Executive Team

Sh. Abdullah Hammoud, Director General

Sr. Waheeda Khan, Principal

Sr. Waheeda Khan received most of her education in Islamabad, Pakistan. She received her M.A. from Punjab University in Pakistan, and later completed M.Ed. Teaching and Learning with Technology from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. She has teaching certification in elementary education from K-8 from Michigan State and Ontario. She is a certified member of the Ontario College of Teachers. She has completed ABQ Primary, ABQ Junior, ABQ (Mathematics) Intermediate Divisions, AQ Integration of Information Technology in Instruction. She completed MLPP Training (Michigan Literacy Progress Profile) and has an Education Technology Certificate from Michigan State University. She received Homer Higbee International Education Award and Urban Teaching Intern Scholarship from Michigan State University.

She enjoys unique opportunities to gain insight into what is required to coordinate, implement, and manage highly dynamic and effective academic programs.

Sr. Waheeda believes in continued growth and excellence in student learning, professional development, and a strong home-school connection. 

Sr. Jalila Joyce, Administrative Assistant

Sr. Jalila was born and raised in Co.Cork in Ireland. She received a Cache Diploma in Childcare and Education as well as a Fetac certification in child development and working in childcare.

Sr. Jalila move to Canada in 2007 with her family and has been with Al-Hijra since 2015, where she has found a home away from home. Sr. Jalila believes in promoting equality and diversity in both students and staff and the fact that patience is the key to success. “Now, patience; and remember patience is the great thing, and above all things else we must avoid anything like being or becoming out of patience” James Joycem, Finnegans Wake (108.8-10)

Sr. Manal Mekkaoui, Secretary

Manal Mekkaoui, born and raised in Kuwait, moved to Canada in 1990. She is a graduate of St. Clair College and the University of Windsor with a degree in business administration and accounting.

Manal joined the Al-Hijra team in 1998. She worked as a full-time secretary for more than seven years and then as a full-time teacher for more than nine years teaching Arabic, Islamic studies, and physical education. She is now working with the administration team as a secretary. Al-Hijra Academy is her second home.

Her time away from the office is spent with her beautiful family.

Academic Staff

Preschool

Sr. Samia Al-Zaher, Preschool Homeroom

My name is Samia Al-Zaher. I was born in Daraa, Syria. I came to Canada 25 years ago. I am married and have children of my own.

I graduated from St. Clair College in 2012 from the Early Childhood Education program. Al-Hijra has been home to me for the last 20 years. I sent all my children to this school and have been working here for the last five years. My hobbies include reading, going on walks, and spending quality time with my family and friends. Teaching has always been a passion of mine, as I gain pure joy from being surrounded by children.

Sr. Tina Chaaban, Preschool Homeroom

Assalamu alaikoum. My name is Tina Chaaban. This is my second year teaching at Al-Hijra Academy. I earned my degree in Modern Languages and Second Language Education with a minor in Arabic studies from the University of Windsor in 2017. I am also a certified Early Childhood Educator.

My mission as a teacher is to guide children and provide them with a safe learning environment that helps them reach their fullest potential.

Kindergarten

Sr. Rania Farhan, Homeroom Teacher Junior Kindergarten

Assalamu alaykum. My name is Rania Farhan.

I came to Canada in 1993 from Cyprus with my family and have lived here since. I finished high school and attended the University of Windsor in 1995 to major in psychology.

I joined the Al-Hijra team in 1997 as a part-time kindergarten assistant for two years. Later, I moved to North Carolina after I getting married and came back to Al-Hijra in 2003 first as a kindergarten teacher and later to teach Grade 2. In 2016, I became a registered Early Childhood Educator through the College of Childhood Educators in Ontario.

I have four children: two who were students here, and two who still are. I love working with children, and I enjoy playing and laughing with them.

Sr. Suheyla Aktas, Teacher Assistant Junior Kindergarten

Sr. Suheyla Aktas was born in Adana, Turkey and grew up in a small town in Yalova. After finishing her school in Istanbul, she got married and moved to Canada. Her hobbies are sewing, painting, cooking, eating, camping and walking daily.

