Intensive, personalized, and creative.

innovative and challenging

KAIS International School

KAIS International School is one of Japan’s most innovative and academically distinguished international schools. Conveniently located in central Tokyo, we have been serving the international community since 2006. At KAIS, our students learn in small classes in a family-like atmosphere, where they develop their connectedness to others while exploring who they are as individuals. We believe self-awareness, curiosity, and empathy are vital in the development of the adults who will shape the future, and everything we do aims to support this.

personalized and tight-knit

Cozy Classrooms

Small class sizes allow more opportunities for our students to engage in hands-on projects, receive individual attention from instructors, present their work to their peers, and participate in discussions. Our dedicated team of teachers is focused on engaging our students in the optimal high school experience both in and out of the classroom. While most of our students go on to study at top universities in the United States, we present our curriculum to our diverse student body from a global perspective. We invite you to come see our unique and vibrant school for yourself!

Tommy House


Tommy was born and raised near Chicago, IL, where he attended Loyola Academy. He went on to study at Southern Illinois University, with a major in Secondary English Education and a minor in Speech / Communications. Mr. House taught American and British Literature at a local high school in rural southern Illinois before moving to Tokyo over a decade ago. He has been a dedicated teacher & administrator at KAIS since the school's second year. An enthusiast of designing and teaching multidisciplinary curriculum, Tommy is a firm believer in hands-on, curiosity-based education. “When students are engaged, active learners, ‘transformative learning’ can take the place of ‘informative learning’. This should always be our goal as educators, as it is where real growth takes place.” Tommy is an avid runner, snowboarder, and musician.

Christopher Paxton

Assistant Principal

Drummer. Fair-weather cyclist. Left-footed footballer. These are just a few of the things that come to mind when thinking about Chris Paxton’s passions outside the classroom. Such passions are important because they inform and influence what he brings to mathematics education and college counseling at KAIS. Work hard in everything you do. Stay curious about the world around you. Always strive to be happy. Paxton holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Yale, a Juris Doctor from University of San Francisco, and is working on his Ph.D. in fatherhood.

Misako Horikawa


Misako Horikawa was born and raised in Tokyo. She studied English from a young age and focused on Japanese Literature in university. From her experience in international exchange as a member of the Girl Scouts when she was young, she has aspired to act as a liaison between people from different countries in order to improve communications and understanding. She taught English to children from kindergarten to high school before she began working at KAIS. Misako is a huge fan of the arts, particularly music and movies. Misako derives great satisfaction from helping the students of KAIS become independent and reflective members of both the local and global community.

Lewis Baker

Head of Science and Technology

Lewis graduated from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand with a BE with Honors in Mechanical Engineering. He had his first teaching experience when he was a university student tutoring high school students in mathematics. After graduating from university, he worked as an engineer in both London and Qatar. He then decided to take a break from engineering and move to Japan, where he took his current position here at KAIS as a Math and Science Teacher. Lewis believes that the rate at which students learn is a product of the environment in which they study. If students enjoy their place of study, their learning potential and ability to focus is greatly increased. He aims to provide students with an environment where they can express themselves, be creative, and advance academically. He makes lecturing as interactive as possible, giving students a chance to get involved by asking questions and expressing their thoughts or opinions.

Laura MacDonald

Humanities Specialist

A Canadian native, Laura hails from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from St. Francis Xavier University and a Bachelor’s in Education from Queen’s University. Since starting at KAIS in 2011, she has taught a wide spectrum of classes from Leadership to Language Arts and World Cultures. She is committed to fostering a school community and to helping students connect to people and cultures outside of KAIS. Laura enjoys hiking, reading, and going on adventures with her young son.

