Faculty/Staff

Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing an environment where your student can thrive academically, socially, and spiritually. We do this through low student/teacher ratios, educational approaches that honor student strengths and individuality, and a commitment to Christian education. 

We are also of the belief that a collaborative relationship with our parents will lead to student success. We welcome conversations about your student on how we can help to provide the best learning opportunities and outcomes. 


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James Dick, principal

Dr. Dick has a doctorate in education from Loma Linda University. He has worked in numerous academic settings, including in applied educational research at the University of California, Riverside, and as the director of Pacific Union College's adult degree completion program. Fluent in French, Dr. Dick also served as director of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) refugee relief operations in Goma, Zaire, and served in Madagascar in both the education department and for ADRA. Dr. Dick has been the principal of PUC Elementary since 2004.

"In our learning community, students are academically challenged, physically strengthened, socially broadened, and spiritually nurtured."


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Tureic Cordis, kindergarten

Mrs. Cordis has been teaching at PUC Elementary since 1989, with the last 15 years spent in kindergarten--which she calls her favorite! She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pacific Union College. Mrs. Cordis's artistic spirit shines through in her teaching; her classroom walls are covered in creative art projects by her students. Her hobbies include sewing, decorating, crafting, cooking, and spending time with her family.


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Tania Duncan, first/second grades

Mrs. Duncan has been involved in education since 1989, when she worked as a teaching principal in Michigan. Since then, she has taught elementary school in southern California and Delaware, and also worked in higher education at Pacific Union College. Mrs. Duncan has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Central Michigan University and an education specialist (Ed.S.) degree from La Sierra University. In her spare time, Mrs. Duncan loves coaching high school cross country and track and field, backpacking, scuba diving and helping with Pathfinders. She is an avid lover of animals and owns dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, chickens, and a miniature horse. 

"As a teacher, it is my desire to meet my students where they are and take each as far as he or she can go."


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Kristy Kyle, second grade core, 5 & 8th math

After earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Pacific Union College, Mrs. Kyle began teaching grades 7 and 8 at Oceanside Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School in southern California. In 2012, Mrs. Kyle’s family moved to Angwin; the following year, she began teaching at PUC Elementary. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, reading, and traveling.

"I strive to create a classroom that is a place where students feel safe and are valued, can be creative, learn about the world God has created, mature and grow in God, are surrounded by and immersed in books, can make mistakes and try again, and have fun."


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Vern Jeske, third/fourth grade

Mr. Jeske has been teaching at PUC Elementary since 2003, with most of his focus on grades 3 and 4. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Pacific Union College. Prior to teaching at PUC Elementary, Mr. Jeske worked as service staff at Pacific Union College for 12 years. Before then, he worked as a wrangler on ranches in Colorado and Texas for two years--perhaps the best preparation he could have had for teaching! Mr. Jeske loves history, baseball, painting, leathercraft, and spending time with his family.

"Teaching should make sense and it should be fun."


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Ronn Kakazu, fifth/sixth grades

Mr. Kakazu graduated from Walla Walla College with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and has a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from La Sierra University. Before moving to the Napa Valley in 2008 to teach at PUC Elementary, Mr. Kakazu was the principal and a teacher at Bay Knoll Seventh-day Adventist School in New York, and a teacher at Skagit Seventh-day Adventist School in Washington. Mr. Kakazu enjoys running, writing, puns, playing his ukulele, and spending time with his family.

"We build character by learning that personal traits are dynamic and not static. We stretch ourselves academically by taking on new challenges, developing grit along the way. We grow spiritually by studying God's word and applying Scripture to our lives."


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Maleah Merrills, seventh/eighth grade

Ms. Merrills comes to us from Walla Walla University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Middle Level Science Endorsement. She spent the 2015-2016 school year in Saipan as a student missionary teaching Pre-K. Through that experience, as well as several coaching experiences, she developed an interest in teaching. Ms. Merrills is also a certified lifeguard and has taught swimming, wakeboarding, and gymnastics.


Matthew Lee   PE Teacher

Matthew Lee

PE Teacher

Linda Marks   Strings Teacher

Linda Marks

Strings Teacher

Janine Haylock   Extended Care Director

Janine Haylock

Extended Care Director

Kathleen Jefferson   Resource Specialist

Kathleen Jefferson

Resource Specialist


I love the teachers. They are dedicated and I am grateful for the time and love they show my children.”
— Appreciative PUCE Parent