The Prefectural Council

The prefectural council, or PC for short, is the group of elected volunteers that help our organization function. Elections happen annually, so you are more than welcome to apply after reading our constitution. If you have questions for any of us, feel free to reach out!

Steffanie Craig : President

Steffanie Craig


Hello all! For those who don’t know me, I’m Steffanie Craig; a third-year ALT in Iwamizawa City. We’re known for our onions and the crazy amount of snow we get each year! I’ve lived in many places but I like to say I hail from Maryland, USA. I teach at three elementary schools this year, but in the past, I’ve taught at three elementary schools and one junior high school, in the same fashion as the Japanese teachers, the Iwamizawa ALTs can be moved around yearly.

My hobbies include cross-stitching, watching video game speed runs, Latin dance, snowboarding, road trips, and gardening! I’m always up for trading cross-stitch patterns and really want to get into knitting again and of course, if anyone wants to go dancing with me, you’re more than welcome to come. It’s so much fun and a great way to stay warm in the winter.

I'm excited for this year as the HAJET President because I can't wait to give back to the community that has helped me through life on this big cold island! My aim is to bring people together and make this island feel like one big family. I hope to see you all at our future events!

Sandra Thomas : Vice President

Sandra Thomas

Vice President

Hey gang! I’m Sandra, your VP for this year! I’m a first-year JET from Colorado, USA but have been an honorary Floridian for the past 6 years. I currently live in Mori Town in southwest Hokkaido, near Hakodate. I love pop culture, flamin’ hot Cheetos, and all things Disney! I guess my hobbies would be watching baseball, online shopping, and watching movies. I’m excited to serve the Hokkaido JET community to the best of my ability this year and hope we can all become friends! <3

Hannah Hayden : Secretary

Hannah Hayden


Hey, everyone! I’m Hannah, your HAJET secretary. I’m originally from Anaheim, California, but I’ve bounced around a lot over the years. This most recently landed me in the charming town of Higashikawa starting in 2018. If you want to visit Hokkaido’s tallest mountain, Mt. Asahidake, it’s in our town! I love all kinds of crafting, painting, photography, reading, and exploring. I’m a big fan of musicals and history, so if you’re looking for someone to talk to about either of those topics, or someone to sing the entire Hamilton soundtrack with, I’m your girl. I’m looking forward to meeting many of you throughout the year! Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any reason. I’m happy to help!

Meghana Brandl : Treasurer

Meghana Brandl


Hi! I'm Meghana and I'm your Treasurer this year! I'm originally from Austin, Texas, USA, but I now live in the teeny tiny potato farming town of Assabu in Southwest Hokkaido. I love history and politics, so come find me at an enkai for super nerdy drunken conversations, or any other time for super nerdy sober ones. I look forward to meeting y'all if I haven't already!

Phoenix Scotney : Sapporo Representative

Phoenix Scotney

Sapporo Representative

Hello, I’m Phoenix- I’m this year’s Sapporo rep! I’m from the UK, where I studied BA Japanese and History of Art, and I am currently working as a CIR in the Hokkaido Tourism Organization. When I’m not running around Hokkaido trying to take photos for work, I like drawing painting, or doing anything creative! Other than that, it’s my life’s goal to try all of the pancake cafes in Sapporo, so if you want to join me on my quest please let me know!

Jacob Iglesias : Northern Representative

Jacob Iglesias

Northern Representative

My name is Jacob and I am the Northern Rep for the 2020-2021 year. Originally from San Antonio, Texas, I am currently residing in northernmost city of Wakkanai! As my hometown never really experiences snow, it’s been an adventure experiencing a Hokkaido winter! My hobbies include things such as skating, playing games and meeting/hanging out with new people! I look forward to meeting as much of y’all as I can in the future!

Rob Butcher : Eastern Representative

Rob Butcher

Eastern Representative

Hello, I’m Rob, the Eastern Rep for 2020-2021. Originally from England, I’m no stranger to picturesque countryside scenes, and, like so many of you, I have well and truly fallen for Hokkaido’s beautiful nature. I live in Shimizu, which is a small town in the Tokachi region surrounded by the Hidaka mountains. Every year, our town hosts a garlic and meat festival. Sounds good, right? In my free time I enjoy running, hiking and travelling. I also have a weakness for craft beer and onsens. This year, I want to explore more of this wonderful island, try new things, and hopefully meet up with many of you along the way.

