Categorized | Education

Landau named HAIS executive director


The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) Board of Directors has named Robert Landau the organization’s new executive director, replacing longtime Executive Director Robert Witt, who is retiring.

Landau has worked as an educator, principal, superintendent and director for notable schools across the globe. He most recently was deputy superintendent of the prestigious Singapore American School in Singapore.

His career has spanned nearly 40 years in Europe, Asia and the United States.

He was chosen as HAIS executive director after an extensive search within and outside of Hawaii.

“We are excited to have someone with Robert Landau’s extensive experience in schools management take over the helm of HAIS,” said Mark Sugimoto, HAIS board president and president of Hanalani School. “HAIS was formed 35 years ago to preserve and strengthen independent education in Hawaii. Robert will ensure HAIS will continue to be successful in that mission, supporting high standards in independent schools throughout the Islands.

Sugimoto also thanked Witt for his 24 years of service to HAIS.

“On behalf of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools and all of its member schools, the HAIS Board of Directors wishes Mr. Witt a heartfelt mahalo,” said Perry Martin, HAIS vice president and president of Maryknoll School. “Robert has worked tirelessly to promote education for all of Hawaii’s keiki, through advocacy at the Legislature, supporting innovation through professional development and by building a strong community of educators.”

From 16 charter members, the organization has grown to more than 100 private or independent schools with 5,000 educators and more than 40,000 students.

“I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work for a tremendous and important organization like the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools,” Landau said. “My first goal is to become familiar with everyone connected to the HAIS network. It will be my distinct honor and privilege to meet those responsible for schools and education in the State of Hawaii.”

Landau said it is essential independent schools thrive by working together to support the needs of each school through strong association values, educational services, and student support systems.

Witt said the HAIS board has made a great decision to bring Landau on.

“I know my successor will use his extensive expertise and interests to focus on the changing role of schools, teachers and curriculum in preparing students for a very different future,” Witt said. “Robert Landau will ensure HAIS continues to address its key areas of interest: accreditation, professional development and collaboration with public and charter schools.”

Landau congratulated Witt on his long service to HAIS.

“Robert Witt helped build a strong organization with a significant reputation,” he said. “As incoming executive director, I’m thankful to him, the staff and the board members – past and present – for their unparalleled support and dedication to HAIS. This organization has been a driving force for both independent and public education in Hawaii and beyond.”

Landau’s career in education began in Switzerland as a teacher and principal before becoming head of an international school in Indonesia in 1997. He then moved to California where he was the founding director of the International School of Monterey, the first international charter school in the United States.

He became the director of International School of Prague, Czech Republic, in 1999, a position he held for nine years before becoming the director of the Western Academy of Beijing in 2008.

In 2011 Landau became the education director of the Liger Learning Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a school renowned for offering promising, yet disadvantaged, children educational and leadership opportunities they would not otherwise receive.

“Hawaii is the perfect place to infuse culture into school curriculum and programs,” he said. “It is our obligation as educational leaders from the 20th century to prepare our students for their journey through the 21st century. I look forward to being part of that effort.”

On a lighter note, Landau said he also plans to take part in some of the ocean recreational opportunities in the Islands.

“As a former surfer back in the days when the Beach Boys were actually boys, I’m looking forward to engaging in the water sports I have always loved,” he said.

HAIS is an organization of member schools formed in 1969 to preserve and strengthen private independent school education for the betterment of Hawaii’s children. HAIS advocates on behalf of independent education and participates actively in the educational dialogue in the Island community.

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