My name is Matt Russo, and I am the Chief Technology Officer, Head of the Programming Department, and Head of Discipline here at YES International School. I was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California in the United States. First coming to Japan in 2009, ultimately making the decision to move here permanently; having been a Yokohama resident since 2011.
While in America, I had worked in IT for over 15 years, covering every responsibility from helpdesk to my final position there as an MIS Director. I was lucky enough to grow up around PCs and technology as it was a hobby of my father’s, so in reality, I was born and raised in technology. After moving to Japan, I had the great fortune to learn the art of teaching children from a specialist in child psychological development and education. During my time with her in Omotesando, I gained experience teaching: English, debate, drama, speech, and mother-kids classes, with students ranging in ages from 1 to over 70 years old.
I was introduced to the Takeuchi's through a previous place of employment while teaching their daughter. Through those interactions, I became involved with YES in one way or another even prior to it’s incorporation. Initially assisting with preparations, consultations, equipment, hardware for classes, and even freelance designed the original school logo. I can easily say with pride that I am happy to have now been a part of YES since it’s inception in 2016.
The goal of the school in my opinion, has always been to create a school of excellence in the 3 primary languages utilized in modern day Japan (Japanese, English, and Programming). Through trial and error, trying and failing, and having fun; the children learn vastly underrated critical thinking skills that they can apply both individually and in group settings. Leadership & follower skills that can be utilized in any environment. And most importantly, true compassion, and a genuine understanding of what it means to care for and think about others. As we begin our 8th year, with the staff we have in place, I feel extremely confident that we have achieved those goals and have graduates with skill sets that have far exceeded my greatest expectations. I am unbelievably proud of the children who have passed through these doors, and am honored to have them be a part of my life.
My greatest past time by far, is PC gaming. I have been an avid gamer since before PCs existed, and that passion for gaming remains to this day. I enjoy building things with my own hands, and have a knack for all things DIY. I love the beach, but my favorite season is Winter. I enjoy going for rides through areas I have never been before, seeing sights I have not yet seen.