By Julie Funasaki Yuen
This school year, Mid-Pacific welcomed Lesley Kaneshiro as chief operating officer (COO). Kaneshiro is no stranger to the Mid-Pacific ‘Ohana, having served as a former trustee, and parent of a recent Mid-Pacific graduate. She joins the Mid-Pacific senior leadership team with extensive experience at Pūlama Lānaʻi, where she served as the senior vice president of finance, the senior vice president of operations, and the managing director of Lanai Air. Prior to that, Kaneshiro held executive positions as the CFO and CEO of Island Air. She was credited with improving Island Air’s operations and returning the airline to profitability during her tenure.
What are you most excited about this academic year?
I’m most excited about interacting with students, faculty and staff in our community and creating lasting relationships. Listening to the staff and faculty, and learning from them about the operations of the school is really important. I’m looking forward to exploring opportunities to improve and grow Mid-Pacific together. It has been wonderful working at a school that fosters continual learning and innovation at every age, including faculty and staff. Education is continually evolving, especially during the pandemic, and here at Mid-Pacific we are modeling what we value every day.
My decision to join the Mid-Pacific community was easy. My son is an alumni from the Class of 2017, and over the years I met many wonderful and caring faculty and families. We all had the same goal – to offer our children the best education and opportunities for advancement. I was also grateful to serve on the Board of Trustees and meet the governing body of business executives who give their time and experience selflessly to support the continued growth of the school. They are amazing individuals with diverse backgrounds who contribute much to the success of Mid-Pacific. At the core of any organization is its people. The Mid-Pacific community exudes the same core values as my family and I know it is the place for me.
What is the role of the Chief Operating Officer?
As the COO for Mid-Pacific, I lead the Business Office, Compliance and Risk Management, Safety & Security, Facilities & Maintenance Services, and Campus Planning and Renewal departments, and act as a bridge, working cross functionally across the school to promote collaboration with faculty and staff. I look for opportunities to expand the Mid-Pacific brand while ensuring fiscal oversight and assisting with development strategies to support future growth and enhancement of Mid-Pacific academic and other school programs.
How will you apply your experience at Pūlama Lānaʻi and Island Air at Mid-Pacific?
At Pūlama Lānaʻi and Island Air, I learned the importance of flexibility, creativity and being proactive when looking to the future. The pandemic impacted every business worldwide. It forced us to look at how we conduct business and to look for opportunities to improve. Mid-Pacific is really a 113-year old start up with a rich history resulting from the hard work of our dedicated faculty and staff. We will continually look to expand the foundation of the school and grow, and I look forward to building on the incredible history of Mid-Pacific.
What do you love most about Mid-Pacific?
The staff and faculty have been extremely welcoming to me and willing to share their experiences about how the school operates. I love that the Mid-Pacific community is a culture of learners, students and adults alike, who are constantly looking for opportunities to grow in and out of the classroom. There is a wonderful nurturing and caring environment at Mid-Pacific, as well as a culture of innovation not only in the classroom, but among school administration to provide an unparalleled educational experience for our students and families.
What is your future vision for Mid-Pacific following the COVID-19 pandemic?
The pandemic has allowed us to look at the teaching and learning from various perspectives. I believe that in the coming years we will see innovative programs emerge for students and families. Mid-Pacific has been at the forefront of technology for many years, and I’m excited to be a part of inspiring the next generation of learners.
Pat Garvey, the CFO and VP of operations, will be retiring after 26 years at Mid-Pacific. I am grateful and appreciative that he has shared with me and the staff his rich knowledge. He has been instrumental in moving Mid-Pacific forward over the years with the opening of the elementary school, the addition of the preschool program, and the opening of Wood Hall to name a few. I am honored to follow in his footsteps in leading Mid-Pacific into the future.
I look forward to working closely with the entire Mid-Pacific team to leverage our momentum to make a greater impact and deliver on the promises of the Aspirations 2030 strategic plan.