Matt Francis : Southwest Representative

Matt Francis

Southwest Representative

Hey, I’m Matt and I’m the new representative for South – Western Hokkaido. I originally come from the UK and in the past, I have been a baker, charity fundraiser and a trainee archaeologist. I love studying history and my more practical hobbies including trying to paint and trying to play the piano (Key word is trying). I currently live in the beautiful city of Hakodate, down south, so If you ever want to explore the region let me know and I’ll see if I can help.

Thea Loo : Central Representative

Thea Loo

Central Representative

Howzit! I am your new HAJET Central Representative,Thea. I'm a fun-loving first year JET from the warm waters of Hawai‘i (həˈvɐjʔi). Before coming to Japan, I studied Linguistics and Japanese Studies. Passionate for adventure, nature, SNOW, and wildlife, Hokkaido is my ideal placement. I additionally enjoy Asian pop-culture, cooking, drawing, learning other cultures and languages, and videogames. I reside in Mukawa-cho (town-neighbors with Collin), where it’s famous for the rare tasty Shishamo "Smeltfish". As central representative, I want to provide everyone with assistance when needed and share the fun. Also, if you know a beach that you can swim in and want to do a BBQ somewhere during the warmer months, hit me up!

Erica Beukes : First Year Representative

Erica Beukes

First Year Representative

Hello everyone 🙂

I’m Erica, the First Year Rep for 2019-2020. I’m from sunny South Africa, braving the not-so-sunny and definitely not-so-African winters of Otaru. Otaru is a popular day trip from Sapporo; famous for its canal, Tenguyama and the freshness of the seafood. Locals from all over Japan seem to love this quaint fairytale-like city and so do I!

Back home I was a high school English and Maths teacher. I also created and reviewed online learning courses for an educational company. For this coming year I want to embrace my wanderlust and explore as much of Hokkaido’s beautiful nature as is humanly possible, while forming deep and meaningful connections with people living here. Besides hiking and braving snow for the first time, I’ve become involved in dancing and yoga classes in the area as well as volunteering at the local City Hall and UNESCO English groups.

If you have any concerns, questions or just want someone to talk to - give me a shout! 🙂

Kyle Poleman-Biittner : Elections Coordinator

Kyle Poleman-Biittner

Elections Coordinator

Hello! My name is Kyle, and I'm the elections coordinator for HAJET. I'm a high school ALT in a very small town in the deep southwest of Hokkaido called Kaminokuni. I'm twenty-nine years old and have been teaching ESL since graduating from college. I spent two years in Korea as a new teacher who had no idea how to do anything. Then, I returned to the states to tutor high school students and immigrants, after some training. I've really enjoyed returning to foreign language teaching in public schools. I look forward to meeting everyone!

Elsie Tay : Polestar Editor-In-Chief

Elsie Tay

Polestar Editor-In-Chief

Hello everyone! I'm Elsie, and I'm delighted to be taking on the Editor-in-Chief position for Polestar! I hail from sunny Singapore, just 1 degree north of the equator, so living in the snowy city of Takikawa has been a refreshing (and also chilling!) experience for me. Languages, writing, and drawing are my passion, and I love travelling around to bask in the nature that Hokkaido has to offer. As a herbivore, I'm also always on the lookout for vegetarian cafes and recipes. If you're feeling up for a chat or an adventure, feel free to hit me up, I'd love to get to know you!

Colin Takeo : HEC Director

Colin Takeo

HEC Director

Hello! My name is Colin Takeo. I am a 2nd year JET based in Mukawa-cho. Before coming to Japan, I studied music and history before working at a museum in Portland, Oregon. I love to hike up mountains, cook with garlic, and have adventures across Hokkaido. I also love my volunteer position here at HEC. It's an amazing program. I cannot wait for HEC 2020! No HEC. No life.

