality for these publications, but to improve and expand upon them by reaching new audiences and establishing new features.


Project Manager

David Kreutz

2nd Year Wakayama JET

The Project Manager helps the AJET National Council achieve its goals and successfully complete its projects for the year. The Project Manager ensures that opinion exchanges with CLAIR and the three ministries are as useful to both sides and relevant to current JETs as possible.


Website Coordinators

Pierce Langdon

2nd Year Tokyo JET

Dave Derderian

2nd Year Aomori JET

The Website Coordinators are a two-person team. Each Website Coordinator ensures AJET works at peak productivity and provides the day-to-day maintenance of the website. Also, the Website Coordinators provide IT and website support to the AJET National Council and AJET-affiliated websites, as well as manages the AJET emails and databases.