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Our Staff

The Team

We invite you to learn more about our teachers & staff and the work that each of us does! We are committed to the mission of providing a loving, nurturing, Christ centered environment of discovery and learning for the keiki in our care. The faculty, staff and administration work together to ensure Kahului Baptist Preschool's core values are honored and demonstrated.

Melanie Nishita

Preschool Director

Ms. Melanie was born in Pennsylvania but has been here over 40 years, she now calls Maui home. She is married with two grown children, three grandchildren, and two hanai grandchildren. She has been teaching young children for about 35 years with 23 of them being here at Kahului Baptist Preschool. She has been a member at Kahului Baptist Church for 20 years.


"Teaching children is in itself a privilege, but teaching them about Jesus is an honor. I am excited every day to see what God has in store for us and blessed to be apart of it!"


Ginny Kinoshita

Assistant Director & Teacher, Laulima Room

Ms. Ginny has been teaching preschoolers for about 23 years. From Head Start to Doris Todd and now as our Assistant Director & Laulima Room Teacher. Ms. Ginny has been with Kahului Baptist for 18 years. Here she has been blessed with opportunities to share Jesus with children and watch them grow and blossom. She is married with three adult children, thirteen grandchildren and one great grandchild.

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Cara Chong-Kee

Teacher, Pono Room

"Caring, Amazing, Respecful, All around willing to help out!" Ms. Cara has been working as a preschool teacher for about 15 years. She has enjoyed teaching keiki of all ages at our preschool. Ms. Cara is a member at Kahului Union Church and enjoys being apart of various committees. She is also involved with the Baseball Community, Maui Okinawan Culture activities, and Boys Scouts of America. Ms. Cara is married and has two children who are both currently attending Pomaikai Elementary. Ms. Cara also has a dog named Mesha and a holland lop ear bunny named Bunny Bun Bun. 

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Brandie Jaye Diaz

Teacher, Papa'ike Room

Ms. Brandie has been educating children for 14 years and working at Kahului Baptist Preschool for 12 years. She has her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education. Ms. Brandie believes that our Keiki are our future and that it is very important that we educate them not only with academics but also by integrating God's love, traditions, values, and morals into our curriculum. Ms. Brandie and her Ohana live in Kihei. As a teacher mommy she strongly feels that caffeine is a must have. Ms. Brandie's other job is being a personal assistant, chauffeur, chef, teacher, coach, stylist (aka MOM) to her son and daughter. Ms. Brandie loves cooking, eating, exploring, creating, adventuring and spending time with her Ohana. 


Jena Tanaka

Teacher, Hoku Room

Ms. Jena was born and raised on Maui. She graduated college with her associates degree in Early Childhood Education and has been in the field since 2001 and teaching at Kahului Baptist Preschool for ten years. Ms. Jena currently lives with her husband of ten years and their two dogs. In her spare time she loves crafting and spending time with family and friends. Her favorite thing to do at the end of the day is enjoy the breath-taking bi-coastal ocean views and watch the sunset from her balcony. 


Paula Higuchi

Biblical Counselor

Paula was born on O'ahu and raised on Maui. She loves the people of Hawai'i and it brings her great joy to be able to minister on the island that she calls home. Paula graduated with a B.A.  in Biblical Studies from the Master's University in 2009, received her M.A. in Biblical Counseling from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2014, and has been certified through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC) since 2015. She is a member of Kahului Baptist Church and started attending in 1997.

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Jay Haynes

Kahului Baptist Church Pastor

The children at Kahului Baptist Preschool all know that Pastor Jay, loves motorcycles and coffee, is bad with names and scared of spiders. Pastor Jay ...


Danyelle Contreras

Assistant Teacher, Mahina Room

Ms. Danyelle is an alumni of Kahului Baptist Preschool. She grew up at the preschool as her mother, Ms. DeAnn is also a teacher at KBPS. Ms. Danyelle has been working at Kahului Baptist Preschool since 2020. Ms. Danyelle has always had the desire to make a difference and help change the world, she feels as if being a teacher allows her to do so. She believes it is a great honor to shape young minds and help children explore and understand the world around them. Ms. Danyelle has an associate degree in, Hawaiian Studies, Liberal Arts and Early Childhood Education. She is currently working on her Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education. Some fun things that Ms. Danyelle enjoys includes going to the beach and attending concerts. 


DeAnn Contreras

Teacher, Kalo Room

Ms. DeAnn has been an Early Childhood Educator for 30 years. Twenty- two of those years have been here at Kahului Baptist Preschool. Ms. DeAnn loves reading stories to her students and teaching them all about God's grace and His unconditional love for us. Ms. DeAnn has an Associates in Early Childhood Education from Rio Hondo College in California.  She is married with three young adult children. She is a member at Waiehu Community Church and enjoys spending time with family, crafting and making leis. 


Sandee Nelson

Teacher, Papa'ike Room
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Ms. Sandee has worked in the Early Education Field for more than twenty five years. She has been teaching here at Kahului Baptist Preschool for 18 years. Ms. Sandee calls Wailuku home. You can probably find her in the valley somewhere, content to gather natures little treasures, discovering hidden spots or immersed in quiet conversations with the Lord. Ms. Sandee is all about enjoying and creating life experiences. She has two children who are grown and a granddaughter she is raising. She lives every day with intention and believes an attitude of gratitude is a daily must. 



Teacher, Hoku Room

Ms. Marie-Chelle was born on the beautiful island of Maui. She is married to her high school sweetheart and together they have two beautiful children. Her daughter who is 16 years old and her son who is 12 years old. Ms. Marie-Chelle volunteered as a teacher's aide here at Kahului Baptist Preschool while she was in High School and she loved it! After graduation she decided to go to school and become a preschool teacher. She earned her Child Development Associate Certification and became a teacher in 2007. Ms. Marie-Chelle has been working at Kahului Baptist Preschool for 21 years. One of her favorite things about working here is watching the little ones grow from tiny little seeds into beautiful flowers.  

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