CISNA Board Members

Leila Shatara

President

Dr. Leila Shatara earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Research Methodology at Florida Atlantic University and is currently the Head of School at Noor-Ul-Iman School. She has also served as the Council of Islamic Schools (CISNA) President for the past 3 years after serving as vice president for 4 years. Her experience in education spans 29 years; she has taught preschool, elementary, middle and high school as well as college level teacher education courses.

She has been an Islamic school leader for about 15 years and this is her 4th year at NUI. She has led 5 Islamic schools through their accreditation attainment and served on accreditation teams for CISNA, FCIS, NJAIS and COGNIA(AdvancEd). Dr. Shatara has presented at the ISNA Education forum on topics ranging from effective leadership and data driven decision making to teacher evaluations and spiritual development. She has also presented at the University Council for Educational Administration Conference (UCEA), the American Educational Research Association Conference (AERA), and the Florida Educational Research Association (FERA). Her areas of expertise include mentoring school leaders, school wide assessment, Board governance best practices, evaluation processes in schools and teacher professional development and evaluation. She is a certified Trainer for Non-Profit Boards through Board Source and a Leadership Challenge Facilitator.

She was designated a national Clark Scholar in 2018 for educational leadership and administration and is a published researcher on topics such as leadership, Muslim educational needs, and cultural competency. One of her recent publications is Understanding the Minority Voice in a Pluralistic Society: The Case of Islamic Schools.

Salman Syed

vice president

Salman Syed is a Senior Leader in Data and Analytics and has worked with many large institutions around the world in solving their complex data problems. 

Salman currently serves as the chair of the school board for Al Salam Day School in St Louis Missouri, a member of the shura of the foundation and a founding member of American Islamic Montessori Association.

Salman is a father of three very young children who are a part of the Islamic education system. Salman is very passionate about problem solving, bringing corporate style efficiencies in processes within our educational institutions and creating sustainable financial models.

As a Data professional, he plans to bring Data and Analytics into the realm of Islamic Educational Institutions. Digital Transformation is the need of the hour for any institution globally and Salman’s vision is to develop a framework for our Islamic schools to transition into the digital age.

Farah Naz

secretary

Farah is Principal for Everest Academy- a full-time, private, Islamic School in Texas. Under her leadership, the school received Accreditation with Exemplary Distinction on most Accreditation Standards from SACS/CASI/ AdvancED in the third year of its inception; and school enrollment has grown from 5 to 440 with a waiting list for most classrooms.

Farah Naz has two bachelor’s and two M.Ed. degrees from overseas and US, a Montessori certificate, and Post Graduate Certification in Advanced Professional Studies from UK. Farah has several educator certifications from the Texas Education Agency which include 3 Teaching Licenses along with certifications in Instructional Leadership and Texas Teacher Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS). During her ~25 years of experience, Farah Naz has served as Teacher, Leader, Mentor, Trainer, and Consultant for numerous organizations and presented at several nationwide Educational Conferences.

Ziad Abdulla

Treasurer

Ziad Abdulla obtained a bachelor’s degree in Jurisprudence, Legislation and Guidance of Islam and a Diploma in Education Rehabilitation from the University of Jordan.

In 1999, he received his Master’s in Islamic Education with a Valedictorian Award from Al-Albayt University, Jordan. Ziad began his teaching career as an Arabic and Islamic Studies teacher for both middle and high school levels. After teaching for eight years he moved to the United States and continued teaching Arabic and Islamic Studies for both middle and high school levels. After seven years of teaching in North Carolina, he moved to Dallas where he attained a career in administration in IANT Quranic Academy. In addition, Ziad was an Arabic professor at Richland College, lecturer of Arabic and Islamic sciences at Suffa Islamic Seminary, and a member of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). He taught at a private school in Doha, Qatar for one year and is now the principal at The Huda Academy.

Sufia Azmat

executive director

Sufia Azmat is the Executive Director of CISNA. She has served the Islamic education community for over 25 years as a teacher, school leader, leadership coach, and education consultant. 