Suheyla has been working voluntarily at Al-Hijra since 2007. “I have never worked at a school which a child receives such love and care. I do not believe that this statement is an opinion. I know it as a fact because I send two of my children to this school as well.” Suheyla studied and taught the Islamic sciences in Istanbul for seven years.

Her time away from the classroom is spent with cooking, and spending time with her two kids.

Sr. Ferial Daher, Homeroom Teacher Senior Kindergarten

I was born and raised in Lebanon. I received my ECE certification in 1983 and started my teaching career in Lebanon for two years. I then moved to Abu Dhabi with my husband and taught Qur’an, Arabic, and French there for 15 years.

I joined the Al-Hijra team in 2000 and have been working as a kindergarten teacher ever since.

Sr. Nila Malik, Teacher Assistant Senior Kindergarten

Nila Malik was born in Lahore, Pakistan. She came to Canada at the age of eight with her family. She graduated from Clark Road Secondary School and after attended Fanshawe College where she took secretarial classes. She then got married and moved to Windsor and began working in a dental office as a dental assistant. Years later, she resigned from her job to have a family. Later in her life, she realized she missed working and decided to open up a daycare and worked for five years through a company called WeeWatch. She then applied for a job here at Al-Hijra Academy and began working in SK as a teacher’s assistant and has been working for nine years now.

“I love working with kids so much that it inspired me to apply at Al-Hijra Academy. This allowed me to bring my four-year-old son to an Islamic environment and it has been so rewarding. Every year I get asked, “How is it working here?” and I always answer with, “I love my job.” I am so lucky to be able to meet a new and interesting group of children every year and I thoroughly enjoy getting to know them all individually.”

Grades 1 – 3

Sr. Mona Kurdi, Homeroom Teacher, Grade 1

My name is Mona Kurdi. I was born and raised in Windsor. I have 12 years of teaching experience. I’m TESOL certified, I have a diploma in ECE, and I have a diploma in child psychology.

I love working at Al-Hijra Academy. I’ve been working here since 2013; it’s my second home and my coworkers are like family.  I love to coming work every day to see the kids and to hear their funny stories–they make me laugh.

I love spending lots of time with my wonderful family. I have two beautiful and smart daughters whom I adore.

I enjoy learning new things and furthering my education. My goals are to better myself as a Muslim, teacher, and especially as a mom. I hope to raise my girls to be good Muslims, to follow their dreams, and to be strong and confident Muslims girls.

Br. Astrit Hali, Homeroom Teacher, Grade 2

Br. Astrit’s classroom career spans more than 12 years. He has been a teacher at Al-Hijra Academy since 2009. “I’ve never taught in a school where the staff receives so much support. As a teacher at Al-Hijra Academy I have a built-in safety net.” Br. Astrit, a native of Albania, earned his B.A. and B.Ed. at University of Tirana. He earned a certification from Ontario College of Teachers on April 2006.

His time away from the classroom is spent taking care of his family and he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children.

Sr. Louay El-Chami, Homeroom Teacher, Grade 3

My name is Sr. El-Chami. I have been a homeroom teacher since 2009 and have learned a lot over the years. I hold an honours bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in political science. Following my B.A., I received my Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) and OCT certification. I also obtained additional qualifications in special education, English as a second language, and business.

My hobbies include reading mystery novels as well as watching them, testing out new recipes and flavour pairings, playing basketball, and spending quality time with my children while planning to take over the world.

Grades 4-8

Sr. Iman Kalout, Homeroom Teacher, Grade 4

My name is Sr. Iman Kalout and I am a graduate of the University of Windsor. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, as well as a Bachelor of
Education specializing in the primary/junior divisions.

My teaching philosophy focuses on student success through an innovative, safe, and inclusive learning environment. I believe it is very important to continually educate myself about the diversity of students and their needs in order to meet them at their individual levels.

On my spare time I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.

