“High above all is Allah, the King, the Truth! Be not in haste with the Qur’an before its revelation to thee is completed, but say, O my Lord! advance me in knowledge.”

– SURAH TAHA (20:114)

Who We Are

Our Team & Leadership

In our vibrant community, our team members shine brightly as the driving force behind every success and shared achievement. Each member brings a unique set of skills, boundless dedication, and a passion for making a difference. Together, they form a dynamic and supportive network, always ready to collaborate and uplift one another. Their commitment to the community’s growth is unwavering, and their collective enthusiasm creates an inspiring atmosphere for everyone involved. We are not just a team; we are a family, united by a common goal and fueled by the diverse talents that each individual brings to the table.

Shahida Alikhan

Administrator at CORE Academy

Shahida Alikhan started her career as an educator in the US at Francis Parker, an independent school in Chicago. With her move to Los Angeles she joined New Horizon School. She was soon promoted to be the principal of the school where she served for 26 years, simultaneously working as the principal of the Sunday School for 11 years. She served as the Professional Development Coordinator at Aldeen Foundation for 21 years. She retired in 2014 to spend time with her family. In 2019, she rejoined the Educational field as part time Administrator at CORE Academy. She has served on several visiting teams to accredit schools for CAIS and WASC. She has presented papers at different conferences including ISNA Education Forum and WCIEF, of which she has been the planning committee member since its inception. She is the recipient of New Horizon School Appreciation Award and ISNA Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to Islamic Education in America.

Hassan Aly

Imam and Director of Religious affairs at The Mecca Center in Willowbrook, Illinois

Imam Hassan Mostafa Aly is the Imam and Director of Religious affairs at The Mecca Center in Willowbrook, Illinois since December 2011. He is a graduate of the prestigious  Al-Azhar University of Cairo, Egypt in Islamic Studies and theology. He has the “sanad / ijazah” linked to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Quran and Hadith. He has held the position of Imam and served as the director of religious affairs in many Islamic centers and has taught at Islamic schools in Egypt and the USA. He is also the author of many articles published in newspapers and websites. Sheikh Aly is the recipient of the Best Religious Speech award from Al-Azhar University Cairo in 2002. He has also hosted many Islamic radio shows in the U.S. Imam Aly holds a master’s degree in theology and is currently pursuing a doctorate in theology. Adding practical expertise to his academic pursuits, Imam Aly has served as an adjunct professor at both Lewis University and the University of Chicago.

Sufia Azmat

Executive Director of CISNA (Council of Islamic Schools in North America)

Sufia Azmat is the Executive Director of CISNA (Council of Islamic Schools in North America), an organization that advocates for Islamic schools and provides accreditation services and professional development to schools worldwide. She has served the Islamic education community for over 25 years as a teacher, school leader, leadership coach and education consultant. Sufia attended the University of Chicago where she majored in Political Science and the Graduate School of Business at Northern Illinois University where she majored in Marketing and Management. Sufia also holds a Masters in Islamic Education and Leadership from Bayan Islamic Graduate School and has completed the BoardSource Certificate of Nonprofit Board Consulting.  She has facilitated Mission Reviews and Strategic Planning for Islamic Schools and Islamic Center Governance Boards. Sufia has been a speaker at national and international conferences including the International Congress on Islamic Education in Istanbul, Turkey and at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada. Sufia serves on the Board of Trustees of E3 (Excellent Education for Everyone) and on the Advisory Board of Fons Vitae Ghazali Children’s Project. As a member of the Steering committee of the Global Association of Islamic Schools, Sufia is committed to the improvement of Islamic schools and Islamic education throughout the world. 

Abir Catovic

Islamic Studies and Qur’an teacher

Abir Catovic  began teaching at the Islamic Society of Central Jersey as a college student.  She developed the Islamic Studies Curriculum for their Weekend School and helped start a Full-Time Islamic School. As a teacher for more than thirty years, she also served in school administration as a Religious Studies Director, Vice-Principal and Principal. Abir Catovic developed curricula for Islamic and Qur’anic Studies at the elementary, middle and high school levels, including a Character Education Program based on the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammed (S.) and a Two-Year Tahfeedh Program that graduated more than fifty male and female Qur’an Huffadh. As one of the pioneers of Islamic Education in the United States, Abir Catovic has shared her knowledge and experience at various conferences. She prides herself in having experience teaching every grade level from KG through twelfth grade and in 2017, she was honored with the Noor Kids Islamic Teacher Appreciation Award, being voted one of the top three Islamic educators in North America due to “outstanding evidence of dedication, innovation, inclusion, and service as a role model”. In 2021, Abir Catovic was the recipient of the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award in Education for her “exemplary volunteer efforts and public service”.

