Funda started her journey to teaching by volunteering to serve children with special needs. Since then, she’s had the opportunity to work with young children for over 15 years in a variety of educational settings. She holds a Master’s Degree in Urban Education from National Louis University and is an Illinois licensed teacher with an endorsement in teaching English Language Learners. Funda believes that children learn best through hands-on, play-based, student-centered activities and looks forward to providing her students with fun and exciting learning experiences.
Maryam Salman leads Prairie’s Arabic and Islamic Studies Program. Mrs. Maryam spent an initial period of three years in Damascus during the late nineties studying Arabic and Shafi’i jurisprudence. She completed the memorization of the Qur’an and received an ijaza in Qur’anic recitation from the late Syrian scholar, Shaykh Abu al-Hasan al-Kurdi. She has been actively involved in teaching both privately and in classroom settings to women, teenagers and children. She teaches Tajweed and continues her Islamic studies at the Ribaat Academic Institute. She graduated with a degree in early childhood and elementary education and resides in Chicago with her husband and three children.
Liz Mitha earned her Bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies and Religious Studies at the University of Texas. Upon graduation, Liz joined Teach For America, where she taught middle and upper elementary school students. Liz then obtained her Master in Public Policy, focusing on urban education, at UCLA. She recruited and hired teachers and school leaders for a nationally-renowned charter school network for seven years. During that time, Liz interviewed candidates, coached applicants on their instruction and provided feedback to principals on leadership best practices. She is thrilled to be both a Prairie parent and teacher.
Nedaa Alwawi was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to co-founding Prairie Academy, she spent the first 12 years of her professional career in Chicago Public Schools as a classroom teacher, department chairperson and a teacher consultant for the Chicago Board of Education. She completed her undergraduate degree in education from DePaul University and her Masters in Educational Leadership from North Park University.
Nedaa is committed in leading the work in Prairie’s spiritual, character, and academic development. She spent the last five years focused on creating a personalized curriculum that engages students on the cognitive, physical, social, emotional and spiritual level.
Feda earned her associate’s degree in early childhood education and has taught all ages since she began working in the field of education in 2007. She enjoys working with children and watching them flourish. She believes every teacher needs patience, flexibility, and love when working with younger children. Her goal is to make sure that each child at Prairie will receive the love and care that they all deserve. Feda has four amazing and smarts boys of her own: three in high school (senior, sophomore, and freshman) and one in fourth grade! Feda feels blessed to have them in her life, along with her husband who has supported her career in education since the beginning.
Iris graduated with an associates degree in Business Management from St. Augustine College in Chicago IL and an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Morton College in Cicero, IL. Through her 20+ years of experience serving in various positions in daycares, home daycares, private schools and non-profit organizations Iris brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to the Prairie family. Iris is a wife and mother of two.
Aminah completed her B.S. in psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her M.S. in occupational therapy at Chicago State University. Aminah has been an occupational therapy practitioner since 2013 and continues to serve adults and children in home, hospital, and school environments. Aminah is well-versed in child and adolescent gross motor developmental milestones and patterns with experience in early intervention and outpatient pediatric clinic for children with developmental delays.
Fatemeh Alsharbini, a native Chicagoan, recently moved back after spending the last 6 years living between New York and Dubai. She graduated from UIC with a Teaching English Degree in 2012. Fatemeh has an overall of five years teaching experience in Dubai and New York, as well as some experience in a publishing agency and experience assisting in directing an after-school program for underprivileged youth. Fatemeh is a mother of two boys, and is trying to get back into reading and running (yes, for fun)! She enjoys food, travel, and organizing obsessively.