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The Kona Pacific Team

An outstanding school has at its heart a remarkable team, and Kona Pacific Public Charter School is fortunate to have an extraordinary group of highly-qualified and talented team members offering their gifts to the students and families of the KPPCS ohana. Here are their brief introductions.



Chloe Miller is the Lead Teacher in our Pre-School program. Chloe joined Kona Pacific in 2017 as group leader in the Kindercare and Aftercare Program. Chloe became a lead Kindergarten Teacher in 2018, co-creating our hybrid forest kindergarten program with the Early Childhood Team. She also serves on the KPPCS Leadership Council. Chloe has a BA in Psychology from the University at Buffalo, an Early Childhood Waldorf Certification, and is a licensed K-6 elementary teacher in the State of Hawai’i. Chloe grew up in New York State attending Green Meadow Waldorf School from Preschool through the 12th grade. She moved to the Big Island in 2014 to work at a Waldorf-inspired co-op preschool. After three wonderful years with the preschool, she joined Kona Pacific. In her free time, Chloe enjoys swimming, camping, and playing mahjong.

Amy Cutler is the Educational Assistant in our Pre-School program. Amy joined KPPCS in 2021. Her bio is coming soon.



Emily Kilgore is the Lead Teacher in Kindergarten. Emily joined Kona Pacific Public Charter School as an Educational Assistant shortly after her family moved to the Big Island in the fall of 2015. After 3 years assisting in the kindergarten and 1st grade classrooms, in 2018, the first year of the school’s “Forest Kindergarten” program, she eagerly took on the role she has now. To prepare for this role, she attended a course at Rudolf Steiner College, “Exploring the Outdoor Kindergarten,” and completed coursework toward her Elementary Education teaching credential in 2019. Emily holds a BA in Sociology and History from the University of Nevada, and is a licensed K-6 elementary teacher in the State of Hawai’i. Prior to becoming a mom in 2007, Emily was a program director for a disability services non-profit in Nevada. She enjoyed raising her little ones in the natural beauty of the high desert mountains, facilitating a “forest school” preschool co-op, and was ready to embark on her journey as a teacher when her youngest child began kindergarten at KPPCS. Emily enjoys cooking with her family, hiking, reading, and snorkeling in our island’s gentle turquoise bays. A really great day for Emily would be a trek to Makalawena Beach with her family, reading a great book on a hammock, and enjoying the stunning beauty our island offers.


Kara Moseng is the Educational Assistant in the Likolehua Kindergarten. Kara moved to the Big Island last year with her husband and this is her first year at Kona Pacific. Before this, Kara worked in hospitality for 25 years and moved around all over the United States. Her latest move was from Alaska but she has lived in Texas, Kansas, and Georgia as well. Kara and her husband have 2 adult children as well as a dog, 2 cats, and 10 chickens. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, gardening, and going to the beach.


Ali Caputo is the Educational Assistant in the Pukelehua Kindergarten in 2010. Ali completed her Waldorf teacher training in Eugene, Oregon in 2001 and spent a year assisting at the Eugene Waldorf School and a year at Cedarwood Waldorf School . Ali created an at-home Waldorf preschool program for three years while raising her own young children. She is passionate about early childhood education and creating an environment to nurture the whole child. Ali has a love for dancing, yoga, hiking, and paddle boarding.

1st Grade


Steve Fredlund is the 1st grade teacher. His bio is coming soon.

Cayetana De Sarriera is the Educational Assistant in 1st grade. 


Jodi O'Neill is the Educational Assistant in 1st grade. 

2nd Grade

Jacqueline Cramer is the 2nd grade teacher. Jackie joined the Kona Pacific Public Charter School team in 2018 as the Gardening and Sustainable Agriculture Teacher, and still serves the school in this capacity. She has been teaching, working the land, and active as a community organizer for over 30 years. Growing up at the rural-suburban edge, Jackie spent every spare minute playing on the beaches, in the forests and on farms. After studying labor relations and agricultural economics and receiving a Bachelor of Science degree at Cornell University in New York, she was headed to law school but found herself instead in the Pacific Northwest, serving the land and community. After farming for many years, Jackie moved to the city to share passions for the land and growing food. She started the Beacon Food Forest in Seattle, the largest public food forest in the U.S. She attended and then taught horticulture at Edmonds Community College, taught permaculture throughout the Pacific Northwest region, and designed and installed habitats for public and private spaces. For over ten years she has been in the classroom teaching gardening, nutrition, and emotional literacy. In 2017 she heeded a call to move to Hawaii, and has since then been learning from the aina and the traditions of local culture which sustain it. Working with children in the garden has brought Jackie heights of joy and meaning. Everyone is called by the aina. Jackie is honored to assist our students in hearing it.

