Yuko earned her teaching degree at Kokugakuin University of Tokyo Japan where she earned her advanced degree in Japanese Language arts in 1994. She passed the strenuous certification program to become a teacher in Japan at the middle and high school level. She spent one year teaching Japanese in Australia and 10 years teaching in Saitama Prefecture Japan. At her school she was also the basketball coach of the District Champion middle school girls basketball team from Sakado middle school. Yuko moved to America in 2004 with her family and started work as a teacher, and then the Head Teacher, of the Regional Japanese Saturday School and Japanese Culture Program at IUS. She also volunteers with several local Japanese groups. She spends every summer in Japan with her two sons on her family’s ancestral farm that they have lived on for generations. She is married to Oldham County Magistrate JD Sparks and has two sons Manabu (13) and Kenta (10). She loves to knit and play basketball and play with the family cat Mi-Chan.