Coming to us from Japan, New Zealand and Bellevue, Welcome Saori Sampa!


By Liza Burke, Marketing Manager

Saori Sampa joined the Continuing Education team as a program specialist in May. With a fascinating background and excellent skills, Saori is already making good things happen here.

She manages personal enrichment classes (including languages, the arts, fitness and health, boating and DIY subjects). Her job includes everything from finding instructors, to determining which classes to offer, arranging schedules and coordinating the logistics.

Passion for Languages, Art & Health

Saori has always been personally interested in languages, the arts, and health. She grew up in a small town in Japan, one that had a large Brazilian community that embraced her family since her father was from Brazil.

Saori Sampa working out - Continuing Education at Seattle Central CollegeLearning Japanese calligraphy from her maternal grandfather and mother, Saori became a calligraphy teacher, sharing the art with young people. She was also always doing sports – ice skating, track and field, gymnastics, etc. When Saori was in her early 20s, she made jewelry with glass beads and sold them at fairs and events around her hometown.

As a young adult, Saori started working out at the gym, and since then has always enjoyed intense physical training. She currently enjoys Crossfit, weight lifting and soccer in her free time.

Saori Sampa on left working as interpreter Saori worked as a translator and interpreter in New Zealand, translating from English to Japanese for the New Zealand government’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Development, as well as for the Embassy of Japan. She also worked in NZ at an English as a Second Language school as an Asian region marketing assistant and student advisor.

After nine years of living in New Zealand, Saori decided to move to Seattle. She started working as an instructor for Bellevue College’s Translation and Interpretation Certificate Program in 2015. Soon after that, she started working as assistant program manager for their Continuing Education department, managing world language classes, as well as translation and interpretation classes for their credit certification program.

In addition to being fluent in Japanese and English, Saori is also conversant in American Sign Language. She was motivated to learn the language after losing some hearing as an adult. That led her to participate in the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community and she has volunteered for a local deaf nonprofit organization.

Saori Sampa, right, signing with another person - Continuing Education at Seattle Central CollegeConnecting Community to Education

Saori is personally and professional committed to education. She admires the strong foundation of Continuing Education here at Seattle Central and sees potential for it to grow.

When asked what inspires her about this position, she explained, “I am very excited to introduce new programs and expand our existing programs.” She says, “Very talented and experienced experts and instructors are out there waiting for a chance to share their skills with others.”

Bringing a great deal of relevant experience and many contacts in education, Saori wasted no time getting started in her role. She has already added several new classes to the mix including Scottish Gaelic, The Celts, Scotland, Folk Art in Mexico, Craft Distilling, three Yiddish classes and a series of classes for seniors.

She says she is “ready to grow together with the community to keep enriching people’s lives.” Saori thinks our students and the communities we serve are looking for “practical, hands-on yet very fun classes.”

Reach Out to Saori!

Is she right? Tell her yourself! She invites you to contact her. “I am also an avid learner, like you, and am always curious to know what kind of classes you are interested in taking or teaching. Please let me hear your thoughts and ideas!”

Shoot Saori an email at: with your ideas and help us welcome her.