Her administrative experiences include serving as an English Department Chair, a Middle School Division Head, a Principal and as the Head of School at K-12 Islamic schools. Ms. Azmat has served on accreditation teams for schools (Islamic as well as non-Islamic) throughout the country. She serves on the ISNA Education Forum Program Committee and is an education consultant whose workshops include Bullying Prevention, Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, Leadership Development, and Positive School Climate. Ms. Azmat is on the Advisory Board of Fons Vitae Ghazali Children’s Project, on the Board of WISER (Weekend Islamic Schools Educational Resources), and on the Board of Trustees of E3 (Excellent Education for Everyone), a research and policy not-for-profit with the mission of improving K-12 education. Ms. Azmat earned her Master’s in Islamic Education and Leadership from Bayan Islamic Graduate School. Her thesis is titled “Assessing Success in US Islamic Schools-Aligning Mission Statements and Institutional Practices”. Ms. Azmat has completed the BoardSource Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting and has facilitated Mission Reviews and Strategic Planning for Islamic Schools and Islamic Center Governance Boards.

Ms. Azmat has been a speaker at national and International conferences including the International Congress on Islamic Education in Istanbul, Turkey and participated on an education panel at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Canada. As a member of the Steering committee of the Global Association of Islamic Schools, she is committed to the improvement of Islamic schools throughout the world.

Reem Abdelrazek

Board Member

Reem Abdelrazek currently serves as the principal of Annoor Academy of Knoxville.  She began her career in education as a legislative intern for the Tennessee state House Education Committee while pursuing her Master of Public Administration degree at the University of Tennessee.

She went on to work in state legislative research, including education policy and public school funding, before moving to the district-level. There, she worked with principals, instructional coaches, and teachers to help make sense of student accountability data and teacher evaluation and value-added data, as well conduct program evaluations for the third largest district in Tennessee. After a decade in state and local education, Reem moved into the private school sector when she became the vice principal of administration at Annoor Academy, a school that serves students from toddlers through 8th grade. As vice principal, Reem worked closely with the administrative team on data tracking, financial reports, and communication platforms, while also building relationships with parents, staff, and students.  When Reem’s mentor and predecessor accepted a principal position at another school, Reem was appointed as principal, and she has served in that role since the 2018-19 school year.  During that time, she completed her EdS at the University of Tennessee.  Her professional interests include improving operational effectiveness to support students and teachers, increasing resolution velocity, developing and growing in-house talent,simplifying and streamlining decision-making, and getting out of teachers’ way so they can do the great work they do.  In addition to her work at Annoor, Reem is a founding and current board member of Tayseer Seminary and a former board member of the Muslim Community of Knoxville.

Azra Naqvi

Board Member

Azra Naqvi earned her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in 2013 and is currently completing her Doctor of Arts in Educational Leadership from National Louis University.

She is the Principal and founding board member of Hadi School of Excellence in Schaumburg, Illinois.  Azra is a member of the Teacher Preparation Advisory Board, at the National College of Education, National Louis University. She is also a member of The Principal Center and a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – (ASCD).

William White

Board member

William White is an educator with 10+ years of experience working in K-12 private and international schools as well as the university level.  

He holds multiple graduate degrees including a Master of Education in Educational Administration.  William regularly serves as an accreditation team member and certified lead evaluator for organizations such as COGNIA and CISNA.  As a CISNA board member, William regularly assists and advises schools leaders and youth throughout the United States and abroad as a Certified Master in the Leadership Challenge and trained non-profit board consultant.  Together with his wife and family, he enjoys traveling throughout the U.S. and world.  As a result of his world travels and living experiences throughout Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, William is fluent in Spanish and Arabic.  

behind the members

CISNA Board Members are elected for 4-year terms by member schools. Board Members may serve for two terms and must be off the Board for one year before becoming eligible for re-election. Board Members are responsible for CISNA sustainability and ensuring CISNA’s fidelity to its Mission & Vision.

Our Vision

Every Islamic school student has equitable access to high quality education within an Islamic framework.

our mission

CISNA advocates for Islamic schools, provides accreditation services, professional development, and resources to ensure institutional effectiveness that leads to student success.