The faculty of Al-Rahmah School is a devoted group of individuals that aim to educate their students in every way possible. Using their education and extensive experiences, our teachers aim to teach by the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (sallahu alaihi wa sallam).
“Teach! Make things easy! And do not make things complicated.” He repeated this three times and then he added, “And if you get angry, keep quiet.”
Here, at Al-Rahmah School, we home some of the most patient and loving teachers your students will ever come in contact with.
Sr. Islaah AbdalRahim – Interim Principal
M.A. in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University, B.A. from Coppin State University
Sister Islaah is the founding principal of Al-Rahmah School and is an experienced and accomplished leader. Sister Islaah is a former adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University and has served as an education consultant, teacher, and administrator throughout her career. Sister Islaah holds a Masters of Arts in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts from Coppin State University. Sister Islaah is also a student of Islamic knowledge and engages in continuous coursework in Arabic, Tajweed, Aqeedah, and Seerah.
Lisette Abdiruhman – Middle School /High School Director
M.A. in History & Culture; B.A. in Liberal Arts
Lisette Abdiruhman has over 10 years’ experience as an educator in both Private Islamic and Public Charter schools. Ms. Lisette has worked as a social studies and art teacher with elementary, middle and high school students in the Virgin Islands, Baltimore City, Washington DC and New Mexico. In her role at Al-Rahmah School she has served as both a teacher and administrator managing grades 9 to 12. She assisted with the Middle States accreditation for Al-Rahmah high school completing the process for K-12 accreditation. She currently serves as the Middle and High School Director for Al Rahmah School. Lisette holds a Bachelor’s from Sarah Lawrence College with a concentration in Political Science and Painting, and Master’s from Union Institute and University in History and Culture. Ms. Lisette is the parent of two ARS students.
Jose Acevedo – AIQ Director
MA: Education – Curriculum and Instruction (Rackham Merit Fellowship Recipient), BA: History & amp; BA: Sociology
Jose Miguel Acevedo was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois in 1975, of Puerto Rican parents. While pursing his studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, he accepted Islam. By Allah’s Grace, he received his Masters Degree in Education (Curriculum and Instruction) and dual-bachelors in History and Sociology from University of Michigan Ann Arbor. For over 15 years, Jose has worked in the fields of education and youth development in various Muslim and non-Muslim institutions. Besides heading the Religious Department at Al-Rahmah School, Mr. Acevedo is working on developing a relevant Islamic Studies curriculum for middle and high school youth as well as conducting workshops for teachers, parents, and youth. Mr. Acevedo is happily married and is the father of 3 boys and 1 baby girl.
Tayaabah Qazi – Elementary School Director
B.Sc. in Neuroscience MS in Educational Leadership Teaching certification in Secondary Education – Chemistry
Tayaabah Qazi has been in the field of Education for over a decade. She has a B.Sc. in Neuroscience, MS in Educational Leadership and has teaching certification in Secondary Education – Chemistry from Maryland State Department of Education. Currently, she is pursuing Admin I certification from Maryland State Department of Education. Ms. Qazi is passionate about providing students with a safe and healthy learning environment and devotes her time in researching and developing school improvement programs.
Mehnaz Fatima- Middle School/High School Lead Teacher
B.S. – Biology
Mehnaz Fatima has worked at Al- Rahmah School for over six years and has taught several subjects at the Elementary, Middle and High School level. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology from the University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC). During her undergraduate studies she worked as a Research Assistant in the Social Development Lab at the Department of Psychology. As the Lead Teacher, Ms. Fatima will be assisting Middle and High School teachers with Lesson Planning, Curriculum Mapping, providing Professional Development, identifying teaching resources as well as conducting observations. She will be providing advisory to the students, preparing portfolios and charting progress of their academic goals. She is also responsible for coordinating special programs such as Model UN, Science Fair, Math Night, Career Day, Project Wild, field trips and graduation. Additionally, she assists the school in grant writing and Middle States Accreditation (MSA). Ms. Mehnaz has one child attending ARS.
Donna Khan – Program and Office Administrator
Sr. Donna has been part of the ARS family since 2004. During her tenure, she has taken on many responsibilities that have helped her become instrumental in managing the Administrative areas of the school. She has worked closely with the school principal, staff, faculty and parents in making sure all administrative issues are resolved.
Hanan Williams – Office Secretary
Hanan Williams is the welcome face of Al-Rahmah School that welcomes our students and visitors every day. She has been part of Al-Rahmah family for 11 years and takes time out of her busy schedule to know every student and their families.