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Lisa Jaspersohn is the 2nd grade Educational Assistant in the mornings. Lisa joined KPPCS in July of 2018 as a Special Education Educational Assistant. Her background includes over twenty years of experience in schools, agencies, and hospitals to support children in reaching their full potential within their social and emotional development. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s in Education in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University. Lisa is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Her interests are health and wellness and animals.

3rd Grade

Jamie Coulter is the 3rd grade teacher. Jamie joined Kona Pacific in 2015 as the 1st Grade teacher, and led this class through 5th grade, after which he became the 1st Grade Class teacher for his current group of students. Jamie has a Bachelor’s Degree from Johnson State College in Vermont, and a Master's Degree in Education, and Waldorf certification, from Antioch University New England.  He was a class teacher at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School in Massachusetts and worked with the Visiting Students Program at Hawthorne Valley Biodynamic Farm in upstate New York. He moved with his family to the Big Island in 2015 to teach at KPPCS. Outside of school he enjoys martial arts, dance, all kinds of outdoor activities, and parenting his four children.


Silas Young is the Educational Assistant in 3rd grade. 

4th Grade

Paul Montz is the 4th grade teacher. My Name is Paul Montz, but you can call me Mr. Montz, or even Mr. Montzter. This will be my second year teaching at Kona Pacific. I have been teaching elementary students for the past 10 years in grades 3-6. I have a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Hawaii Manoa, where I studied Anthropology. I have a Master's Degree from the University of Phoenix in Elementary Education. I am very passionate about the outdoors with camping being one of my favorite things to do. I am active in Boy Scouts with my children and love to do anything that helps learning and the protection of outdoor spaces.


Leimakamae Freitas is the Educational Assistant in 4th grade. 

5th Grade

Genesis Perez is the 5th grade teacher. Genesis joined the KPPCS team in January of 2020 as our 2nd grade teacher, and has continued forward with her students into 4th grade. Genesis graduated with a Bachelor’s in Art History from the School of Visual Art and Design at the University of Central Florida, where she also took elective classes in Education. Genesis served as Art Director for the Orlando Girls Rock! Camp, a youth-centered arts and social justice movement that focuses on creative expression through music. Genesis has deepened her love of Waldorf Education by participating in several courses at both Sunbridge Institute in Chestnut Ridge, New York, and at the Bay Area Center for Waldorf Teacher Training in Marin County, California. Genesis moved to the Big Island in the fall of 2014, where she has since found many opportunities to share art and music with our community. She is an Art Teacher at the Society for Kona’s Education and Art, as well as beloved Aunty to many of our keiki. Genesis is the daughter of Caribbean-immigrant parents and is fluent in Spanish. She enjoys trivia, research, designing events and costumes, and walking her dog. Her true talent in life is seeing children for who they are, and her greatest joy is awakening the sense that they are truly seen by the world.

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My name is Randy Moseng. This is my first year at KPPCS and I am the 5th grade Educational Assistant. I grew up in a military family which allowed me to experience many different places and people, living in twelve different states in twelve years before spending Junior High and High School in Alaska. After high school, I spent 8 years in the US Army as a Combat Medic, earning my Combat Medic Badge during a deployment to Iraq. While deployed, I was in charge of organizing and teaching Combat Lifesaver courses for Iraqi Army soldiers. Upon leaving the military, I began working as a Chemical Dependency Counselor for at-risk youth with Volunteers of America ARCH program in Eagle River, AK. I then transitioned to working for Child Protective Services as a Caseworker in the family services division in Ketchikan, AK. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work on such an amazing campus with such skilled and caring teachers and EA's. My family and I moved to Hawaii in 2022 and have been enjoying the unique beauty and experiences that this wonderful island has to offer. In my spare time I enjoy working on my property, playing guitar and spending time with my wife of 25 years and my two children. 