Sr. Ghena Salameh, Homeroom Teacher - Grade 5

Assalamu alaykum. My name is Sr. Ghena. I was raised in Windsor, Ontario. I earned my Bachelor in English Literature and Bachelor of Education at the University of Windsor with specialization in the primary and junior divisions. I became a certified member of the OCT in 2019.

I am passionate about learning and teaching. My goal is to inspire my students to enjoy learning and to reach their fullest potential.

In my spare time, I enjoy reading historical biographies, baking, and spending time with my family.

Sr. Mumtaz Elias, Homeroom Teacher - Grade 6

Sr. Mumtaz Elias is from South Africa, a country situated at the southern tip of Africa where the two oceans–the Atlantic and the Indian–meet, but more famously, the land of Nelson Mandela. In South Africa, she worked as a high school teacher teaching both English and Afrikaans (Dutch).

Sr. Mumtaz strives to be a figure of justice and fairplay in the classroom. She believes that equality is not only about treating everyone the same, but making sure that everyone is provided with opportunities where the outcomes will be the same. Sr. Mumtaz likes different and is always reiterating messages within the classroom space to show that diversity and differences and love for one another are valued elements in Islam.

Sr. Mumtaz encourages students to think independently as this allows her to see issues from different perspectives and gain insights into the workings of young minds. As Nelson Mandela said, “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination!”

Love.  Good manners.

Sr. Ammal El-Assar, Homeroom Teacher - Grade 7

Sr. Ammal, a native of Palestine, earned her Bachelor of Science with a major in mathematics from Nasser University in Tripoli, Libya. Her classroom career spans more than 20 years. She taught for eight years in Tripoli, Libya as an elementary school and high school teacher and in an institute for training future teachers. She moved to Canada in 2000 and has been teaching at Al-Hijra for  since 2005. She has been teaching math, science, and the Arabic language for Grades 7 and 8 .

Her time away from the classroom is spent with family and friends.

Sr. Sousan Khaled, Homeroom Teacher - Grade 8

Sr. Sousan Khaled was born and raised in Windsor. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education at the University of Windsor, with qualifications in the intermediate and senior divisions to teach English and French. She also teaches history and geography and loves it! She is a certified member in the Ontario College of Teachers.

On the constant quest for true Islamic knowledge, Sr. Sousan greatly values reading or listening to anything based upon the Words of Allaah, tabaarakasmuhu, and the sayings of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, ‘alayhi salawaatullaah wa salaamuh.

Her desires are to make the world a more peaceful place through thoughtful dialogue, to encourage the verification of information in all its forms, to challenge ignorance delicately, and to educate not only children, but anyone with the true desire and will to actually learn.

Qur’an & Islam Program

Sr. Reda Kilani, Qur'an Teacher - Grades 1 - 8

Ms. Reda Kilani has been directly involved in the field of education for over two decades.  Though she graduated from university with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry degree, her passion has always been Qur’an and Islamic Studies. As a result, she has made this the focus of her teaching career and consequently has continued her own personal studies in these areas. She has attended many recognized tajweed classes, most recently gaining certification of Ahkam Al-Tajweed as well as reciting the holy Quran through Hafith program in Furqan Institute in Flint, MI.

Ms. Kilani’s vast experience, spanning several countries and continents has allowed her to bring out the very best in her students who currently memorize a notable average of 15-20 chapters of the Qur’an per year. She increasingly grows in her path as a lifelong learner and continuously gains and applies new knowledge, skills, and abilities, as do her students.

Sr. Sawsan Arwani, Qur'an Assistant - Grades 1 - 6

Ms. Sawsan Arwani has been teaching Qur’an and Arabic studies for the last decade. She spent the majority of her teaching career in the United Arab Emirates teaching non-Arabic speaking students Arabic reading, writing, tajweed, and successful memorization of the Holy Qur’an.

Ms. Sawsan Arwani has attended many tajweed classes gaining the knowledge and understanding of the Qa’eda
Al Noorania and Matn Al Jazariyyah which she now implements while teaching her students.

Ms. Sawsan Arwani focuses on every student’s strength which means every student is taught according to their needs.

