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About » Board & Advisors

Board & Advisors

The HWIS board and advisors provide governance and support to the Head of School to ensure that we establish a sound strategic plan with the ability to carry it out. The board will from time to time seek out additional advisors to provide additional perspectives.


Sharon Huang – Founder, board member


Prior to founding the school in February 2005 Sharon worked in the corporate world for 15+ years, including at Nabisco in various domestic and international brand management positions, and in senior director positions at AirTouch Cellular and WeightWatchers.com. Sharon received her undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley, and an MBA from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. She is an advisor to Asia Society’s CELIN (Chinese Early Language Immersion Network) organization and frequently presents at the annual National Chinese Language Conference. She is married and has twin 15-year-old sons who graduated from HWIS in 5th grade and continued with their Mandarin in weekend heritage and high school Chinese classes. They recently completed a summer program at National Taiwan Normal University in 2019.


Portrait of Sharon Huang, founder & board member of HudsonWay Immersion School



William Hicks – Co-founder & board member


Mr. Hicks (Founder Sharon Huang’s husband) has 20 years of corporate experience in the healthcare industry and has conducted business throughout Asia while at Baxter International. He also lived in Taipei, Taiwan and Ecuador as a child. His education includes a BA from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Stanford University. 


Portrait of William Hicks, co-founder & board member of HudsonWay Immersion School



Mark Bandak – Board member and investor


Mark Bandak has close to a decade of global experience investing in the education sector, particularly PreK-12 for-profit schools. Mark co-founded Valian Ltd in 2014 which completed investments such as GEMS Education, the largest K-12 school group, which was successfully exited to CVC Capital; Kindred Nurseries, a London-based early learning group; Britus Education, a MENA-based K-12 school platform; and HWIS. In addition, Mark founded Sandbox & Co, an EdTech investment firm, which acquired the digital learning assets of Pearson plc, among others. Prior to Valian, Mark was a partner at Investcorp and the Blackstone Group, where he spent 13 years. He also worked at a family office and the NYC Economic Development Corporation. Mark earned an MBA and BS in Engineering from Columbia University.


Portrait of Mark Bandak, board member of and investor in HudsonWay Immersion School 


Elizabeth Willaum


Elizabeth has worked in education for more than 40 years. During her career, she has been a teacher, trainer, curriculum coordinator, world languages supervisor, assistant superintendent and assistant professor. She taught in one of the first immersion education programs in New York City and came to New Jersey in 1988 to pioneer the first immersion program in the state. She has an MA in Administration & Supervision/Educational Leadership from Teachers College, Columbia University, PD-MA in Educational Administration from the College of New Rochelle, MS in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from Long Island University, and BS in General Education from Lehman College. Elizabeth is certified in Educational Administration, Principal and Director/Supervisor in the states of NY and NJ. Elizabeth was the director of HWIS from 20014-2019.


Portrait of Elizabeth Willaum, advisor to HudsonWay Immersion School



Dr. Eric Isselhardt


Eric has worked with HWIS for nearly a decade consulting in areas on school culture and leadership and faculty development. Currently the Acting President and CEO of the National Network of the State Teachers of the Year, Eric has over 25 years of leadership experience in both non-profit and for-profit education venues. He has taught elementary and university students, led independent and charter schools, led a large non-profit education services organization, and engaged in pedagogical reform and design—including leading a team to reinvent a small country’s elementary system. Eric holds a Ph.D. in Education Administration and Policy Studies, State University of New York at Albany, and a B.A. in Chinese Language and Philosophy from Bennington College.


Portrait of Dr. Eric Isselhardt, advisor to HudsonWay Immersion School