Ray Parnell, Japanese Teacher
Since childhood, Ray Parnell has had a great interest in Japan and things Japanese. He began studying martial arts in junior high school and from then on told his parents that he was going to move to Japan some day.
Ray grew up in North Carolina, and after completing high school, he enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he earned degrees in Computer Science and English Literature. He also studied Japanese for three years at the university to prepare for his dream of living in Asia. After graduation, he moved to Japan to teach English and to further his study of Japanese language and culture.
After completing his first year in Japan, Ray returned to the States to earn his Master’s Degree in English Literature. Then, it was back to Japan where he lived for 16 years. He taught English to Japanese students, but also worked extensively as a translator and interpreter. While in Japan, he continued to study Japanese with a passion and passed the Japanese Language Proficiency Test – Level 1, the highest possible qualification for the Japanese language.
Ray fell in love with Maui on his first visit more than ten years ago and dreamed of living and teaching on Maui some day. He and his wife, Ai, decided that they would make the move in the autumn of 2006. While it was tough for Ray to say goodbye to Japan, he is thrilled to have his family here on Maui and to be a member of the Maui Prep ‘ohana. Ray and Ai are the proud parents of Kilakila Steven Parnell, who is a Maui Prep student. Ray enjoys spending time with his family, reading and surfing when he has time.