Thank you and farewell, Mr. Colaianni


Mr. Colianni waves goodbye to the Tigers.

After eight exciting, eventful years at SIS, Michael Colaianni, Head of School, is leaving the grounds of SIS. Over the course of his tenure at SIS, Mr. Colaianni has overseen the enhancement of the athletics programs and facilitated communication across elementary, middle, and high schools. Continuing Mr. Colaianni’s legacy will be, James Gerhard, current high school principal, who will become the new Head of School from 2022-’23. 

While Mr. Colaianni had always been a measured, diplomatic representative of SIS, his leadership was especially under-display during the pandemic. He organized KAIAC Head of School meetings every Wednesday to communicate different schools’ approaches to the government’s Covid regulations and coordinate the most appropriate actions for SIS to take. Under Mr. Colaianni’s oversight, the school’s swift but careful responses to the pandemic have led to the disbanding of the Covid task force this past Friday.

As much as SIS will miss Mr. Colaianni, he says that the school will always have a special place in his heart. In particular, a treasured memory of his is watching the school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” back in 2017. 

“It was a great performance, great show,” Mr. Colaianni said. “[The performance] just lit up the whole school—it was a real high point.”

On a daily basis, Mr. Colaianni has enjoyed watching our volleyball, basketball, and soccer players compete. Such ability to not only study hard but also play hard, Mr. Colaianni says, is what makes SIS so unique. 

As he leaves the school, he hopes students will remember to persevere and do the things that they are talented in.

“I would like to say thanks and keep carrying on. Do not take your grades too seriously, live your life, and do what you are best at. Use the skills that you have and use them the best you can. When you leave here, there will be things that you love and are really good at—focus on those things, not the things other people push you to do.”

Mr. Colaianni will begin a new chapter of his life in Hawaii where he plans to enjoy the plethora of available outdoor and leisure activities. Though Mr. Colaianni has closed off the possibility of returning to international schools as an administrator or teacher, he still wishes to keep a foot in the door through means such as assisting in Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accreditations. 

“I have been in international schools for over 40 years, so I plan not to do that anymore. I just plan on lots of outdoor activities, bike riding, maybe golf and tennis, all those good things. I feel good about leaving the school in good hands.”

We will miss your presence around the school and will do our best to live up to your legacy. We wish you the best in all your future endeavors.