A Day in the Life of President Turnbull


Taylor Kim, Staff Writer

Mid-Pacific is a large community with many layers behind all the magic. President, Dr. Paul Turnbull has been working at Mid-Pacific for ten years as the brain behind it all.

Growing Up

Turnbull, born and raised in Canada, was a four-sport athlete in high school and ended up continuing his football career into college.

“I played football, basketball, rugby, and track and field. I was a thrower in track, and I was a lifeguard so I swam every so often as well,” Turnbull said.

Turnbull’s absolute favorite sport was basketball, but as a 6’2 male, he was unfortunately not tall enough to play in college.

So, he turned his attention to other possibilities.

Childhood Photo

Making the Move
While still in Canada, Turnbull began his career in education as a teacher in Vancouver.

And suddenly his journey had begun. He, along with his wife, moved to California, where he landed a job as a school superintendent in Santa Barbara.

“I’m having a really good life. My wife is happy, I’m happy. We have three children, they’re happy”.

While living in California, he received a call from a headhunter firm that gave him the opportunity to come to Hawaii. This was for a possible job position at Mid-Pacific, but he replied, “No thank you.”

A couple of weeks later, he received another call insisting that he come and look at the school. This time, he decided to move on again.

“We looked at the whole community, and asked, is this the kind of place where we could live? And I mean, good Lord, this is an amazing place, beautiful. Then we looked at the school for our daughter…we just fell in love,” Turnbull said.

And now began life as President of Mid-Pacific Institute.

Day in the Life as President

For Turnbull, there is rarely any downtime.

“Every morning I wake up anywhere between 4:30 and 5:30. I do a little reading, then meditate, then some more reading. I answer a lot of emails. I try to get as much work done before I get to the office as I can. Then when I get to the office, the rest of the day begins, and I feel like I’ve gotten a little bit of a head start to my day,”, Turnbull said.

President Turnbull is a busy man with a packed schedule filled with daily meetings. Most people underestimate just how many meetings he has in one week.

“I have 30-50 meetings a week.” Turnbull said.

For Turnbull, having an agenda is key to having a well-organized life. But others make his life easier.

He gives credit to his “amazing assistant, Mrs. Tina Yamane, who really is the brains of this whole operation.”

Another support system for Turnbull is the Senior Leaders Team. The Senior Leaders Team…

“I’m so grateful to work with them,” Turnbull said. “I’ll meet weekly with some of the Senior Team, and bi-weekly with most of them. We do that purposely to over-communicate so that we don’t have anything falling in the cracks.”

Senior Leadership Team Members

The department that takes up most of Turnbull’s time is academics and advancement. He feels that academics should always come first at school.

“Operations, so all the things that make the school tick, right, and we want everything to be as smooth as possible. So really, it’s fundraising for the school. I typically leave campus around 5-6pm,” Turnbull said.

The Mid-Pacific Experience

Turnbull seems to revel in being a part of the Mid-Pacific tradition.

“Mid-Pacific is such a progressive place that really leans on innovation. But it stays true to its history. It doesn’t forget the school, its community, who we are, and where we came from,,” Turnbull said.

And Turnbull is excited to witness the school moving along with the latest technological innovations.

“I would say that the immersive technology program was introduced, and is thriving,” Turnbull said.

Being named President of the school comes with its perks. However, the job also comes with some disadvantages.

President Turnbull lives on campus and works on campus. If imagined, it’s probably very hard to balance an at home life vs. work life, and that’s what Dr.Turnbull struggles to find.

“It’s a work life balance, that when I go home, my home is on the campus. And so the campus is in my home. And so for me, the hardest thing for me, especially as a former athlete, is when I hear the buzzer in the gym, or I hear whistles. I feel like I need to get up and leave and go,” Turnbull said.

President, Dr. Paul Turnbull’s family (2022)

Wishes and Goals

And while the day-to-day responsibilities persist, Turnbull regularly thinks about the future of the Mid-Pacific.

“If I had an unlimited budget of money to spend towards the school, at the top of my list would be an endowment for financial aid to allow more families to experience the Mid-Pacific community. And they just can’t make ends meet. It just breaks my heart”, said Turnbull.

Turnbull wants all backgrounds to be welcomed on campus. The school works on training its students and faculty to create a respectful environment.

“My goal is to make sure that the school’s direction is in the same general path that we started 114 years ago,” said Turnbull.

Is Dr. Turnbull Even Human?!
Turnbull’s favorite food is Indian, he loves sushi, and he claims to be a fairly healthy eater.

“I don’t eat breakfast. I have a pretty good healthy lunch. I wouldn’t say I’m not a pescatarian, but I try to lean toward basically greens and fish”, said Turnbull.

Turnbull likes to create a balance in life between work, family, and respectfully enjoying life.

“I spend time with my wife as much as I can, I exercise and l do a lot of housework,” said Turnbull

His favorite hobby is golf, but he also spends time walking,/hiking, and reading

Turnbull is an animal lover, he has one dog, a tortoise, a fish, and four hens.

“My tortoise is mischievous,” Turnbull said. This is just one more responsibility he has to deal with.