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Japan-America Society of Tennessee

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JAST Staff

Sammie Arnold, Executive Director

With more than a decade of public service, in addition to his most recent position with the Tennessee House of Representatives, Sammie has served as Assistant Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development; Chief of Staff of the Economic Recovery Group under Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, and Legislative Liaison in the Office of Governor Bill Haslam.  A native of West Tennessee, Sammie earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his J.D. at the University of Tennessee College of Law.  Sammie joined JAST in November, 2023.

Ginger Byrn, Executive Administrator,  Director of Programs & Membership Development

Ginger  is a native Nashvillian and a graduate of Vanderbilt University. Following graduation, Ginger accepted a part-time, temporary summer job with American Airlines. At the end of the summer, she was offered a full-time position which led to a more than 35-year career with American Airlines. Ginger joined JAST as Director of Programs and Membership Development in 2012. She also serves as Festival Director of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival and the Memphis Japan Festival.

Reina Lyons, Manager, Japanese Community Outreach & Support Services 

Reina joined JAST in January, 2022. Originally from Shiga Prefecture in Japan, she received a MA in Mathematics at Villanova University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and worked in Novi, Michigan. She then moved with her husband to his home state of Tennessee in 2013. Reina has taught Japanese elementary and secondary school students for over 10 years at a Japanese private school in Michigan and the Japanese Saturday Supplementary School in Middle Tennessee.

William Ferguson, Operations & Program Coordinator

William graduated cum laude in May 2022 from MTSU, majoring in Japanese with minors in International Relations and Asian Studies. He studied abroad at Seinan Gakuin Daigaku in Fukuoka, Japan and enjoyed learning more about Japanese culture and Japan. In his final semester of college, William completed an internship in the Office of the Governor of Tennessee, where he learned about state government, working in a fast-paced and professional environment and serving the people of Tennessee. William joined JAST in May, 2023.

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English: (615) 663-6060
日本語(615) 556-1928


P.O. Box 330003
Nashville, TN 37203
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