English / Language Arts Support
Nzinga Abdus-Salaam found her passion in teaching while raising her eight children and four step-children. She holds a B.A. in Russian, an M.A. in Slavic Languages, and completed all the coursework for a Ph.D. in Linguistics, from the ivy-league University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia PA. It was then that she found Islam and returned to get an M.Ed. from Antioch University – Philadelphia and began a teaching career that has spanned 30 years. She has taught all grade levels from kindergarten to university in public, private, Islamic, home-school, university and private tutorial environments. Most recently, she taught ELA in the all-girls Islamic school Qalam Collegiate Academy in Richardson, Texas. Her approach is to develop what her students need to be successful, inspiring them to achieve their best.
That approach developed from her technology education, counseling and academic advising backgrounds and in working with English as a Second Language (ESL) for a number of years both within the US and overseas. Reading has always been a passion. So, combining that with an Islamic perspective and worldview while guiding students in analyzing text and expressing themselves orally and in writing are focal points for her class instruction. Because she has lived and traveled in the USA, Senegal, Germany, the West Indies, Saudi Arabia, and other parts of West Africa, and learned to speak various world languages, she is also able to bring this perspective to her class teaching to enrich the experience for her classes and to develop future leaders for the Islamic world.
ALI, DR. LAMIAA – M.D., FAAP
Dr. Lamiaa Ali is a pediatrician and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa.
She is passionate about parenting and education. She enjoys teaching monthly parenting classes at her local mosque based on the Love and Logic curriculum. She also teaches a biweekly mental health class for high school students as a volunteer at her local Islamic school. Seeing her children go through Montessori, private, and public schools has taught her a lot about the impact that a good school environment can have on children. Personally, she is pursuing her own Islamic education as a part-time student at the Qalam Seminary.
Mathematics Curriculum Advisor, Mathematics Instructor
ALNIZAMI, DR. REEMA
Reema Alnizami earned a Ph.D. in mathematics education from North Carolina State University (NCSU) in December 2017. Since 2012, Dr. Alnizami has taught middle school, high school, community college, and university methods courses. Currently, she is working as a research associate in the College of Education at NCSU.
She has a firm belief that differences between individuals should be celebrated, and that teachers should plan and teach lessons that are responsive to students’ backgrounds and knowledge in order to provide access to mathematical knowledge for all students. Her main interest is in teacher professional development. Particularly, she is interested in helping teachers incorporate cutting edge technology into their math pedagogy in ways that can promote access to high-quality learning experiences for all students.
Head of School, Science Instructor
Zaheer Arastu has been honored to serve in Islamic education since 2004. Zaheer taught secondary science for over seven years, and has served as an administrator for schools in Maryland and Oklahoma for over nine years. He has extensive experience developing secondary school programs, including academic and career counseling services for high school students; twelve of his secondary students have earned National Merit Commended, Semi-Finalist, or Finalist status. He also serves as the Dean of Innovation and Technology at Peace Academy in Tulsa, OK. Additionally, as a Certified Lead Evaluator for AdvancEd (the largest accrediting body in the world) he has served on numerous external review teams for secondary school accreditation.
Zaheer earned his Master’s in Secondary Education from The George Washington University Graduate School of Education in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he completed training in Educational Leadership through the The University of Oklahoma’s Jeannine Rainbolt College of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, where he earned Principal Certification. Zaheer received his Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and Sociology from The George Washington University. Zaheer has been an avid student of Islamic knowledge since 2000, taking classes through AlMaghrib Institute, Bayyinah, Qalam Institute, and local scholars.
Zaheer enjoys educating others about Islam and served as Georgetown University’s first ever Chaplain-In-Residence from 2003-2005 and currently serves as Outreach Coordinator for the Islamic Society of Tulsa. Zaheer is enthusiastic about inspiring young leaders to be committed to Allah–by feeding the mind, body, and soul the nutrition needed to serve His creation and earn His eternal pleasure.