Duncan Wood : Project Outreach Co-coordinator

Duncan Wood

Project Outreach Co-coordinator

Hi, I`m the new Project Outreach Coordinator. I'm from the U.S., specifically the great state of New Jersey. I now live in the beautiful seaside town of Yakumo, which is abouts half way between Hakodate and Chitose on the Hakodate Main Line. Yakumo's the only municipality in Japan to touch both the Pacific and the Sea of Japan, which (along with the fried chicken of Harvester) is our claim to fame. I used to have hobbies, but I mostly just work or chill now. Keep an eye on our facebook page and the HAJET group for future volunteering information. I'm usually at HAJET events barring unforeseen circumstances or exceptional distances, so feel free to seek me out at those. Otherwise, if you need anything/ have questions/ requests/ events you want promoted/ just want to say hi, dont be afraid to message me.

Brad Breiten : Translator

Brad Breiten


Welcome everyone!
My name is Brad Breiten. I’m here from Boulder, CO in the United States, but I have called many places home in my life. Currently home is Iwamizawa in central Hokkaido. Famous for onions, roses, and kita no kaori rice, it is a lovely little city. I arrived in Iwamizawa as an ALT in 2016 and, after taking some time to improve my Japanese, was able to change to be CIR in the same city in 2019. I have many hobbies and not nearly enough hours in the day to practice them all: martial arts (judo, BJJ, MMA), Latin dance (all kinds of dance really), physical activities of all kinds, wire wrapping, book reading, ukulele playing (not very good, but still love it). The list goes on. I look forward to helping HAJET to be a resrouce, and a supportive and safe community filled with laughter and good times! Yoroshiku ne.

Andrew Gerber : Polestar Designer

Andrew Gerber

Polestar Designer

Irankarapte! Originally from California, I have desperately wanted to see snow my whole life. After three years living in a yurt in Mongolia, I applied to JET, but left my placement request blank, and got sent to Nakashibetsu. I enjoy my eremitical existence in the Wild Wild East, a land that invokes in me ceaseless wonder. That’s all. Thank you for listening.

Kay James : Social Media Coordinator

Kay James

Social Media Coordinator

Hi, everyone! I’m Kay, HAJET’s new Social Media Coordinator. I came to Hokkaido in July 2017. I live in the Hidaka subprefecture, so let me know whenever you’re in the area! I’m originally from Florida, so moving to Hokkaido was a big change for me. This year, I want to spend more time in nature and go to more events across the island. If you or your Contracting Organization ever hosts an event or hike, let me know and I’ll try to spread the word!

Kelia Murata : Bookseller

Kelia Murata


Hiya! It’s me, Kelia, the new purveyor of all things book. I live in the southwestern town of Yakumo, known for being the only municipality to touch both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean, carved wooden bears, and being cloudy all the time (8 clouds baby!). Before starting my newest adventure in Japan, I hailed from beautiful Colorado where my love affair with snow and nature began.

I am currently teaching at seven schools and alongside my extracurricular children’s classes and Eikaiwa, I keep myself busy with running, cooking, reading (of course), and playing video games. If you ever want to geek out about books, games, or how freaking beautiful this prefecture is, I’m your girl. So come buy some books and let’s chat!

Kyle Willits : Webmaster

Kyle Willits


Hi friends! I’m Kyle from the tiny, tiny, tiny town of Utashinai. We likely have more deer than people in my neighborhood. Before coming on the great JET adventure I was a web developer at a few different businesses, so this isn’t my first rodeo! I figured I’d put my skills to good use and help all of you. The past year has been a blur of finishing my Master’s, learning Japanese, working full time, and teaching; it still feels like I’m unable to slow down. I’m a big believer in black coffee and green tea.

Besides studying Japanese, this year I’ve started learning Kyuudo and have been teaching myself how to roast and brew coffee. I also enjoy photography and I try to explore Japan as much as possible in order to document how beautiful it is.

If you want to learn about web development for some post-JET career assistance, or just need a friend to talk to, don’t hesitate to let me know!