Ahmed ElHattab

Director of Development at Sterling Charitable Gift Fund (SCGF)

Ahmed ElHattab has been an active participant in the Islamic Philanthropy and Nonprofit sector in the United States since 1978. He joined the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) full time in 1983 for 37 years, where he served as the Executive Director of ISNA Development Foundation (IDF) for 26 years, as well as ISNA Interim Secretary General for several years. Ahmed ElHattab served as the President of the Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA) in US for two terms (86-87). He also has been the Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the American Islamic College in Chicago (AIC) since 2013. Ahmed ElHattab currently is the Director of Development at Sterling Charitable Gift Fund (SCGF) and the Center for Islam in the Contemporary World (CICW) at Shenandoah University. He also is a member of the Board of Directors of North American Imam Federation (NAIF), and a member of the Advisory Council of the Council of Islamic Schools in North America (CISNA), and a member of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH), and he recently joined the Board of Directors of the Weekend Islamic Schools Educational Resources (WISER) and the Steering Committee of the Global association of Islamic Schools (GAIS).

Amal Sakr Elhoseiny

Arabic teacher at New Horizon School

Amal Sakr Elhoseiny received her Ph.D. degree in Comparative Studies of the German and Arabic languages, and literature from Cairo University in Egypt. She worked as a lecturer at the College of Education in Ain-Shams University. From 2000 to the present, she works as an Arabic teacher at New Horizon School, Pasadena. In 2010, she became Nuraniyah Method certified and started teaching Qur’an at the same school. She is also the head teacher of Arabic, Qur’an, and Islamic studies at the Sunday School at the ICSC. She presented in different conferences. She designed standards-based activities for Qatar Foundation International and the BIAE. She participated as a master Arabic teacher in the Aldeen Foundation/ Startalk Student program and in the Aldeen Online Teacher Training program. With Hadi/Startalk, she taught Arabic virtually to high school and college students. She is an executive board member of the National Arabic Teachers Association (K-12). She conducted a workshop for teachers of Arabic in Tamarac/Florida and a Nuraniyah workshop for teachers in Orange Crescent School in California. Last year, she supervised a student-teacher’s training for an Arabic teacher from the Teacher Preparation Program at National University. Working together with other instructors to enhance teaching of Arabic and Qur’an is her goal.  

Samar Dalati Ghannoum

Foreign language instructor and curriculum developer

Samar Dalati Ghannoum is an award-winning, California-based foreign language instructor and curriculum developer who currently serves as a professor at University of Redlands in the International Relations, History and Theology departments and a Sunday School instructor/curriculum developer at the Islamic Center of Southern California (ICSC). Samar began her career as an Arabic Language Arts and Literature professor at Damascus University, where she earned a B.A. in the field of Arabic Language and Arts. She went on to obtain an M.A. in the field of education and was further credentialed in the field of psychology. Samar is accomplished as a national foreign conference presenter with multiple appearances from 2004 to present. As a current executive board member of the National Arabic Teachers Association (NATA), Youth United Purpose – (YUP Foundation), and Weekend Islamic School Education Resources (WISR). Additionally, she is a board member of the Arab – American Press Guild (AAPG) and a member of the American Consulate of Teaching Foreign Language (ACTFL). Samar keeps up to date on the latest training techniques and studies applicable to Arabic language instruction. She is also a board advisor for the Society of Egyptian Americans, a founding member of Syrian American Ladies Aiding Mothers (SALAM), and a formal volunteer and representative at NISWA. 

Dahlia Hamdi

Master’s in Education with a concentration in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction

Dahlia Hamdi holds a B.S. in Childhood and adolescent development from California State University, Fullerton. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Education with a concentration in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction, expected in 2022. She has studied Islamic Studies with International Open University. She has taught and directed AIM weekend School at the Islamic Center of Irvine since its inception in 2013 through the 2021 school year. Dahlia is dedicated to ensuring her curriculum is relevant, engaging, enriching, and inspiring to students’ lives. By valuing students’ unique backgrounds, knowledge, and assets, she creates an enriching classroom environment in which diversity positively impacts the learning process.

