8th Grade Dean
BY SHAYNE FUJII ’89
CHAD PALMER ’94 knows a thing or two about life coming around full circle. As Mid-Pacific’s current 8th-Grade Dean, Palmer sees his job as his way of giving back to the school that gave so much to him. “As an alumnus of this school, there were so many valuable life lessons I have learned here. Being able to give back to the kids now and making a difference in their lives has been a blessing,” says Palmer. Palmer grew up in Mānoa as a youngster and came to Mid-Pacific as a shy but outgoing 7th grader. He was very active in football, basketball, and hula and credits Dorothy Crowell and Michael Casupang as having a very positive influence on him. “Aunty Dottie (Crowell) always took a personal interest in everyone and their families, even to this day she always wants to know what is going on with you,” says Palmer. “Mr. Casupang, as our Kumu Hula, taught me life lessons way bigger than hula. Both taught me the importance of caring for one another and to always have each others’ backs,” says Palmer. After graduating from Mid-Pacific in 1994, Palmer went on to attend the University of Northern Colorado and graduated in 1998 with a degree in psychology. “I fell in love with psychology because it relates to things in everyday life, I took a strong interest in getting to know what makes people tick,” says Palmer.
The valuable lessons he learned at Mid Pacific helped Palmer adjust to college life, primarily workload management and the independence of being on his own. After graduating from college, Palmer went on to work in social services for the next twenty years, mainly supporting adults with disabilities. In January 2021, he made his career change and joined his alma mater. He began at Mid-Pacific as a proctor, then became the school’s Educator at Large, and now is the school’s 8th-Grade Dean. Palmer says the recent pandemic has been sort of a blessing in disguise as it has helped him realize his desire to make a positive impact in people’s lives.
His responsibilities include providing support for students while working with parents and teachers. “Every day coming to work feels surreal, this is where I want to end my career,” says Palmer. Advice he would give to students today: “Treat everyone how you would like to be treated.”