Vision

Every Islamic school student has equitable access to high quality education within an Islamic framework.

Mission

CISNA advocates for Islamic schools, provides accreditation services, professional development and resources to ensure institutional effectiveness that leads to student success.

Board 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 Accreditation Standards.

Leila Shatara

President

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.

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.

Susan Labadi

Board Member

Susan Labadi is an experienced middle/high school educator and administrator, with a Master’s degree in Teaching from National-Louis University. Susan has school accreditation experience with AdvancEd, New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS), Illinois State Board of Education, and CISNA. She is a long-time member of the ISNA Education Forum Planning Committee and has served as chairperson for the California and Chicago professional development events that specialize in training Islamic school educators, administrators, and boards. Susan is also a coach and advisor to DEFINE Afterschool, which provides weekend and afterschool programming based on values, emotional intelligence, and character development. She is on the faculty of Consultants for Islamic School Excellence (CISE) and has created workshops on teaching excellence and positive school climate. Susan Labadi consults for education, halal enterprises, and social media clients, and she is a published writer of K-12 education and halal industry publications due to her experiences and work with the American Halal Association.

Omar Chatila

Vice President

Omar Chatila is the Vice President of CISNA and has served as the Principal of Al-Furqan Academy since August 2014. During his tenure, the school has experienced record growth in enrollment and organizational advancement. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland College Park, Mr. Chatila went on to complete his Master’s Degree in Management from Wake Forest University.  He is a strong believer in the importance of collaboration and is passionate about personal and organizational growth and continuous development. Mr. Chatila has served on FCIS and FKC accrediting teams and values the experience of connecting with educators from other schools.  He currently serves on the FKC Board of Directors. He is passionate about advancing the cause of Islamic Education and is honored and excited to have the opportunity to serve on the Council of Islamic Schools in North America.

Iram Shaikh-Jilani

 

Board Member

Dr. Iram is a Texas certified Superintendent for Brighter Horizons Academy & BHA Houston. BHA currently is the largest Islamic School in the south. 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.

Safaa Zarzour

Board Member

Safaa Zarzour is the principal attorney of the law firm Zarzour Law LLC and the Vice President of ISNA. He is a co-founder of the ISNA Education Forum and a member of the Board of Advisors of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving. Previously, he served as principal of one of the largest Islamic schools in the nation for over a decade, was Secretary General of ISNA, General Counsel and Chief Operations Officer of Zakat Foundation of America, Chief Executive Officer of IQRA International Foundation, and served as an adjunct law professor at Loyola Law School. He was also the founder and chairman of CAIR-Chicago for over 10 years. Recently, Mr. Zarzour 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 remain his passion because it is schools that produce capable graduates that lead all other institutions.

William White

Secretary

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.

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. This is her 10th year 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. In her current position the school has grown from elementary to high school and received accreditation and re-accrediation. 

 

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

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. Ms. Azmat has taught at multiple grade levels with primary focus on English and literature. 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. She is a student at Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School in the Islamic Education and Leadership program. Ms. Azmat has been invited to speak at the International Congress on Islamic Education in Istanbul and participated on an education panel at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Canada.