FACULTY & STAFF
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Dr. Noor Ali is the Principal of Al-Hamra Academy. She earned her Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University in Curriculum, Teaching, Leadership, and Learning. She has a MA in English LIterature and an MS Ed in Inclusion Education. Dr. Noor Ali is a veteran K-12 teacher of 15 years.
Dr. Ali has published in several academic journals and popular media outlets on the topics of social justice, marginalization, leadership, and curriculum. She has a book titled Critical Storytelling- Narratives of Muslim American Youth forthcoming this fall. Her research interests include Critical Race Theory and she has coined a CRT subset, MusCrit. Dr. Ali has extensive work with citizen science, youth civic engagement, social justice, and equity, and inter-faith work.
Dr. Ali is a member of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Taskforce for the Town of Shrewsbury and has served as a board member on the Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services, an organization that supports mental health. Dr. Ali has also worked extensively with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and now serves on the Commission of Independent Schools.
Dr. Ali serves as faculty in the Graduate School of Education, College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University.
Sanam Zaer is the new Director of Elementary & Middle School. She has a Masters Degree in Education and a background in teaching English to both language learners and native speakers. She spends much of her free time either volunteering or doing local advocacy work. For fun, she loves dark chocolate and traveling.
Deanna Latham is the school counselor here at Al-Hamra Academy. She has been working with children and adolescents for over 20 years. Before coming to Al-Hamra, she taught Language Art for 15 years in a public middle school. She received her BA in Psychology from Assumption College, Post-Baccalaureate in English and Education from Bridgewater State University, and Master’s in School Counseling from Providence College.
Charlean Cooley has been the School Administrator here at Al-Hamra Academy since 2011. She enjoys working with families and getting them started on a fantastic journey at Al-Hamra. She says it has been a humbling experience to help the Academy grow over the years and she is so happy to be a part of the administration team.
Adelheid Hui works with our younger students here at Al-Hamra! Her hobbies are spending time with her son and Labrador Tatum, eating lots of chocolate, and collecting children’s books. But her true passion lies in teaching. She thrives on seeing the excitement in children’s eyes when she teaches them something new and loves helping them grow academically and socially.
Bathoola Fathima is a Pre-K teacher with 3 beautiful children and one shy bird. This is her 6th year with Alhamra and she absolutely loves her job. She also loves the outdoors, planting, and crafting and tries to incorporate her hobbies into her lesson plans!
Mahveen Ahmed teaches kindergarteners here at Al Hamra! Working with young children has been the most rewarding part of her career as she gets to see them grow and make friendships that last a lifetime. When she is not teaching, she enjoys traveling with her husband and six-year-old daughter, who also is a student at Al-Hamra! Sr. Mahveen has 6 years of teaching experience in Early Childhood Education.
Andrea is the Reading Specialist at Al Hamra. She has worked as a substitute teacher in Shrewsbury and enjoys volunteering in the classrooms of her three daughters. In her free time, Andrea likes planning family road trips, baking, skiing, and reading.
Nafees Kosak is an enthusiastic Homeroom Teacher, bringing more than 17 years of teaching experience to her passion in the classroom. She has a background in psychology, education, and art. She approaches classroom learning using adaptive styles and methods to meet the needs of all the children and is especially fond of hands-on and creative exercises.
Saima Hameed has been teaching the third grade at Al-Hamra since 2001, following 18 years of teaching high school in Karachi, Pakistan. To her, each year, every class brings new, inquisitive faces that keep her excited to teach. As the homeroom teacher, she teaches her third graders: science, social studies, English literature, language arts, and math. She holds a primary teaching certificate from Pakistan, which has been evaluated and approved by the US Department of Education.
Kristine Austin has been teaching for almost 15 years here at Al-Hamra. Her specialty is in teaching Mathematics. She has a Bachelor’s from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Mathematics and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction for Mathematics from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.
Ann Shafer is our art teacher and she loves art! As a specialist in art history and design, she shows how asking questions and emphasizing processes can both lead to new discoveries about yourself and the world around you. Her favorites are pattern and color, and how they relate to the natural world.
Sharon Martin is a 1st-grade teacher here at Al-Hamra! Her 14 years at Shrewsbury Public Library as a Children's Librarian and ultimately Head of the Children's Room were excellent training for teaching at Al Hamra Academy. Her favorite thing to do as a librarian was to help children find what they were looking for, or, helping them figure out what they were looking for and she finds similar joy in teaching!
Nedhal Saoud is from Baghdad, Iraq, and has been working in Alhamra Academy since 2010. She teaches Arabic and Islamic studies to Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade!
DR. NADIA ALJAM
Dr. Nadia Aljam, MD, originally from Syria, has a certificate of memorizing the Holy Quran from Damascus and from the Association of the United Muslim World in Jordan. She is teaching Quran from KG to 4th grade and Tajweed from 5th to 8th grades and has been working at Alhamra Academy for over 15 years!
Naima Ghouli is an Elementary and Middle School teacher here at Al-Hamra and has taught Arabic & Religion to our students for 6 years!