Sr. Suha Abdo, Islam Teacher Grades 2 - 8; Quran Teacher Assistant - Grades 7 - 8;

Sr. Suha Abdo received her secondary education in Jerusalem, Palestine. She completed her Bachelor of Computer Science at Marymount University in Arlington, VA, where she also worked as a programmer analyst for two years before moving to Canada. 

Sr. Suha learned Quran and Tajweed by attending weekly halaqas taught by a certified Quran teacher. She has been volunteering at Al-Iman weekend school as a Quran, Arabic, and Islamic studies teacher since 2007. 

She joined the Al-Hijra team in 2013 as an Islam teacher and as a Quran teacher assistant. She strives to continuously expand her Islamic knowledge by listening to Islamic lectures and reading Islamic books.

Sr. Suha loves the outdoors and enjoys going on adventures with her family. She also loves to travel and discover the world.

Arabic Program

Sr. Shaima Alhamaideh, Arabic Teacher, Grades 1 - 6

Assalamu alaikum. My name is Shaima Al-Hamaideh. I graduated from the Hashemite University in Jordan with a bachelor degree in elementary education. I was born and raised in Jordan and moved to United Arab Emirates after getting married in 2003.

I have been teaching for 15 years, and I have had several experiences within different grade levels and classrooms in public and private schools in the United Arab Emirates.

I have four children. I like reading, cooking and making crafts. Teaching and working with children is a joy to me. I am very passionate about teaching the Arabic language and do my best to make every day fun.

My mission as a teacher is to help children discover the joy of learning and to help each child develop a strong belief in his/her ability to achieve.
I am very pleased to be a part of Al-Hijra Academy and to teach the students of this school.

Sr. Touria Sadouk, Arabic Teacher - Grades 1 - 8

Sr. Touria Sadouk has a total of 18 years of teaching experience with a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arabic Literature. As a certified foreigner teacher, Sr. Touria taught the French language for five years at the Collège Boréal. From 2002 to present, Sr. Touria teaches the Arabic language part-time with the Greater Essex County District School Board during their Saturday International Languages program.

At Al-Hijra Academy, she teaches Arabic full-time. Sr. Touria shares her love of the Arabic language through teaching in a variety of forms. She loves to create Arabic plays with her students to inspire creative learning. During her free time, she loves to read books. Sr. Touria is a hard-working and passionate teacher whose goal is to teach people the Arabic language in order to provide them with the ability to read the Quran and communicate in Arabic.

French Program

Sr. Sarah Silvaggi, French Teacher -Grades 4-8

Assalaamun alaykum. My name is Sarah and I am so excited to be working with the beautiful Al-Hijra Academy community. I have a BA in Human Resources and am working towards my masters in bi-lingual education. I am certified in TESOL and have taught ESL for the past 5 years overseas as well as in Canada.

I love language and in my free time enjoy reading, writing, and learning new languages.

Special Services

Sh. Mohamed Youssef, Tahfeedth Program

Sr. Syeda Maimoona Ali, Librarian

Sr. Maimoona Ali has eight years’ experience as a library media specialist and has been with Al-Hijra since 2013.  She earned a Master of Library Science (MLS) degree
from Texas Woman’s University in 2011 and is a certified school librarian. In addition, she has 17 years’ experience as a teacher and has taught students of all ages. She also holds a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree, is an Ontario Certified Teacher, and holds two Texas Teaching Certificates (8-12 English Language Arts and Reading & EC-6 Generalist).

In addition to being the school librarian, Sr. Maimoona leads the Al-Hijra’s Student Success Program (SSP). Using the Response to Intervention (RTI) framework,
she works with teachers and students to assess student learning needs and plan and implement interventions. She works 1:1 and in small groups with children in SSP until they are able to meet grade level benchmarks.

“I truly believe the library is the heart of the community and “the great equalizer”; it enriches the community with free resources that can enlighten and empower lives. As an advocate for libraries, I want everyone to know that that the library is a wonderful place where they can find answers, dream, explore, learn, collaborate, communicate, and create. I love sharing the gift of reading with children and helping them develop the information literacy skills they need to excel in the 21st century.” -Sr. Maimoona