Social Studies Instructor
Sarrah Buker is an education professional with over twenty years of experience in teaching and supervision. She is certified, by the state of New Jersey, in elementary education and social studies. Sarrah taught both elementary and high school students and supervised K-12 social studies teachers in a NJAIS accredited Islamic school. She also taught advanced English and citizenship to international students. She holds a BA in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies from Rutgers University and an EdM in Education Policy and Management from Harvard University.
She is passionate about diversity and inclusion in the context of educational equity. Sarrah is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the Design of Learning Environments at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. She lives in Holmdel, New Jersey where she volunteers with the local school district and the local police department.
Social Studies Curriculum Advisor, Social Studies Instructor
DOUGLASS, DR. SUSAN
Susan Douglass received her PhD in history from George Mason University, and M.A. in Arab Studies from the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, where she is currently K-14 Education Outreach Coordinator, and does professional development workshops for the Bridge Initiative in the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown.
Dr.Susan Douglass served in the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations initiative, and as Affiliated Scholar with the Council on Islamic Education, reviewing commercial textbooks in development and state academic standards, and conducting the study Teaching About Religion in National and State Social Studies Standards (2000).
Her publications include social studies content for Muslim schools (IIIT/Kendall Hunt, 1994-1996); World Eras: Rise and Spread of Islam, 622-1500 (Thompson/Gale, 2002); and the children’s book Ramadan (Carolrhoda Books, 2002). She contributed to many teaching resource projects for Unity Productions Foundation films, curriculum units for the National Center for History in the Schools, and the Smithsonian Freer Gallery’s teaching guide Arts of Islam, and the online curriculum World History for Us All. She designed and researched The Indian Ocean in World History website.
Computer Science Instructor / Web Developer
Nehal received her B.S. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. She is an experienced Software Developer adept in all stages of advanced web development and passionate about introducing people to the world of Computer Science. She has coauthored a three-year curriculum textbooks for teaching Computer Science under the sponsorship of Carnegie Mellon University and Hamad Bin Jassim Center for K-12 Computer Science education in Qatar.
Nehal believes that Computer Science education is a key component of increasing human development. She is particularly enthusiastic about educating students on the fundamentals of computer science and programming.
Her publications include: Integrating Computer Science and ICT Concepts in a Cohesive Curriculum for Middle School – An Experience Report, SIGCSE Technical Symposium 2021; Gamified Stories in History Classrooms, 12th International Conference on Education Technology and Computers, ICETC 2020; Trends of Computational Thinking in Educational Research, 14th International Multi-Conference on Society, Cybernetics and Informatics, IMSCI 2020
Islamic Studies Instructor
ELSHINAWY, SHAYKH MOHAMMAD
Arabic / Islamic Studies Curriculum Advisor
EL-TOBGUI, DR. SHARIF
Sharif El-Tobgui holds a B.S. in Arabic Language from Georgetown University and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from McGill University and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Arabic & Islamic Studies, and Director of the Arabic Language Program at Brandeis. He previously taught for five years at Harvard University as Preceptor of Arabic, and has also taught at the Middlebury College Summer Arabic Language School.
Prof. El-Tobgui’s scholarly expertise lies in the field of Islamic thought, with a special concentration on theology, law, and jurisprudence. He is particularly interested in questions concerning the relationship between reason and revelation in the Islamic tradition, and has published on the manifestations of this tension in the fields of classical Islamic jurisprudence and Qur’anic exegesis. He is currently completing a monograph study of Ibn Taymiyya’s (d. 1328) 10-volume work, “Refutation of Contradiction Between Reason and Revelation.” In addition to his expertise in Islamic thought, Prof. El-Tobgui has a deep love of language in general and of Classical Arabic in particular, and has enjoyed for many years exploring the intricacies of Arabic grammar, as well as classical literature and poetry with his students.
