Photo of Sharon Huang
Sharon Huang

Sharon was born in the United States to immigrant parents from Taiwan and did not grow up speaking Mandarin in her household. Prior to founding the school in 2005, Sharon worked in the corporate world for more than 15 years. Her role as international director at Nabisco involved significant travel to Asia and Latin America, forming the basis for her belief in children’s need to become global citizens. Sharon received an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.B.A. from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. She is married to Bill Hicks, and their twin 11-year-old sons recently graduated 5th grade at HWIS.

Photo of Elizabeth Willaum
Elizabeth Willaum
Director for New Jersey/New York

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 one of the first immersion programs in the state. Elizabeth has assisted in the development and enhancement of many language immersion programs and schools throughout the Tri-State area. She has an M.A. in Educational Administration from the College of New Rochelle, M.S. in Bilingual Education from Long Island University, and B.S. in General Education from Lehman College.

Photo of Irene Gallardo-Nicolosi
Irene Gallardo-Nicolosi
Assistant Director

Señorita Irene is originally from Spain. She was a mentor teacher at Hoboken’s Dual Language Charter School, where she developed curriculum, trained teachers in best immersion practices, and administered and analyzed assessments. Irene holds a B.A. in Psychology and two teaching certifications in Early Childhood Education and Special Education from New Jersey City University. She has participated in and presented many teacher workshops and professional development sessions throughout throughout the years. Irene received special training in Writer’s Workshop from the Teachers College, Columbia University, and became certified in the multi-sensory teaching approach of Orton Gillingham.

Photo of Plutus Yang
Plutus Yang
Assistant Director

Plutus Dǎo Shī (导师) originally hails from Taiwan and has over six years of teaching experience in Chinese Mandarin immersion and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. She has expertise in multi-disciplinary instructional delivery and educational technologies and served as both an IB team leader and National Academic League team coach at the Baltimore International Academy. Plutus holds a Masters of Education in English as a Second Language from George Washington University and a B.A. in Theater from the University of Maryland. She served as a classroom teacher in two different Maryland school districts and had her work featured in an exhibit at the National Museum of Language.

Photo of Bill Hicks
Bill Hicks
Chief Administrative Officer

Bill joined the school full time in 2008 after more than 20 years of corporate experience in the healthcare industry. His connection to Asia comes from his work in international business while working as a director at Baxter International and from living in Taipei, Taiwan and Ecuador as a child. His education includes an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.