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 Keith Hatcher,  Teacher 4-8 & Principal 


I have been a teacher and school adminstrator for grades 1-8 since 1997. My goal is to help students realize and achieve their highest academic potential as lifelong learners and friends of God. My academic degrees include a BA in History from San Francisco State University and a Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from Andrews University in Michigan.

My wife and I have four children; three adult girls and one boy, and I have had the privilege of teaching them all. We have also recently had two foreign exchange students that have become close to our hearts. I was raised in California, and then married a Wisconsin girl. We moved to WI and I taught there for 19 years before moving to Kauai. We enjoy exploring, gardening, quiet sports, getting community to come together and most things outdoorsy, even those really cold weather sports like snowboarding and ice skating. But I’m very happy to be back near the ocean and to enjoy all that this beautiful island of Kauai has to offer.

My students have always appreciated my humor and playfulness while still maintaining a very focused and challenging learning environment. I lead an active lifestyle and I really enjoy sharing that with my students.

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Nelyssa Mendoza, Teacher  K-3


My name is Miss Nelyssa Mendoza and I am currently teaching K-3 at KAS. I was born and raised in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


I initially never saw myself as a teacher, but I believe that God has placed me in several situations that helped mould me into one. I initially graduated from Burman University (the only SDA University in Canada) with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. However, in the summer of 2015, I embarked on a life-redirecting mission trip where I served as a Student Missionary High School Science Teacher. Although I had little teaching experience, I saw how God worked through my unqualified self and discovered how fulfilling of a ministry teaching truly was. Upon realization of this calling to share God’s love through teaching, I made the trip back to Burman University to get my Bachelor of Education After Degree.


I spent my first three years of teaching at an SDA school on the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I taught a 7-9 multigrade class for two years and then taught Kindergarten and upper grade Arts for my final year there.


Now, God has blessed me with the calling to teach on the beautiful island of Kauai! I look forward to serving this community in every way I can, exploring all the islands, finally learning how to swim, and helping our students grow into well-rounded, God-loving individuals!


My favourite Bible verse is found in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 which reads, “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 Vergie Same, Teacher's Aide 


I was born and raised in Bonbon Moises Padilla, in the central part of the Philippines. Being the middle child of eleven children, I consider myself as very independent from an early age. Through the love and commitment of spreading the word of God by the church school and church, our family joined the Adventist church in 1987. My family sacrificed and supported me so that I could get a Christian education in our own institutions in my elementary and college years. I praised God for that!

I am a licensed teacher back in the Philippines with a Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, and a Major in English. Before moving to Kauai, Hawaii in 2006, I was able to teach 3rd and 4th grade in a multi-grade school for 1 year and preschool and kindergarten for 2 years in the Negros Occidental Conference. Since 2009, I've been working with children at All Saints Preschool.

I am married to Joel Same and we are blessed with 2 boys, Joash and John, who currently attend Kahili Adventist School. Our family loves hiking, gardening, swimming, and nature hiking.

This year, I couldn't be more excited to work with Mr. Hatcher and Ms. Goldring to help your children learn and grow. I claim His promises to do my best and He'll do the rest. Also, not to lean on my own understanding but to acknowledge Him and He'll direct my path!

Melba Gapuz, Preschool Teacher & Director

Melba has been running the Kahili Preschool for the past 6 years; in fact, she started the program. “I just love kids!” she says, and she loves the fact that she gets to teach children about Jesus while providing them with a fun and creative learning environment. She uses the Creation Kids Curriculum.

Prior to opening the preschool, Melba had worked for many years as a salesperson, and then was a supervisor at Honolua Surf Company, when she realized she wanted to do more with her life, and specifically, to do more to bring children closer to Jesus. She studied Early Childhood Education and earned her Associates Degree in 2010 from Kauai Community College.


Melba was born in the Philippines and moved to Kauai at the age of 15. She loves outdoor activities, especially hiking and running, and is very active in her local church. She lives with her sister’s family and helps raise her sister’s keiki too.

See the Preschool page for more information

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