Sonia Hussein has a B.A. degree in Sharia and is authorized by Al- Furqan School to teach Noorani Qaidah. She really enjoys teaching and reading Quran, Arabic, and Islamic Studies here at Al-Hamra!
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, a Masters of Science in Computer Engineering, and fourteen years of engineering experience, Sr. Cathy Zouval turned to teach. This is her nineteenth year in Islamic Education and her seventh year with Al-Hamra Academy. In addition to being the Grade 8 homeroom teacher, Sister Cathy also teaches English Language Arts, Algebra I, and Science to Grade 8 and Science to Grade 7. Each year, she looks forward to bolstering our students' talents, skills, confidence, and Muslim identity as they transition into high school.
Cindy is a Spanish teacher here at Al Hamra and is very thankful for being part of this community! She loves to read books, drink tea, and have a nice connection with her students. She is currently on the path of becoming a better person every day!
Habibe Balciouglu has been with the Academy for 5 years. She has a Bachelor of Science in Math, a teaching certificate from Osmangazi University, Turkey, and a Child Development Certificate from Oxnard College, CA. She has worked at Al Hamra as an assistant teacher and a math supportive teacher in different grades through Elementary and Middle School. She has also taught art and religion classes to first graders. She enjoys baking, gardening, and crafting.
Sophia Anwaruddin has been with Al-Hamra for over ten years. Her instruction employs project and inquiry-based learning as she helps students navigate through world civilizations, geography, economics, and government. She encourages her students to become critical thinkers and active participants in civic society. Sr. Sophia possesses a Bachelor’s of Science and a Master’s in Education.
Sumyrha Qureshi teaches 4th & 6th grade Science. This is her 10th year teaching science at Alhamra. She has a Bachelors's and Master's degree in science. She believes science is an extremely engaging and interesting subject as it increases our awareness and knowledge of the world around us and opens doors to new and exciting discoveries. Her philosophy of teaching science is to build a solid foundation of science concepts, inquiry-based and hands-on experience. She also likes to develop critical thinking, think creatively, and solve real-world problems.
Sr. Alia is the proud parent of two beautiful children. She holds a Bachelor degree in Law from FGCU. In her free time, she likes to hike trails, craft, and paint. She lives everyday as a gift and tries to bring smiles to anyone she can.
Zuhdiah Abdeljaber has been teaching at Al-Hamra Academy since 1998. To her students and colleagues, she is better known as Sr. Eman. She is currently the 7th-grade homeroom teacher as well as the ELA teacher for both 6th and 7th and math for 6th. She has a Bachelor's Degree from Assumption College in English and a Master's Degree in Education with a Professional Teaching License in Secondary Education from Worcester State University.
Sheema Sheikh is the Computer Science Teacher and part of the Administrative Staff. She’s been working with kids for the last 10 years as a teacher, volunteer, and administrator. Sr. Sheema received her Bachelors's in Statistics from Rutgers University.
Maryam Mehmood teaches Arabic level I here at Al Hamra. She has been called a "Professional Student" because she loves learning new things. She loves to read, cook, and do numbered dot to dot activity books. In her spare time, she also helps with Girls on the Run and the school newsletter!
Nisreen Ameer has taught preschool through elementary years and leads her class in experiential learning through field trips and interacting with nature. Her philosophy lies in nurturing the whole child and creating a classroom community where all learners feel a sense of belonging. Sr Nisreen teaches Math, Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies in Grade 5. In addition to her certification in Early Childhood Education, she holds degrees in law and in Management Accounting
Fehmeeda Mehta is the Bookkeeper at Al-Hamra. She has 2 boys. Her oldest graduated in June 2020 and the youngest is in Grade 4. She loves numbers and so she really enjoys her work here!
Alan D’Allessandro is a Martial Arts/ PE Teacher, with the martial arts title of Hanshi. This is his 5th year as Martial Arts Teacher and my 2nd as the Physical Education Teacher at Al-Hamra. He has been training in the martial arts for over 37 years and was recently promoted to 10th Degree Black Belt by the Oki-Ryu Martial Arts Association, which is the highest rank that one can achieve in the art of Ken-Ryu Kenpo!
Phil Najemy has been teaching 4th grade here at Al Hamra for 5 years. He has his BA in English; MLitt in English; MSc in Creative Writing, and Ph.D. in Creative Writing/English
Abbera works with kindergarteners here at Al-Hamra. Her favorite classroom experiences are those where she is connecting with her students and learning through art or hands-on activities. In her spare time, she enjoys preparing recipes for her imaginary cooking show, learning new things, and going on long drives with her family.
Chuck Pratt acts as the Security Officer for Al-Hamra Academy. This is his 2nd year with Al-Hamra. He retired from the Shrewsbury Police after 34 years and feels this has been the perfect job for the next chapter in his life. You will always see him on foot on campus, keeping an eye out and hopefully deterring any problems that may come up. He feels honored to protect the children, staff, and parents of Al-Hamra!