Fatma Alvi – School Nurse
Bachelor Degree in Nursing – Stevenson University- Maryland Associate Degree in Nursing – Community College Baltimore County- Maryland
Fatma Alvi is a native of Algeria and holds a Masters Degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology. After moving to US she went to nursing school and worked as medical/surgical registered nurse at a local hospital in Maryland for seven years prior to joining Al- Rahmah School in 2014.
Najwa Awad, LCSW-C
Najwa is a licensed clinical social worker who has provided therapy to individuals, couples and families in both Virginia and Maryland. She obtained a Bachelors degree in Psychology at George Mason University in 2005. In 2007 she received a Masters in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University specializing in the clinical treatment of individuals and families. Najwa also has post graduate education in the treatment of complex psychiatric trauma. Najwa’s experience in the field is diverse and includes providing services at group homes, public schools and in the foster care system. Most recently Najwa has spent the past few years working in an outpatient mental health clinic providing therapy to women, children and families. Commonly treated issues include trauma, mood disorders, behavioral disorders and anxiety. Najwa has been providing services to ARS on Tuesdays since 2014.
Farah Shaikh LCSW-C
Masters in Social Work from Columbia University with a specialization in children and adolescent mental health.
Farrah works as part time school counselor on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. Through her position, she offers her services to make sure the Muslim youth have the skills and ability to succeed in their future, inshallah.
Haneen Abuasi – School Librarian
MBA; Computer Systems Engineer
Haneen Abuasi is a Computer Systems Engineer graduate and an MBA graduate from Birzeit University, Palestine. She was born in Brooklyn, New York then moved back to Palestine and has recently come back to Maryland. Haneen has experience in the social media, website management, design and public relations fields. She enjoys her current position as the librarian and looks forward to encouraging kids to read and research.
Diery Gningue – Computer/Tech Support
Bachelor Degree in Applied Information Technology; Associate Degree in Computer Information System
Certificate: Special Education Teacher Assistant Certificate: Teacher Substitute
Mr. Diery has been with ARS for the last two years. He is responsible to making sure all computer equipment at school runs smoothly.
Al-Rahmah Teaching Staff
Aicha Adif – AIQ Grades KG – 2nd
B.A.- English Literature
Aicha Adif has over 11 years of experience as an Islamic School Early Elementary Educator. She has extensive professional development training in the many educational courses including classroom management, Creative Literacy Strategies Workshop, and differentiated instructions.
Nagla Badawi – AIQ Grades KG – 2nd
Bachelors Applied Arts Bachelors General Adult and Childhood Education
Certification: University of Baltimore certificate in Teaching and Student Learning Nagla Badawi has 12 years experience teaching Arabic & Qur’an. She joined ARS in 2014 as the AIQ teacher.
Ferial Hegazi – AIQ 3rd/4th Grade A&B; 5th/6th Grade Boys
Baderah Abudwein – AIQ 3rd/4th Grade A&B; 8th Grade Boys (Arabic Only)
M.A. – Nutrition
Baderah Abudwein earned her Master’s degree in nutrition and has been with Al-Rahmah School for the last nine years. She is also mastering Quran Tafseer and rules of Tajweed. She assists in arranging the annual Arabic spelling bee and other competitions in addition to directing the decoration committee for fund raising dinner. She enjoys her current assignment as it gives her the opportunity to learn and be creative. Her 2 children also attend Al-Rahmah School.
Souad Asar — AIQ 5th/6th Grade Boys; 7th/8th Grade Boys
B.A. – Early Childhood Education
Souaad Asar has a passion for helping each and every student reach their highest potential. After a career in the business world, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Human Development from Coppin State University in Baltimore, MD. As an active member of Al-Rahmah School, Ms. Souad applies different teaching techniques with the students of all knowledge levels in the Arabic language, Islamic Studies, and Quran.
Wafa Al-Numri — AIQ 5th – 11th Grade
B.A. – Islamic Studies
Wafa has been a member of Al-Rahmah School family for many years. She has taught Arabic, Qur’an and Islamic Studies to different grades during her years at ARS.
Maryam Azam – AIQ 5th – 11th Grade
Alimah Bachelor’s – Mathematics in Secondary Education (in progress)
Maryam Azam graduated as an Alimah from Darul Uloom Al-Madania (Buffalo, New York) in 2009. Her studies at Darul Uloom included Arabic Grammar, Quran Tafseer, Fiqh and Ahadith. After graduation from Darul Uloom she continued pursuing her academics and currently working towards Bachelors in Mathematics with a concentration in Secondary Education. Teaching Quran and Islamic Studies is her passion. She has been teaching students from ages 5 to 20 at many Islamic Centers in the past five years and joined Al-Rahmah in 2014.
