Mid-Pacific welcomes new assistant principal, says fond aloha to Dr. Gareth Russell - Mid-Pacific Institute

Academics News

Mid-Pacific welcomes new assistant principal, says fond aloha to Dr. Gareth Russell

Posted on April 20, 2017 by Julie Funasaki Yuen

Mid-Pacific is pleased to welcome the new High School Assistant Principal of Academics, Christel McGuigan, who will be returning home to Hawaiʻi after 20 years living and working in independent school education on the mainland. She will join Mid-Pacific's academic leadership team in July following the departure of Dr. Gareth Russell, who will be retiring at the end of this academic year after 24 years serving the students, faculty and staff of Mid-Pacific.

"I couldn't be happier to be joining the Mid-Pacific community, and I look forward to serving the school in this new role," says McGuigan. "I have kept track of the great things Mid-Pacific has been doing over the years and I am impressed by the advances the school has made in its teaching practices and innovative programs. I am also drawn to the school's sense of community and connectedness, and I am especially drawn to Mid-Pacific's belief in E Kūlia Kākou. I am excited that I will be joining a school that shares the same core values as I do."

"Welcoming Christel McGuigan is a true privilege," says Mid-Pacific High School Principal Tom McManus. "Her deep experience with students and teachers, and 13 years of independent school work is testament to her alignment with Mid-Pacific's core beliefs and aspirations. She believes in the potential of each and every student that walks through our door and is a passionate advocate for student opportunity. She is an expert listener and coach, aware of the unique demands on excellent teachers like ours who give of themselves every day to make the lives of our students better."

Most recently, McGuigan was the director of equity and instruction at Lakeside School in Seattle, WA and worked as the director of multicultural programs at Greenhill School in Addison, TX. She was also the director of diversity, and a Spanish instructor at The Bishop's School in La Jolla, CA.

"I have the fortunate experience of seeing Mid-Pacific through the eyes of my husband and his siblings, who all attended the school," shares McGuigan. "To this day, my husband has kept close relationships with classmates and teachers. In fact, he recently chaperoned a trip to New Zealand as an alum with Pupukahi. These experiences and relationships, both past and present, have made a significant impact on his life. This is another reason I am so excited to be joining Mid-Pacific, because this school cares about the relationships that are forged between students and each other, as well as between students and teachers."

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Dr. Gareth Russell

Assistant Principal Gareth Russell has some sage advice for McGuigan in her new position. "It's easy to get stuck in the offices in Damon Hall. Carve out as much time as possible to visit classrooms to see all of the great things happening on our campus. Attend as many presentations of learning as possible to hear first-hand from students about their learning."

Principal McManus is grateful to Russell for his many years of tireless service to the Mid-Pacific community. "Gareth is a man of tremendous integrity and generosity," he says. "Each student he has worked with is in his heart, and his colleagues are dear to him. He has been shepherd to literally thousands of students and teachers. As a science teacher, chair, International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator, assistant principal, and administrative teacher-leader, Gareth has been a cornerstone of the high school. For me and so many others, he has been an unwavering constant, always looking ahead to the needs of teachers and students, turning in long days to make everyone else's go smoothly."

Russell too is grateful. "Thank you to all of my colleagues who have shown so much aloha to me," he says. "I will leave Mid-Pacific rich with so many fond memories."

"The students have always been my greatest joy," shares Russell. "Every year I continue to be impressed with their accomplishments, from academics to Mid-Pacific School of the Arts performances to athletic games. It has been my privilege to get to know and guide the IB students for my years at Mid-Pacific."