Islamic Studies Instructor, Social Studies Instructor
FACCHINE, IMAM TOM
Tom Facchine is from Southern New Jersey. He obtained his Bachelors in Political Science/International Relations from Vassar College (2011), where he embraced Islam in his senior year. After studying Arabic independently, he was admitted to the Islamic University of Madinah in Saudi Arabia where he obtained an Associates in Classical Arabic (2016) and a Bachelors in Comparative Islamic Law (2020). He also completed the chaplaincy program conducted under the supervision of The Prophet’s Mosque (2019). Out of all his extracurricular studies, his study of tafseer under Shaykh Abdallah Shinqeeti in the Prophet’s Masjid was probably the most impactful.
Tom has always been a passionate advocate and instructor for Muslim Youth, founding multiple youth groups and conducting various afterschool programs. He is currently the Imam of the Muslim Community Association of Mohawk Valley in Utica, NY as well as nearby Hamilton College. In his ‘spare’ time, Tom enjoys birdwatching, hiking, camping, poetry, and learning languages. He lives in Utica with his wife and three children.
Saba Farrukh is a passionate artist, lifelong learner, and a committed teacher with over 22 years of teaching experience. She earned a Master’s degree in English Language Arts and an additional degree in Fine Arts. Sr. Saba is passionate about integrating the Quranic Worldview into the Arts and has taught Art to elementary, middle, and high school students in Islamic schools since 1998. Her inspiration for painting and calligraphy comes directly from Qur’anic verses and from the beauty and harmony found in nature.
Sister Saba’s passion for teaching continued even when she was recognized as an artist and launched her own website, through which she was able to reach out to an international audience, selling more than 200 pieces of art around the world. Her work can be viewed at wallpaintingz.com. She loves painting as much as teaching and her enthusiasm and positive attitude are contagious, masha’Allah.
Beenish Hasan joined Legacy’s pioneer group of educators in 2019. She received her B.S. in Mathematics-Economics from UCLA and her Master’s in Mathematics Education from Rutgers University. She has taught middle and high school math in California and New Jersey. Beenish also conducts SAT Math courses and tutoring, and has served as an SAT Math Test Content Writer for one of the nation’s leading test-prep companies.
Between her years in the classroom and homeschooling her children, Beenish is passionate about the field of education. She particularly enjoys simplifying complex mathematical concepts and making them understandable for all students.
Science Curriculum Advisor
HASSAN, DR. NUR JANNAH
Nur Jannah Hassan earned her Ph.D. in Philosophy, Ethics & Contemporary Issues, her M.Ed in Guidance and Counseling, and postgraduate Teaching Diploma in English and Mathematics from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM), where she is currently the Head of the Islamisation Department at the Centre for Islamisation, IIUM. A seasoned educator, Dr. Hassan has decades of experience in teaching and administration in both secondary schools and at the university level.
Nur Jannah is the Chemistry author for a supplemental textbook series for Islamic secondary schools entitled: Natural Science from the Worldview of the Qur’an: An Introduction. Dr. Hassan has presented papers at several international conferences on the intersection of Ethics and Science and the importance of the integration of the Qur’anic worldview with the teaching of the natural sciences. Nur Jannah believes in the potency of true Islamic education and Qur’anic/Prophetic ethics, leading by example, and the impacts that a teacher (as mu’addib and murabbī) has in nurturing the next generation. Her mission is to inspire an Ummatic and civilizational awareness, a sense of responsibility and a Tawḥīdic activism that transcends national, racial and religious boundaries.
Islamic Studies Instructor
HERBERT, IMAM MOHAMED
Imam Mohamed was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. At the age of 12, he completed his hifdh from the Islamic Society of Baltimore. He later moved to Irving, Texas to learn Arabic and continued his studies at the Qalam Seminary. He graduated from the seminary certificate program in 2014 and began his service as the Imam of the Mansfield Islamic Center. He then continued his studies full-time in the Alimiyyah program at Qalam while still serving as the Imam. In 2019, he graduated from the Alimiyyah program and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma where he currently serves as the Youth Director and Imam for the community.