Middle School

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I am Matt Bashaw, the 6th grade teacher, and I am overjoyed to be teaching here at Kona Pacific. I have lived on island for about eight years now and always felt attached to this community. For the past seven years, I was  teaching at Kuleana Education and I enjoyed that experience immensely. As a founding teacher at Kuleana Education, I learned what it meant and what it took to be a devoted and dedicated teacher. I intend to continue that passionate work here and look forward to a successful and enriching year.  

I am married to the most beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate person ever, Theresa. She has provided me with endless amounts of laughter, continuous joy, and friendship. We have two children: Oliver, who is four years old, and Alma, who is sixteen months. Being a parent has allowed me to discover the meaning of unconditional love and parenthood is simply the best.  

As for myself, I am a tennis and wake board enthusiast. I enjoy traveling, swimming, gardening, volleyball, and much more. I believe we get one precious life and I intend to enjoy all that this world offers. One of the benefits of my profession is that I feel like I don’t work a day in my life. I love what I do and will do anything for my students. So, please feel free to come see and talk story with me anytime. 

Amanda Grosso is the 7th grade teacher. Amanda joined Kona Pacific in 2015 as the 1st grade Educational Assistant. In 2016, she became the 1st grade teacher and began her journey with her current class. Amanda received her undergraduate degree from Emerson College in Communications and Journalism, and has Waldorf certification and a Master's in Elementary Education from Antioch University, New England. She earned her Hawaii teaching credential from iTeach Hawaii. Amanda grew up in New Jersey and moved to Boston for college. Shortly after graduating, she moved with her cousins to Kona for a six-month visit and they've never left! Amanda fell in love with the island and the Kona Pacific community and wakes up each day passionate about her work with her students. She loves playing roller derby for the Echo City Knockouts and any opportunity to be on her skates. Amanda is a native Spanish speaker, has a passion for language and travel, and spends her free time reading historical fiction.


Professor Josh Mandelstam is the 8th grade teacher. 


I'm Kenneth Brant, the Grade 6/7/8 Educational Assistant. This is my first year at KPPCS and second year in education. After working as an Industrial Electrician and then Funeral Attendant, I graduated from St. Petersburg College with a Bachelors of Science in Public Policy and Administration in 2021. After a year of substitute teaching with Pinellas County Schools in Florida I took the opportunity to reunite with family and continue my career in education by taking a position with KPPCS as an Educational Assistant in 2022. I am currently working towards full certification as a teacher in Hawaii. In my free time, I enjoy reading, cooking, and gardening. 


Specialty Teachers


David Duke is the Movement/PE Teacher. David joined Kona Pacific in 2011. David holds a B.A. in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and graduated with a Level 1 certificate in Spatial Dynamics from the Spatial Dynamics Institute in Mechanicville, New York. David moved to the Big Island to be a coffee farmer but fell in love with Kona Pacific and has been here ever since. He has held many roles over the years at KPPCS including A+ Program Coordinator, member of the Leadership Council, editor of the student newsletter, coach of the Middle School Volleyball Team, and Technology Coordinator for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. David is dedicated to maintaining a quality physical education program at Kona Pacific where each student is empowered with the knowledge and skills necessary to make responsible lifestyle choices that directly impact their health and well-being. He enjoys playing guitar, swimming, hiking, and volleyball.

Samantha Hooper is the Garden teacher.


Maraya Ben-Joseph is the Art teacher. Maraya joined the KPPCS community in 2009 as the lead Aftercare teacher and then as the Handwork Assistant. After 8 years off campus, Maraya has rejoined the KPPCS team. Maraya was raised in New York in a multicultural, multilingual family within The Rudolf Steiner Fellowship Foundation, an intentional community dedicated to the care of elderly. From a young age she worked the farm, the gardens, the orchard, with farm animals, with elders, with children. Maraya attended Green Meadow Waldorf School from kindergarten through twelfth grade, participated in many teen programs at the Vermont Wilderness School and in 2013 Maraya received her BA from Prescott College with a degree in Humanities: Community Capacity Building: Native and Indigenous Practice. Maraya has worked at various summer camps and pre-schools across the U.S, working with children since 2002. Maraya moved to Hawaii in 2008 and for the past 10 years has been farming and raising a family with her husband. Presently Maraya is an active board member for the Olohana Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to disaster mitigation and climate change adaptation strategies. Maraya is an active student of Hawaiian culture and agriculture, budding agroforester farmer, community capacity builder and organizer, musician, mom, nature conservationist, teacher, crafter, and sourdough bread maker.

