A school was existent in Anahola at least as early as Feb. 19, 1858, the fateful day when it was blown down in a wind storm accompanied by thunder and lightning.
Scant records also indicate that on Oct. 25, 1892, Miss Lucy Aukai of the Kawaiahao Seminary on O‘ahu boarded the steamer Iwalini to become the principal of Anahola School, and by the turn of the century 39 pupils attended Anahola School.
Then in 1922, the County of Kaua‘i purchased property next to the Ko‘olau Hui‘ia Protestant Church in Anahola, on which a new, four-room Anahola School building and an adjoining teachers’ cottage would be constructed, which were needed because the school buildings then presently in use were overcrowded.
Work was completed in 1924 and the new school, which still stands to this day, was opened that same year.
Forty-one years later, Anahola School grades seven and eight were consolidated with Kapa‘a High &Intermediate School effective Sept. 1, 1965, and on Sept. 1, 1966, grades one through six were combined with Kapa‘a Elementary School — and Anahola School was closed.
Today, the Anahola School buildings are the home of Kamehameha Schools Preschool (Anahola).
Of special interest in the history of Anahola School is African American teacher and school Principal Carlotta Stewart Lai (1881-1952).
Originally from New York, she came to in Hawai‘i in 1898 with her father and stepmother and attended O‘ahu College (now Punahou School), where she earned a normal school teaching certificate, the qualification necessary for her to teach in Hawai‘i’s public schools.
She then accepted a post as an English teacher at Punahou, and in 1909 became the principal of Ko‘olau School, Kaua‘i, which once stood next to and on the Kilauea side of the old graveyard on Ko‘olau Road.
Lai was the principal at Anahola School from 1920 until 1929, when she was appointed principal of Hanama‘ulu School.
In 1916, she’d married Yun Tim Lai (1886-1935), the sales manager of Garden Island Motors, Kaua‘i’s Ford dealership. They had no children and she didn’t remarry after his death.