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Hawaii independent schools name new executive director

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The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools has tapped an international educator to replace longtime Executive Director Robert Witt, who is retiring.

Robert Landau — who has worked as an educator, principal, superintendent and director for schools around the world — was selected following an extensive search, the association’s board of directors announced Monday.

Landau’s educational career has spanned nearly 40 years in Europe, Asia and the U.S. He most recently was deputy superintendent of the Singapore American School in Singapore. 

The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools, or HAIS, is an organization of member schools formed to preserve and strengthen private school education in the islands — where nearly 20 percent of schoolchildren attend private schools. HAIS has more than 100 member schools, employing 5,000 educators that serve more than 40,000 students.

Landau’s career began in Switzerland as a teacher and principal before he became head of an international school in Indonesia. He moved to California to become the founding director of the International School of Monterey, the first international charter school in the U.S. 

He then served as director of the International School of Prague before becoming director of the Western Academy of Beijing. Landau went on to become the education director of the Liger Learning Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. 

“Hawaii is the perfect place to infuse culture into school curriculum and programs,” he said in a statement. “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.”

Witt, who led HAIS for 24 years, praised Landau’s background and expertise.

“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. 

“(He) will ensure HAIS continues to address its key areas of interest: accreditation, professional development and collaboration with public and charter schools.”

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