Nohea Runnells is our Hawaiian Studies Instructor. 


Special Education Teachers

Jackie Sabin is the Kona Pacific Elementary Special Education Teacher and Middle School RTI Coach. Jackie began teaching at Kona Pacific in 2017 as the 5th and 6th Grade SPED Teacher. In the 2019-2020 school year, Jackie transitioned to being the 7th Grade Class Teacher and the English Language Arts Teacher for 7th and 8th grades, and she moved forward with her group of students into 8th Grade, graduating this class in May, 2021. Jackie went to St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn, New York and graduated magna cum laude in 2010 with a double major in Sociology and History. Jackie finished her Masters in Education in Teaching (MEdT), with honors, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2018. From this program, she became dual-licensed in both general education and special education. Jackie has served as Secretary for the KPPCS Governing Board since May 2019. Prior to teaching, Jackie was a farmer, yoga teacher, personal chef/caterer, substitute teacher, and stay-at-home mom. Jackie is passionate about social justice, equity in the classroom, surfing, and enjoying the incredible nature of Hawaii.

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Heather Baraka is the Special Education teacher for the middle school.  She also serves as the Student Services Coordinator, coordinating IEP and 504 plans, and coordinating services for ELL services. She began working at Kona Pacific in 2009 as an EA and began teaching in 2016.  She is licensed in General Education and Waldorf Education and has a Master's in Special Education.  She also has her Sheltered Instruction Qualification for ELL. She is a part of the school’s Instructional Leadership Team.  Before coming to Kona Pacific, she taught in a private Waldorf kindergarten and led her own early childhood programs. 

Heather currently works with HSTA’s Human and Civil Rights Committee and the CARES group for diversity professional development.  She is a part of a professional learning community for Inclusive Practices.  

Heather enjoys working with students.  She finds joy in differentiating general education curriculum to help her students understand it.  She loves that her students spend a majority of the day in an inclusive classroom.  One of her strengths is the ability to intuitively meet the needs of the students in the moment based on her years of experience and her innate gifts.  She thinks that Kona Pacific has a lot to offer students with unique learning needs and is glad to be a part of the team. 

Monica Heiser is the RTI Coach. Monica joined Kona Pacific Public Charter School in June, 2019 as our 3rd Grade Class Teacher, and she has continued forward with these students as their current class teacher. She is also our Elementary RTI Coach. Monica has a bilingual multiple subject teaching credential, TESOL/TEFL certification, and BA (magna cum laude) in Liberal Studies from San Diego State University. Monica has nine years of teaching experience in elementary grades. She is a past Hope Street Group Fellow and current Hawaii State Teachers Fellow. Monica is passionate about teaching reading, sparking student curiosity, and cultivating a love for learning in her students. She is a mother, aunty, teacher, farmer, and nature enthusiast.

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Juliet Puplova is our SPED Educational Assistant. 

Administration & Support Staff


I am so honored to introduce myself as the Executive Director of Kona Pacific Charter School for  the 2021-2022 school year! I fell in love with Kona Pacific when I first visited and feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to join this school. I value the tenets of Waldorf and alternative learning, including teaching to the “whole child” and the focus on project based cross curricular learning with such a beautiful and rich program. I am excited to watch the school continue to blossom first hand during my time as Executive Director. 


I have been working as an administrator for an alternative charter school on the mainland for the last 8 years. During my time in administration, my team and I markedly improved test scores and created and maintained a positive culture and climate for our staff and students. We earned a prestigious “A” rating from the Department of Education 8 years in a row. We qualified for results based funding and were highlighted as being in the top 10% of Charter Schools in Arizona. During my time as an administrator my schools enrollment  exploded and we have grown three times including building new buildings and even securing a new campus. 