Henry Hane

Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati

Henry Hane is the Executive Director of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati in West Chester, Ohio. Henry has a Master’s degree in English, a Master’s degree in Urban Education Studies, and is currently working on his dissertation for a PhD in Urban Education Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis. Henry Hane has close to two decades’ worth of experience having been active with the Islamic Muslim Community Association (IMCA) in Indianapolis, IN since 2003, where he served as an active community member, volunteer, board member-at-large, and board Vice-President. Prior to that, Henry taught French and English at Marva Collins College Preparatory and English and Reading at Madrasa-t-ul Ilm School of Knowledge in Indianapolis. He also served as principal at the Universal School of Plainfield, in Indiana. Henry Hane is currently a Board Member of Tabital Pulaaku Americas as Secretary General and the Secretary General of NANN-K USA.

Assad Koshul

Founder and Lead Facilitator of Criterion Concepts LLC. 

Assad Koshul is an Accounting/Finance, Organizational Development, Change Management, Leadership, and Human Capital Development Professional with experience in diverse industries in developed and emerging markets.  

He has been a community activist since an early age and has worked in diverse groups for social justice causes. His diverse professional experience and cross-cultural competency equip him to create intellectual and emotional alignment in diverse environments and situations. 

His current work focuses on knowledge integration, concept, and framework development for young professionals and activists.   He also focuses on bridging the gap between academia and industry for young professionals as well as curriculum and workshop development for diverse audiences.   

He is the Founder and Lead Facilitator of Criterion Concepts LLC.  Criterion Concepts LLC Seerah course has been approved by Al Azhar. 

He is a graduate of Rutgers University, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), PROSCI Change Management Certified and Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) 

Susan Labadi

President of  Genius School, Inc.

Susan Labadi is a consultant and trainer for Islamic schools, and she shares her knowledge with adults about leadership, optimizing mental fitness, and specializing in stress reduction. She has been a business owner, designed and sold commercial and residential security systems for ADT, and served as a teacher and administrator at her four children’s Islamic school for 10 years. She has provided professional development for various topics, served on numerous Islamic boards, and has contributed to accreditation reviews with several agencies for 17 years. Susan has worked in the development of the ISNA Education Forum, the West Coast ISNA Education Forum, CISNA, Consultants for Islamic School Excellence, the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, the American Halal Association, and the American Halal Council. She earned her undergraduate degrees in psychology and sociology from Northern Illinois University before acquiring a master’s in teaching and teacher certification from National-Louis University. Susan is a certified character coach with DEFINE 360 and a Dr. Amen licensed brain health trainer. She is certified in mindfulness-based stress reduction from Brown University and writes and records Islamic-based meditations for the Muraqaba app. Her educational and halal industries articles have been published online and in print. She is the recipient of ISNA’s Lifetime Service Award, and Susan is the current president of WISER.

Necva Ozgur

Executive Director of MERIT

Necva Ozgur is the founder and Executive Director of MERIT and the founding School Head of New Horizon School Pasadena, NHSP. Necva obtained an M.S. degree in Pharmacy at the University of Istanbul and an M.A. degree in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College in California, where she wrote her thesis on Strategies to Achieve Excellence in an Islamic School.  Necva led the establishment of NHSP and was instrumental in obtaining its accreditation from WASC and CAIS. With her leadership and guidance, NHSP earned the Blue-Ribbon recognition from the Department of Education.  Necva is currently providing Islamic schools with board training, principal coaching, accreditation, school establishment, development and evaluation and consulting. She chaired many accreditation teams on behalf of different accrediting agencies. Necva was invited two years in a row by the US State Department to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to provide workshops on “How to Raise Public Awareness Campaign,” “Social Marketing,” “Parenting,” “Volunteer Management,” “Leadership Training” and more. Necva developed the Academy of Islamic Thought for the Islamic Center of Southern California and led the establishment of Bayan Claremont, an Islamic Graduate School in California educating Muslim American Leaders and served as board chair for six years.