ELEMENTARY TEAM: KINDERGARTEN – 4TH GRADE
Ashiya Shaikh — KG (A) Homeroom Teacher
Bachelor’s Early Childhood Education
Ashiya Shaikh has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Towson University. She has seven years of experience teaching Kindergarten, and has been a teacher at Al-Rahmah School in the past. She returned to ARS in 2015.
Melissa Tauheed — KG (B) Homeroom Teacher
MD Certificate Elementary Education; International Certificate English as a Second Language
Melissa Dinuri Tauheed has been an educator for more than 10 years. She has a Maryland certificate for teaching Elementary Education as well as an international certificate to teach English as a Second Language (C.E.L.T.A.). She has taught in 2 Islamic Schools and has worked in Al-Rahmah School in the past (2nd grade). She taught English as a Second Language (E.S.L.) to adults and children (after school program) in Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) as well as various Islamic Schools and other English learning Institutions.
Shabana Tanweer – KG (B) Teacher Assistant
B.A. Political Science, History and Urdu Literature (India)
Shabana has worked as Teacher’s Assistant in different grades since she joined ARS family. She has also taught arts and crafts as an Art Teacher for one year from KG-8th grade.
Fatiha Layadi — 1st Grade (A) Homeroom Teacher
Azra Khurram – 1st grade (B) Homeroom Teacher
Certified – Pre-K and KG Master degree in Public administration
Azra Khurram has over 20 years of experience as an educator. She earned a master degree in Public administration from the University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. She started her career as a teacher/administrator at a prestigious private girls school in Pakistan. Ms. Khurram moved to the USA in 1999 and worked at Islamic schools in TX and MD, where she taught KG, 1st and 2nd grade. She took courses at Howard County Community College, in child development, teaching reading K-8, and got certified for Pre-K and KG. This is her 5th year at Al-Rahmah school as 1st Grade Homeroom teacher.
Yasmeen Muhammad – 2nd grade (A) Homeroom Teacher
BA – Arts in Sociology MS – Literacy Education Certification: Islamic Teacher Education Program – Year Long Professional Learning Certificate Program New York State Teacher Certification (grades 1-6) New York State Literacy Certification
Yasmeen Muhammad began teaching in the public schools of New York City in 2007. Ms. Yasmeen has experience teaching a variety of populations including ESL and students with special needs. She uses hands-on and project based lessons to instill a love for learning in her students and hopes to give them the confidence to explore new heights and be of great assistance to their communities.
Amina Faizan – 2nd grade (B) Homeroom Teacher
Bachelor Community Health Certification: Community Health Educator
Amina Faizan earned her Bachelor’s degree in Community Health from the University of Maryland and is a Certified Community Health Educator. She has a particular interest in health education with communities and children. She joined Al-Rahmah School in 2014.
Mariam Rasheed – 3rd grade (A) Homeroom Teacher
Nooreve Lee – 3rd grade (B) Homeroom Teacher
Tazeen Zaheerullah – 4th grade (A) Homeroom Teacher; English – 3rd and 4th grade
Tazeen Zaheerullah has completed 90 hours of coursework towards Bachelor of Science degree in Education with minor in English. Tazeen Zaheerullah moved from Chicago to MD in recent years. She has passion for teaching and has ten years of experience in various Islamic schools.
Lateefah Muhammad – 4th grade (B) Homeroom Teacher; Math – 3rd and 4th grade
Masooma Mohiuddin – PE Teacher
Masters in English/Urdu. Punjab University, Pakistan; Certification in advanced professional studies in teaching and learning/managing schools; University of Strathclyde, Scotland, UK; Certified day care professional. MSDE.
Elementary Teacher/P.E teacher middle school at Al -Rahmah School (2013-present). Owner/director Cherry Blossom Day Care Center (2011-13). Volunteer teacher at Featherbed Elementary School (2010). Volunteer teacher at Creative Minds Early Learning Center (2008-2009). Preschool teacher at Bernice’s Angels Early Learning Center (2009-2010). Principal/Coordinator/Teacher at The City School International private schools (Pakistan 1993-2005).
Khadeeja Shafi – 5th grade Boys Homeroom Teacher; Math – 5th & 6th Boys & Girls
B.S. in Elementary Education, B.A. in Liberal Arts Certifications: Maryland Professional Eligibility Certificate (PEC) – Elementary Education 1-6, Reading 1-12, Special Education
Khadeeja Shafi graduated from Stevenson University in 2009 and taught in the public school system. Sr. Khadeeja has actively been involved in the ISB/ARS community since her youth through various organizations such as Summer Camp, Sunday School and the ISB Youth Group. Sr. Khadeeja has field experience in title I and special education schools. She has been a long-time tutor at Sylvan Learning Center helping students develop study skills and test preparation strategies. Sr. Khadeeja has three young children, two of which attend Al-Rahmah currently.