As Islamic studies instructor for Legacy, he inspires his students to love the Qur’an by extracting its gems and presenting tafseer in a way that is engaging and relevant.
By the Permission of Allah(swt), Zara earned her B.A. degree in Psychology, and her Masters degree in Education with a specialization in Mathematics from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She was blessed to commit herself to the study of Classical Arabic, and has completed a degree in the Sacred Islamic Sciences at the Qalam Seminary in Arlington, Texas.
Throughout her journey, she has taught students of various grades while implementing best practices for learners. Her goal is to expose learners to the depth of Islam that is prevalent in Mathematics and their everyday lives, while instilling confidence in each student to reach their potential.
IMAM, DR. SEEMA
Dr. Seema Imam has served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of ISLA since January 2018. Prior to this, she served as a Member at Large for nearly a decade. She is a mentor of the ISLA Leadership Academy and offers Professional Development workshops to ISLA Member Schools for a discounted rate.
Dr. Imam received her Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Social Inquiry from National Louis University in 2001. She also has a Doctorate in Islamic Theology from the Graduate Theological Foundation (2015). She has a Master of Arts in Educational Administration (1987) and Reading Specialist (1983) and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Learning Disabilities (1975) from Northeastern University (IL). She has a host of professional certifications as well.
Dr. Imam is currently a Professor of Elementary and Middle Level Teacher Education at National Louis University where she teaches graduate and undergraduate students.
She co-founded one of the largest Islamic schools in the US and has been engaged in Islamic education for nearly three decades.
She has presented nationally and internationally on several topics, including “Finland Phenomenon,” “Principles of Islamic Pedagogy” and “Curriculum Integration Efforts in the North American Context.”
Dr. Imam has several publications. “A Paradigm Shift in Educational Practices in an Islamic School,” co-authored by Mussarut Jabeen, may be read online.
Sister Youssra Kamel Kandil is a motivational speaker whose goal has been to bring focus back to the beautiful pearls and wisdoms of the Qur’an and Sunnah. With her tender approach and the use of her real life examples, she strives to have those pearls enlighten and reconnect hearts back to the spirit and light of Islam. Her videos have gone viral and have captured the hearts and minds of thousands of Muslims and non-Muslims, young and old, around the world.
Originally from Egypt, Sr. Youssra worked in Islamic media with the world renowned preacher, Amr Khaled. Under his tutelage she took part in the weekly Islamic show, “Parables of the Qur’an,” broadcast worldwide, geared toward supporting the young generation of Muslims around the world. After moving to the United States, she continued her studies while teaching Qur’anic studies and Islamic history to children at a prominent Islamic school.
English / Language Arts Instructor
Mrs. Malik is a high school English teacher with a background in writing and editing. She studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine, and has a Master’s in Education (Curriculum and Instruction for Secondary English) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She studied Classical Arabic for a year in the US and has an ijaazah in Asharah Qira’aat/10 Recitations. As a teacher, Mrs. Malik believes that a culturally-reflective curriculum and project-based learning lead to student success.
Advisor of Islamic Pedagogy
MEMON, DR. NADEEM
Dr. Nadeem Memon is a Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Islamic Thought and Education (CITE) in the School of Education at UniSA. His research focuses on teacher education with particular emphasis on Islamic Pedagogy, comparative faith-based schooling, philosophy of religious education, and culturally relevant and responsive teaching. He is the co-editor of two books: Philosophies of Islamic Education: Historical Perspectives and Emerging Discourses (Routledge, 2016) and Discipline, Devotion, and Dissent: Jewish, Catholic, and Islamic Schooling in Canada (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013).
Prior to joining UniSA, Nadeem was the Director of Education at Razi Education, a Canadian education-consulting firm that develops professional development for educators working in Western schooling contexts with significant Muslim student populations and for educators in Muslim-majority contexts. At Razi Education, Nadeem spearheaded the design and implementation of a groundbreaking online teacher certificate program, the Islamic Teacher Education Program (ITEP), in collaboration with the University of Toronto.