Prior to my time in administration as a school Principal at a Montessori Charter School, I worked as a School Counselor. I developed,  implemented, and supervised an integrated behavioral health innitiative that has developed into an immersive  program across several campuses. It also serves as an internship site for several Masters level students that I supervise. Additionally, I started a teen girls after school program serving at risk populations that focus on community based coping skills and activities to promote healthy minds. I have experience as a programs director overseeing Title I, and IDEA federal programs as well as several others, and I am an experienced grant writer.  I developed and implemented teacher training and mentor programs, acclaimed teacher evaluation systems, and recruitment strategies which vastly improved teacher quality. I am a highly qualified teacher in the state of Arizona as well as a certified School Counselor. I value continued education having earned a Bachelor's degree (from the University of Hawaii at Manoa) and  a Master’s degree and have also completed all of the coursework  for a Doctorate in School Psychology. I am a mother of 4 children and a wife to an elementary school  teacher. In my free time I enjoy hiking, swimming, photography and spending quality time with my family. 


I truly believe that every child can be successful and reach their unique potential with the right support. Children can benefit immensely from hands-on learning, socially, and emotionally supportive environments, and meaningful lessons. I maintain that developing a strong community in every classroom is vital to the success of students and community development  is equally important  for the staff school climate as well as the school community.  My focus while serving as your Executive Director will include an emphasis on agriculture, Hawaiian Studies, and Waldorf principles. I look forward to working with staff, families, and communities to bring innovative ways to continue academic, social and emotional success in every student who attends Kona Pacific Charter School. 



Amber Herres,  MA.


Melissa Miller is our Front Office Extraordinaire. She joined our KPPCS family in 2014 as our Nutrition Program Assistant. In 2018, she became our Nutrition Program Coordinator. Since 2020 she has been in our Front Office. Melissa studied English Literature and Performing Arts at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colorado. In 1997, she went on to study Massage Therapy at Utah College of Massage Therapy. She currently holds active licensure in Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii. She became a Certified Yoga instructor in 2005 studying the Baptiste Method. In 2007, she moved from Utah to Hawaii. After years of traveling and exploring she found her home here on the Big Island. Melissa is a mother of two. When she’s not working you will find her traveling, exploring the beauty of the world with her children, reading poetry, gardening, driving a tractor, woodworking, and studying herbalism.

Jen Brant is our Student Records Coordinator. Jen joined Kona Pacific Public Charter School in June, 2020. Jennifer has a Bachelor's degree in Classics from Newcomb College, Tulane University in New Orleans and a Masters degree in Religious Studies specializing in Biblical Archeology from the University of South Florida. Jen has over 29 years of Operations/IT experience working for several large international banks such as J.P. Morgan Chase, PricewaterhouseCoopers and HSBC. She is a member of the U.S. Masters Women's Freediving Team and has competed as well as judged at the international level with her deepest dive so far being over 54 meters / 179 feet (over 17 stories!). Jen is passionate about organization, accuracy and transparency, utilizing her IT and database skills to support the school's needs. 

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Edie Lupien is the Kona Pacific Finance Manager and HR Coordinator.

Julie Horrell is the Kona Pacific Financial Consultant. Julie is responsible for producing financials, budgeting, managing the fiscal aspect of grants, and overseeing the finances. Julie started with Kona Pacific in November 2017.  She has a BA in Business Management.  and has worked in this field for 28 years in various industries. (Construction, non-profits, service industries, and now a charter school.) Julie's current company is Financial Foundations; she created this corporation after doing it as a sole proprietor for several years.

Julie is originally from California and first moved to Hawaii in 1987. She has moved off the island a few times but has been on the Big Island for the majority of her life with a brief stay in Vegas for 6 years. Both of her kids (Savannah 17 and Sawyer 6) were born here. Julie's hobbies include work and work. LOL! She enjoys the beach with her kids, feeding the eels, traveling, and eating at new places.  



Shane Mann is our Kona Pacific Friendly Neighborhood Campus Steward. Uncle Shane has worked at Kona Pacific for 7 years. Before this, he worked in the hotel industry for 4 years and was a farmer for 5 years. Shane attended Agricultural College. He was born in Bristol, England and moved to Oahu in 2006. From there, Shane moved to Colorado and then to the Big Island. His hobbies include reading, fishing, and cycling. Shane is a big fan of music and loves all kinds of genres. When Shane is not beautifying the campus, you can find him spending time with his beautiful wife and two amazing kids. 

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