CISNA Board Members

Leila Shatara

President

Leila Shatara is the President of CISNA. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Educational Leadership and Research Methodology at Florida Atlantic University. 

She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida Atlantic University where she also serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Curriculum, Culture, and Educational Inquiry.  Ms. Shatara served in leadership positions in public and Islamic schools for 17 years and has been in education for 29 years. As principal, she led her first school to its initial accreditation by SACS-FCIS and helped the school establish a high school program.  She went on to work with 4 other schools on their successful accreditation journeys. She has taught elementary, middle and high school for ten years in public school and holds 5 certifications and endorsements through the FLDOE.  She has worked as an educational consultant since 2012, focusing on Board, principal and teacher training.  Ms. Shatara currently serves as the Council of Islamic Schools of South Florida –Vice Chair, is a member of the Education Forum Planning Committee, and holds board positions in several educational institutions. She is a published researcher and has presented at national conferences on leadership for the past 7 years. She was recently designated a national Clark Scholar for educational leadership and administration and PEO Scholar finalist.

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 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.

Fawzia Belal

Board Member

Fawzia Belal serves as the Principal and Dean of Islamic Studies at Qalam Collegiate Academy, an all-girls Islamic School in Richardson, TX.

Ms. Belal is a graduate of the  6-year scholarly studies (Alimiyah) from Darul Uloom, Elgin, IL with certifications (Ijaazat) in the various Islamic Sciences. She has also earned her specialization in Quranic Tafseer under the guidance of scholars from Deoband, India. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s in Islamic Education from American Open University, VA.

At QCA, she has worked to design a comprehensive Religious Studies curricula aimed to empower students with the requisite knowledge to understand their faith in a perpetually changing world. As the content creator for QCA’s Youtube channel she also has established a medium to share and provide engaging instructional videos for Quranic Arabic and Tafseer. 

As QCA principal since 2020, she has successfully led her school to it’s re-accreditation process through COGNIA and CISNA and has helped introduce and establish various academic and extracurricular initiatives that have led to great growth in enrollment and overall school performance. She has also served on accreditation teams with COGNIA and as a member of the ISNA Education Forum, Planning Committee presented a number of workshops on curriculum and professional development. As an active community member, she works alongside East Plano Islamic Center organizing and conducting various educational workshops for youth, sisters, and the community at large. She currently lives in Plano, TX with her husband and two boys. 

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 the Board Secretary of CISNA.  He holds a master’s degree in educational administration and in Spanish from the University of Louisville.

In addition to his current role as the principal at the Islamic School of Louisville, he has worked as an elementary school teacher and university lecturer. As a principal, he led his school to its initial accreditation through AdvancED and CISNA and has helped establish a variety of programs and initiatives that have improved the school’s enrollment and academic performance. William is passionate about continuous improvement and regularly serves on accreditation teams for Islamic schools.  He also provides leadership training for both adults and students who are interested in improving their knowledge of effective leadership practices. 

Ibrahim Yousef

Board member

Ibrahim Yousef is the principal of Nashville International Academy. He entered the field of education 12 years ago as a volunteer.

He came into education from different fields. At the time, he had been involved in flipping and renovating homes, starting up a small restaurant, and managing a family business. But after witnessing the role that schools could play in shaping the future of communities, he decided to switch careers and become a teacher. Since then, he has worked with Islamic Schools in St. Croix, Houston, Pittsburgh, and Nashville. Ibrahim earned a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with the aim of exacting change on an organizational level. He’s taught for 7 years, and has been a school principal for 5 years. He believes the work of schools is rooted in creativity, compassion, communication, and the strong will to get things done. He has served on accreditation teams for the review of several schools in the US and abroad. He loves teaching, but also loves writing, architectural design, and cooking. His dream is to help improve Islamic Education on a global level, especially in remote corners of the Muslim world. 

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.