Yuichiro Tsuchiya

Japanese Teacher

Tsuchi was born and raised in Miyazaki prefecture of Kyushu island. He moved to Tokyo in 1997 and entered Waseda University, where he majored in English literature, Japanese Literature, and Philosophy. He started teaching Japanese grammar and literature at KAIS International School in 2012. In grammar class, Tsuchi also exposes his students to Japanese culture, allowing them to participate in Japanese society more deeply. In his spare time, Tsucchi is the lead singer, guitarist and manager of Metro-Ongen, a popular indie rock band which performs regularly all around Tokyo.

Christopher Jones

History Teacher

After splitting his early years between Iowa and Philadelphia, Christopher Jones spent most of his youth in Nashville, Tennessee. From there he matriculated into Northwestern University where he studied Literature and Business. Christopher caught the teaching bug after a yearlong stint in Tokyo, and then he returned to Northwestern to pursue a Master's in Secondary Education. He gained experience teaching at Discovery International School in Honduras before returning to Japan ten years ago. Now he lives in west Tokyo with his wife and children. When he is not plotting new ways to make history relevant to KAIS high schoolers, Christopher enjoys winter sports, reading, running, and being in the outdoors.

Kyoko Moriyama

Assistant Director

An artist at heart, in form and in function, Kyoko brings a unique and fresh perspective to the KAIS staff. Her artistic interests include batik, weaving, and anything to do with textiles. Kyoko first learned her various crafts at Joshibi High School in Tokyo and further honed her skills at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. At KAIS, she is involved with trip planning, student affairs, and anything that involves art and design.

Em Bettinger

Yoga Instructor

Em is a popular Tokyo-based yoga instructor known for her classes at Sun & Moon Yoga and KAIS International School. Prior to moving to Japan, Em performed and taught contemporary dance to both children and adults in the UK. She started teaching dance at the age of 15 as an assistant at the dance school she was attending. She was introduced to yoga through her dance studies at The Laban School for Contemporary Dance and Middlesex University and yoga became her passion while living in Tokyo. She is currently training to be a health counselor with a specialty in nutrition.

Wes Wing

Athletic Director

Wes is a soccer coach who works as the Fitness Teacher at KAIS. He also currently works as the Director of Goalkeeping at FC Barcelona Academy. Before moving to Tokyo, Wes worked as a high school soccer coach in California and at the US Soccer Academy for a combined 10 years. He also owned an operated his own goalkeeping academy. In his free time, Wes enjoys reading, playing his violin, photography, and traveling with his wife.

Jonathan Yaffe


Jonathan Yaffe is the founder of KAIS International School, which he launched in 2006 after seeing the need for more creative and holistic international education in Tokyo's international community. Jonathan studied Cognitive Neuroscience at UC Berkeley, and is very passionate about access to education and individualized learning. He is also the founder of AnyRoad in California, as well as the Mirai Institute and, in Tokyo. Jonathan has traveled to 93 countries, lived in Brazil, Colombia, Switzerland, the United States, and Japan, and loves to get to know a culture by its food.

Charles M. Knudsen


Charles M. Knudsen is the founder of KAIS International School, KAIS Elementary and Middle School, and KA International Preschool. Mr. Knudsen is also the founder and CEO of Kikokushijo Academy, an after-school English program with over one thousand returnee and international students in Tokyo and Chiba. Mr. Knudsen is a regular contributor to several educational publications, including Weekly NY (週間NY生活) and Edusun, and he has published several works of short fiction as well as two works for Nan’un-do Publications, one textbook, and the forthcoming Welcome Home: A Practical Guide for Parents of Returnees.
since 2006


KAIS International School was founded in 2006 by Jonathan Yaffe and Charles Knudsen. The school started out in a small house in Jiyugaoka, and moved to Meguro in 2009. While we’ve grown in size over the years, we have never aspired to become a large school – we wanted to create the school we wished we went to, a place where students love learning. We believe smaller classes, hands-on learning, and balance between disciplines is a key component in our students’ growth and development. The mission of KAIS has always been to provide students with a holistic education – one that emphasizes the academic, the creative, and the physical.