Our faculty and staff are dedicated to providing an environment where your student can thrive academically, socially, and spiritually. We do this through small teacher to student 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.
James Dick, principal
Dr. Dick has a doctorate in education from Loma Linda University, and 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."
Tureic Cordis, kindergarten
Mrs. Cordis has been teaching at PUC Elementary since 1989, with the last 12 years spent in kindergarten--which she calls her favorite! She received her bachelors and masters 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.
Tania Duncan, first grade
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 Virginia, and also worked in higher education at Pacific Union College. Mrs. Duncan has bachelors and masters 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, and scuba diving. 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."
Kristy Kyle, second/third grades
After earning a bachelors degree and a masters degree from Pacific Union College, Mrs. Kyle began began teaching grades 7 and 8 at Oceanside Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School in southern California. In 2012, her family moved to Angwin, and in 2013, Mrs. Kyle 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."
Vern Jeske, fourth grade
Mr. Jeske has been teaching at PUC Elementary since 2003, with most of his focus on grades 3 and 4. He has bachelors and masters 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."
Jeanie de la Torre, fifth grade
Mrs. de la Torre has nearly three decades of teaching experience. She has taught all grades, from 1-12. But her primary focus has been on grades 5-8. Mrs. de la Torre received her bachelors degree from Walla Walla College and her masters degree from La Sierra University. She has a love for reading and animals, but nothing surpasses her passion for teaching.
"My mission is to challenge students to think for themselves and to develop an enduring love of learning and inquiry, a solid work ethic, and a sense of personal responsibility. My goal is for my students to seek lifelong personal growth in every arena of their lives--work, school, home, spiritual, self, and social."
Ronn Kakazu, sixth grade
Mr. Kakazu graduated from Walla Walla College with a bachelors degree in elementary education and is completing a Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction at 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."
Dwight Crow, seventh grade
Mr. Crow has more than four decades of teaching experience, with most of his time spent in grades five through nine. In years past, he has also served as a principal. Mr. Crow received his bachelors and masters degrees from Pacific Union College. He enjoys most outdoor activities--an interest that comes through in his outdoor education curriculum.
"I believe students can do much more than most expect. I believe in exposing students to a wide range of experiences."
Linda Hansel, eighth grade
Mrs. Hansel has been teaching at PUC Elementary since 1988, with experience in fifth grade, seventh-grade math, and eighth grade. She has also taught English at the college and high school levels. Mrs. Hansel has a masters degree in education, along with a specialist instruction credential for reading. She is an avid organic gardener and she also loves working on the potter's wheel.
"My role as a teacher is to support students in independent learning. Besides sharing information, I structure assignments that allow students to discover information for themselves and to use higher-level thinking skills during and after that discovery."