CISNA Board Members

William White


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.  

Ziad Abdulla

vice president

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.

Farah Naz


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.

Azra Naqvi


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).

Reem Abdelrazek

Board Member

Reem currently serves as principal at Annoor Academy of Knoxville, a school that serves over 200 students from preschool through 10th grade. After a decade in state and local education, Reem moved into the private school sector when she became the vice principal of administration.

Reem was appointed principal in 2018 and still serves in that role. During this time, the school has launched its high school; has grown its student enrollment to its highest numbers to date, with several classrooms on a waitlist; and staff compensation has increased by over 20 percent. Reem served on her school accreditation team in 2018 and again in 2023. She has also served as an accreditor for Cognia and CISNA since 2022.

Reem holds a Masters of Public Administration as well as an Educational Specialist degree, with a concentration in management and leadership. 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. She was elected to the CISNA Board of Directors in 2021 and served on the CISNA Board Development Retreat planning team.

Farea Khan

Board Member

Farea Khan holds a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and Curriculum and Developmental Supervision from North Carolina State University and a Bachelors in Science from Rutgers University. She is licensed from NCDPI (North Carolina Department of Instruction) as a middle grades ELA teacher, an instructional coach and is wrapping up her principal licensure. She also holds certification from NCDPI as a mentor and certification in School Management and Leadership from Harvard School of Education and Business.

Ms. Khan has been in the field of education for over 15 years, and has spent most of this time serving in Islamic schools. She has taught a wide range of grade levels, which include lower elementary, upper elementary and middle school. During this time she was part of her school’s leadership team, as well as the accreditation team lead. Ms. Khan is a certified accreditation team member for Cognia, and has served on several accreditation teams, and has also served on accreditation teams for CISNA (Council of Islamic Schools of North America). Being part of these teams has allowed her to support schools and guide them on their path to continuous improvement.

After a fulfilling teaching career, she made the decision to move into administration and currently is serving in her fifth year as the principal of Al-Iman School in Raleigh, NC. During her time as principal she has focused on updating processes, improving curriculum offerings, supporting teacher growth, creating positive relationships among stakeholders and helping her school increase capacity to serve the growing Muslim community in the Triangle.

Salman Syed

board member

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.

Safaa Zarzour


Safaa Zarzour is an educator, attorney, and community activist. He is the President of ISNA and the Superintendent of Universal Schools in Illinois and Indiana. He has served as the Secretary General of ISNA, General Counsel and Chief Operations Officer of Zakat Foundation, Chief Executive Officer of IQRA International Foundation, and adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School. Recently, Br. Safaa was elected to the board of Oak Lawn High School District 229 in Illinois.

In all his personal and volunteer work, Mr. Zarzour, has always focused on supporting various Muslim communities throughout the country by strengthening vital community institutions that include families, mosques, schools, and organizations that are involved in civic and social services. However, cultivating Islamic schools remains his passion because it is schools that produce capable graduates that lead all other institutions.

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.

Rabia Mahmood

CISNA Administrative Assistant

Rabia Mahmood received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of California-Davis.

She has been working in an administrative capacity to help and serve her community. Rabia comes from a background of working with children and young adults, both professionally and as a volunteer. Rabia enjoys writing and creating art in her free time.

board member terms

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.