CISNA Board Members

Leila Shatara


Leila Shatara is the President of CISNA. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate and graduate research assistant 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 14 years.  As principal, she led her school to its initial accreditation by SACS-FCIS and helped the school establish a high school program.  She 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 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 was recently designated a national Clark Scholar for educational leadership and administration and PEO Scholar finalist.

William White

Vice President

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


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.

Ziad Abdulla


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 is a certified teacher with over 20 years of experience in education. Sufia is an education consultant and leadership coach. 

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 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.

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 Syed 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.

Iram Shaikh-Jilani

Board Member

Dr. Iram is a Texas certified Superintendent. She is currently working with Manara Academy as the Director of Instruction and consulting for As Salaam Day School and other Islamic schools in the US.

She has received her Doctorate in Education, Curriculum and Instruction, from Northeastern University, Boston. Dr. Iram has over 17 years in Education and her most significant achievements include developing curriculum aligned to American Common Core standards, leading accreditation processes with Advanced Ed, International Baccalaureate (IB continuum), and establishing AP and IB-DP programs. She has worked with Islamic Schools, American Public Schools, International Private Schools in Abu Dhabi, and a consultant to several schools in Maryland, Virginia, UAE, Qatar and Texas. Dr. Iram has led schools through verification and authorization for 3 out 4 IB programs- PYP (Primary Years Program), MYP (Middle Years Program, and DP (Diploma Program). She is certified in 3 of the for IB programs.

Dr. Iram was raised and schooled in America and her educational philosophy is to bridge understandings between home, school, and the Muslim American Identity. The Muslim youth deserve quality academics without compromising their Muslim Identities. It should never be a choice between the two.

Susan Labadi

Board Member

Susan Labadi is a certified and experienced Illinois middle/high school educator and administrator with a Master’s degree in Teaching from National-Louis University.

She is president of Genius School, Inc., which provides professional development programming for schools. Susan is also a certified character coach and advisor to, a faith-based social-emotional learning engine. She is a board member for the American Muslim Consumer Consortium (AMCC), Council of Islamic Schools in North America (CISNA), and Susan serves on the faculty of Consultants for Islamic School Excellence (CISE). Her company specializes in Content Development for outreach and promotion, and her workshops focus on teaching excellence, and positive school climate. Currently, she is producing courses and media to share solutions for alleviating stress, anxiety, and depression for teens, busy moms, and education professionals.

Uzma S. Khan

Board Member

Uzma Khan is a Texas Certified Principal. She received her Masters in Educational Administration & Leadership from Southern Methodist University, Texas and a Masters in English Literature from Pakistan.

She is a Certified Appraiser for Texas Teachers Evaluation and Support System (T-TESS) and Texas Principal Evaluation and Support System (T-PESS). Additionally, she  is a specialist in Restorative Practices. 

She has over 22  years experience in the Educational Industry and has served as Principal in California before moving to Texas. She served for 10 years as principal of Good Tree Academy in Plano, Texas.

She has worked with private schools in Pakistan, California and Texas. She is also a consultant and has worked with schools in Texas and California. Sr. Uzma has served on several Accreditation Committees for AdvancED. With Sr. Uzma as principal, GTA grew from elementary to high school and received accreditation and re-accreditation. 

Sr. Uzma believes that Islamic schools students should never have to compromise on quality education and proudly practice their religious beliefs.

Azra Naqvi

Board Member

Dr. Azra has an academic background in education leadership, accounting, and social work. She earned her Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from Argosy University in 2013 and has recently completed her Doctor of Arts in Educational Leadership from National Louis University 2021.

She is the Principal / Founding Member of Hadi School of Excellence USA and a member of the Teacher Preparation Advisory Board at the National College of Education, National Louis University.  She also served as a member of the Islamic Society of North America(ISNA) Education Forum planning committee and Cognia Accreditation Engagement Review Teams 2021.  She is a current board member of the Council of Islamic School of North America (CISNA). Dr. Azra has a passion for serving the community in any capacity.

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.