"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou
Growing up in a small town outside of Cleveland, Ohio I was taught the values of love, compassion, and persistence by my boisterous and tight-knit Syrian family. While my world in semi-rural Ohio was relatively small, at a young age I fell in love with books that opened my eyes to the beauty, complexity, injustice, and love that exists in communities one state over or on the other side of the world. Through reading books like There are No Children Here, Wild Swans, A Long Way Gone, and Infidel, I developed a curiosity to experience cultures and perspectives different from my own and a deep-seated devotion to work for social justice and equity.
In pursuit of my passions, I attended Ohio University as a Stocker-Cuter Scholar. I earned my B.A. in Business Administration with a focus on the economics of poverty and development from Ohio University’s Honors Tutorial College. During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to work with nonprofit and student groups in low-income communities in China, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Thailand. Through these experiences I came to understand that educational opportunities are among of the most important factors for improving the quality of life for people in low-income communities. These experiences compelled me to become a teacher myself and to work to improve the state of education in the United States. I began my teaching career as a Teach for America corps member working with PUC and KIPP charter schools in Los Angeles, teaching math to fifth and sixth graders and coaching a middle school half and full marathon team.
After four years teaching in Los Angeles, I was inspired to learn more about High Tech High's approach to pursuing educational equity and developing students who are prepared for the 21st century workplace. A move to San Diego brought with it the opportunity to work at High Tech Middle Media Arts (HTMMA) as a project based learning math and science teacher. Many of my previous assumptions about what it meant to work for educational equity or what real learning looks like were flipped upside down. While my perspective and pedagogy were broadened and refined, my commitment was strengthened for nurturing learning opportunities where students are empowered to pursue their passions and make real change now.
After teaching for two years at HTMMA, I became a High Tech High Graduate School of Education Leadership Fellow, where I was immersed in the world of school leadership. I acted as the resident to a High Tech High school director, shadowing and taking on leadership opportunities at my full time school site while also attending night and weekend classes to earn my Masters in School Leadership and administration credential.
When I am not at school I enjoy traveling, reading, hiking, cooking, running, and adventuring with family and friends.