Kauai School Districts – Which Side of the Island is Right For Your Child?

I often get asked, when people with children are considering what side of the island to move, where the best school district is located.

Alana May Day Karlos Photos 053

Hanalei Elementary School (North Shore) celebrating May Day

There are different options available and all depend upon the type of child and their specific interests, needs, and habits. I, of course, do not have a personal knowledge of your child’s personality and needs. What I can do is provide you with your options.


I encourage you to do your due diligence as you would with your home purchase. Contact the school(s) of your choice with your specific questions, inquire on their curriculum and special programs offered, so you can make an intelligent decision that is best for you and your child. If you are on island, I highly recommend making an appointment to tour the school and personally meet the teachers and faculty. 


My daughter graduated college in May from University of Hawai’i at Manoa

I have raised 2 children on Kauai that both went through the public school system. I am happy to share my own personal experience if you wish to contact me with any questions.

Public Schools

Okay, let’s get started. Our public school district is divided into 3 complexes:

  • Kapaa Complex (includes North Shore)
  • Kauai Complex (Lihue to South Shore)
  • Waimea Complex (Kalaheo to Kekaha)

This link will provide you individual links to each school for more in-depth information. I also suggest searching Google for up-to-date information as well. Here are the current schools around the island:

North Shore

Hanalei Elementary School: K – 6th grade
Kilauea Elementary School: K – 6th grade

Middle and High School for the North Shore kids is located in Kapaa. There is a school bus that brings them to and from school. However, if your child is involved in after school activities/sports, you will need to make arrangements for their transportation home. All kids living from Wailua to Haena are in this district. If your child is going to elementary on the North Shore, they will not start middle school before 7th grade.

Kapaa Middle School: 6th – 8th grade

Kapaa High School: 9th – 12th grade

Lihue to South Shore

Wilcox Elementary: Located in Lihue K – 5th grade
Kaumualii Elementary: Located in Lihue K – 5th grade
Koloa Elementary: Located in Koloa K – 5th grade
* Then they begin Middle School in 6th Grade at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle: Located in Lihue 6th – 8th grade

Kauai High: Located in Lihue 9th – 12th grade

Kalaheo to Kekaha (West Side)

Kalaheo Elementary: Located in Kalaheo K – 5th grade
* Choice of Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle or Waimea Canyon Middle
Eleele Elementary: Located in Eleele K – 5th grade
Kekaha Elementary: Located in Kekaha K – 5th grade
* Middle School at Waimea Canyon Middle

Waimea Canyon Middle: Located in Waimea 6th – 8th grade

Waimea High: Located in Waimea 9th – 12th grade

Other Options

  • Kauai has a large variety of pre-schools island-wide.
  • There are currently 4 Public Charter Schools on Kauai from grades K-12.
  • There are currently 8 Private Schools on Kauai.
  • Kauai offers Kauai Community College. They offer a lot of excellent classes and opportunity. Our college campus is located in Puhi.

Want to Call Kauai Home?

I hope you will find this information helpful. Which side of the island is right for you? Now that you are in tune with our educational options, I would love the opportunity to help you locate the perfect place to call home on Kauai.


I look forward to hearing from you…


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Sophia Pantelis

April 5, 2023


My husband and I are looking to accept roles with Hanalei Elementary School in Kauai, HI. Where would best to rent something not too far away from work location and a decent price. We are both educators and we have two children, Lucas (10), and Demi (8). I look forward to hearing back from you.


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