In addition to the above, he has also held faculty teaching positions at Centennial College (Canada), Al Akhawayn University (Morocco), University of Toronto (Canada) and Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada).
Nadeem holds a PhD in Theory and Policy Studies in Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto. His doctoral dissertation focused on the history and philosophy of Islamic schooling in North America. He also holds a M.A. in Education with a research focus on experiential education and a B.Ed of Education with specializations in teaching high school English and History from York University, in Toronto, Canada.
English / Language Arts Instructor
GAMAR, DR. SAMAH
Dr. Samah has been an educator for over twenty years, earning a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Diploma in Language and Literacy Education, and a Master’s in Education from Canada, along with a doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in critical pedagogies and social justice education from the United States. She is a former academic vice president of a Canadian technical college and is an author of publications in peer-reviewed journals/books. In addition to formal classroom teaching experience in K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels, she has homeschooled five children, with the eldest two enrolled in research-intensive universities.
She teaches education policy to graduate students at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies, where she also serves as Director of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. Dr. Gamar provides senior level consultation to the Education Above All Foundation, an organization that serves marginalized children in fragile and conflict states, as well as Qatar’s Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
English / Language Arts Instructor, Social Studies Instructor,
Tahira Rabbani received her bachelor’s in Writing and Secondary Education from William Paterson University and has completed her master’s in Hindi-Urdu Pedagogy from Kean University. By using project-based learning and unique materials ideal for heritage language learners, she makes learning Urdu relevant and motivating. Similarly, in the Language Arts classroom, she strives to find unique aspects of literature that pertain to Islam and current events. She is an advocate of voice and choice so students will have ample opportunity to express themselves.
When not busy creating her own workbooks and storybooks, she is an avid reader and writer. She enjoys hikes, homeschooling (since 2010), and leading her local Girl Scout troop (since 2011). In all these roles, she has always found Allah to guide her in her endeavors, and now insha’Allah in the Legacy classroom, she hopes to pass the reminders on to others.
ELA Curriculum Advisor, Board Member
SHAMMA, DR. FREDA
Freda Shamma has a M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Ed.D. from the University of Cincinnati, in the area of Curriculum Development. She has worked with educators from the United States, South Africa and all over the Muslim world to develop integrated curricula based on an Islamic worldview that meets the needs of modern Muslim youth.
Dr. Shamma has traveled extensively to collect relevant material from as far away as China and Uzbekistan to the Atlantic shores of Morocco. This has enabled her to publish two books which reflect the integration of her curriculum work. Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs is a treasury of Muslim wisdom from all parts of the Muslim world, including China. Treasury of Muslim Literature is an anthology of biographies of and selections by famous Muslim writers who lived during the Golden Age of 750-1250 C.E. It contains more than 17 genres of writing including historical, religious, and travel writings as well as traditional ‘literary’ genres like poetry, essays, epics, and belle lettres.
Dr. Shamma is Director of F.A.D.E.L., Foundation for the Advancement and Development of Education and Learning. She is also the prime reviewer of Books Suitable for Islamic School Libraries.
Bachelor’s in Science/Math education with teaching experience in various settings including public, private, and now at Legacy Online. Enjoys sharing her passion for the subjects she teaches along with love for Allah, our Prophet SAW, and seeking the blessings in everything.
UMAR, SH. MUSTAFA
Shaykh Mustafa Umar completed a B.S. in Information and Computer Science from UC Irvine, a B.A. in Theology & Islamic Law from the European Institute of Islamic Sciences in France, and an M.A. in Islamic Studies from the University of Gloucestershire in the UK. He also studied the Islamic sciences for a year at Nadwatul ʿUlamā’ in Lucknow, India and spent another year studying in Cairo, Egypt. He has authored several books, served the Muslim community of Southern California as an Imam and activist for over a decade, and is currently the founder and president of California Islamic University, the Director of Education and Outreach at the Islamic Institute of Orange County, and an executive member of the Fiqh Council of North America