Akram Yousef-Zadeh—5th grade Girls Homeroom Teacher; Science – 5th & 6th Boys & Girls
Masters – Education; B.A – Social Science (Cambridge, MA) B.A. – Social Sciences (Charlston, West Virginia) Certification: MSDE Teaching
Sr. Akram has been a teacher since 1990. Her experience includes 12 years of working as a teacher at public schools prior to joining Al-Rahmah School in 2002. Sr. Akram has been teaching part time as an instructor at SEEMA since 2010. Additionally, she has coordinated Science fair at ARS for several years.
Amefike Changamire –- 5th grade Boys Homeroom; Social Studies – 5th & 6th Boys & Girls
M.A. – Reading Education (in progress) Bachelor’s – Social Studies Certifications: MD- Social Studies (7-12); First Aide & CPR
Amefike Changamire served in army till 2003. He earned bachelors in Social Studies; Secondary Education and is working towards Master’s degree in Reading Education. He has tutored History and English for BCCC 4A Program and worked as after school teacher for Imagine Discovery Charter School. He earned Teacher of Promise Award MSDE in 2009. Recently, he served on Panel Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History & Culture Museum with State Social Studies Chair, former MSDE CEO Nancy Grasmick. Since joining ARS in 2014, Amefike has taught Social Studies and PE class to Middle and High School students.
Taihisa Abdel-Aziz – 6th grade Girls Homeroom Teacher; ELA – 5th & 6th Boys & Girls
B.S. – Education
Taihisa Abdel-Aziz earned her bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University in Education with a minor Psychology. She has fifteen years of teaching experience and has been teacher at Al-Rahmah School since 2004.
Mam-Marie Kah – 7/8 grade Boys Homeroom Teacher; Social Studies – 7th & 8th Boys & Girls
BA French Studies
Ms. Mam-Marie Kah earned her bachelors in French studies (Etudes Françaises) from Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She is also a former member of the Gambia Athletics Association, Handball, and Track and Field Team.
Halimah Scott – 7th grade Girls Homeroom Teacher; Math – 7th & 8th Boys & Girls
Iffath Farzana – 8th grade Girls Homeroom Teacher; Science 7th & 8th Boys & Girls
Bachelors of Art in Biology
Iffath Farzana graduated from UMBC with a Bachelors of Art in Biology. She is also pursuing her certificate in secondary education. Ms. Farzana has been actively involved with the youth and children of ISB for many years as a Summer Camp counselor and administrator, ISB Youth Group board member, Rihla Center teacher and DC MIST coach. She has a passion for working with children and is excited to join the Al Rahmah School team!
Fatima Abdul-Kareem – Computer & Technology Literacy Teacher 5th – 9th Grade Boys & Girls
Master of Business Administration (in progress) Master of Science in Forensic Studies, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, both with a concentration in Accounting. Certificate: Medical Billing and Medical Coding
Sr. Fatima AK is the Technology teacher. Her passion is organizational structure. She is a self-taught IT application manager, who engages in creating and managing Websites in her down-time. When she is not at Al Rahmah School, she is helping entrepreneurs build their business.
HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: 9TH GRADE – 12TH GRADE
Nahla Aboushaara – 9th Grade Homeroom Teacher; Math 8th – 12th Grade Boys & Girls
Bachelor degree in Applied Arts
Nahla Aboushsara has been ARS’s high school mathematics teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. She has been at Al-Rahmah School since 2014 and come with 16 years of experience in teaching math and science for both middle and high school.
Danette Zaghari-Mask – 10th grade Girls Homeroom Teacher; High School English
Doctorate, International and Comparative Law Bachelor’s Criminal Justice, History, Spanish Bachelor of Arts
Danette Zaghari-Mask graduated, with honors, from the University of Florida College of Law. She holds a Juris Doctorate and a Certification in International and Comparative Law. She also received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Florida. After graduating, she worked for Florida’s Eighth Judicial Circuit as a Staff Attorney, researching and writing legal memorandum and judicial orders for circuit judges. Later, she served as the Executive Director for the Florida Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-FL), an organization that she previously volunteered for as a State Board Member. Eventually, Ms. Zaghari-Mark left the full-time practice of law to focus on the tarbiyah of her young family. In that aim, she began work as an independent educational management professional with a specialization in alternative educational paths. She was instrumental in co-designing and organizing a successful, local academic cooperative which provides instruction across a broad range of learning styles. She also enjoyed the privilege of spearheading Girl Scout Troop #223 at the Islamic Society of Baltimore.
Selena Alqadi – 11th grade (G) Homeroom Teacher; English 7th – 12th Grades Boys & Girls