Staff and Teachers
Northstar School has a wonderful and talented team of teachers and staff. Everyone is inspired by and committed to the mission of nurturing and developing young people to their fullest potential. We are very proud to have so many seasoned and highly qualified teachers and administrators on our team.
Please find below background and contact info for each of our staff members.
(Interested in joining our team? Go here.)
Principal - Salwa Abed
Salwa Abed obtained her Bachelors of Art in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She began teaching at Peace Terrace Academy in 2001 and served as a classroom teacher and Vice Principal until 2007. She has enjoyed working with students of various ages. Salwa lives in the Bay Area with her husband and daughter. She enjoys reading, baking, and outdoor activities.
Office Manager - Leena Parwana
Director of Learning and Instruction - Fadwa Silmi
Fadwa Silmi is Northstar’s Director of Learning and Instruction and also teaches seventh and eighth-grade math and science while serving as the eighth-grade homeroom teacher. She received her B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California in Berkeley in 1997. After teaching in a private elementary school for five years, she returned to academia and received a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education as well as her teaching credential from San Francisco State University in 2004. Fadwa attended classes at the Zaytuna Institute in Hayward, California from 1997-2005, completing her fard ayn studies along with other various subjects focusing primarily on Maliki fiqh with both resident and visiting scholars. Fadwa has previously served as the Program Director for the Children’s Quran school at the Zaytuna Institute in Hayward, CA, and is co-founder of The Rahmah Foundation, a non-profit organization serving the Islamic educational needs of girls and women. She has taught students in both public and private schools as well as homeschoolers in small class settings and served as an educational consultant to parents and educators over the last twenty years. She resides in Hayward, California with her husband and three children.
Vice-Principal - Michelle Lee
Michelle Lee joined the Northstar team in 2013. As Vice-Principal, Michelle has a diverse role at Northstar, where she oversees campus operations, co-curricular programs, cultivates enrichment programs, manages the fundraising for the school, and engages the community in the education of our youth. Michelle has worked for two years a research associate for Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. She took a break to raise her two sons before working for seven years at Granada Islamic School as a computer science instructor & P.E. teacher. Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science from Loyola Marymount University, and has completed some graduate coursework in Microbiology from UCLA. In her spare time, she stays actively involved in non-profit organizations such as the Muslim Community Association of the Bay Area (MCA), the Institute of Islamic Education (IIE), and the Boy Scouts of America. Michelle loves working in the field of education, where she believes she can make a difference in the lives of our youth. She strongly believes that a love of learning tied with a love of deen will create a lasting foundation of success in our children. Michelle is married with two sons, and enjoys reading novels, hiking new trails, playing board games, eating with family and friends, and hitting the gym to keep the effects of her love of eating in check.
Development and Programs Coordinator - Fatima Hararah
Kindergarten Teacher - Sarah Zaman
First Grade Teacher - Dorkhany Arsala
Dorkhany Arsala is currently teaching 1st Grade at Northstar School. She has been teaching at Northstar School since 2003. Previously, she taught two years at Peace Terrace Academy and three years at Fremont Unified School District. She received her B.A. in Sociology from U.C. Berkeley. After discovering her passion in teaching, she received her teaching credential for multiple subjects from California State University of East Bay. During her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and skiing. Dorkhany resides in San Ramon with her husband and two kids.
Second Grade Teacher - Afia Mujeeb
Afia Mujeeb has been the 2nd grade homeroom teacher at Northstar School since 2012. She was educated in Pakistan and started her teaching career from Beaconhouse School Systems, one of the largest school chains in Southeast Asia with branches in the Far East, Middle East, and Europe. Afia has well over 20 years of teaching experience, and has previously been part of the faculty of Peace Terrace Academy in the East Bay and Noor-ul-Islam Academy in Florida. She enjoys reading, cooking, crafts, walking, hiking and biking. Khala Afia has four children, two boys and two girls.
Third Grade Teacher - Afsha Aziz
Fourth Grade Teacher - Arshia Saifuddin
Fifth Grade Teacher - Uroosa Saifuddin
Sixth Grade Teacher - Halima Afi
7th/8th Grade Language Arts and Social Studies - Elizabeth Ackerly
Islamic Studies - Amin Gharad
Qur'an - Qari Amar Bellaha
Qari Amar is a well-known and esteemed Hafiz or one who has committed to memory the Quran in its entirety. Raised in Morocco, he memorized the Quran at the age of 17 from Madrasat Imam Nafia. He has ijaza (Islamic teaching licenses) for both the Hafs and Warsh forms of Quranic recitation. In 1994 and 1995, Qari Amar was awarded top prizes in the National Moroccan Tajweed Competition, a competition of the best Quran reciters in all of Morocco. He is recognized for the beauty, clarity, and excellence of his recitation. He is one the Bay Area’s most respected and active Quran teachers, having taught hundreds of students at numerous schools and Islamic centers in the area.
Qur’an/Arabic Teacher - Muna Almawri
Muna Almawri has been a teacher of Arabic, Qur’an, and Islamic Studies at Northstar School since 2007. Muna is a graduate of Sana’a University in Yemen with a B.A Degree in Education. Muna has participated in the BIAE (Bureau of Islamic Studies and Arabic Education) Arabic program, which was designed to teach Arabic as a foreign language to non-native speakers. Muna has 20 years of teaching experience in Arabic, Qur’an, and Islamic Studies, and has previously taught at Ilm Tree Homeschooling Co-op, Peace Terrace Academy, Dearborn Islamic Academy, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), and The Samawi Middle School (Yemen). Muna loves to apply innovative teaching techniques which engage the student in learning, and foster a love of the subject material.
Qur’an/Arabic Teacher - Taghreed Moqbel
Qur’an/Arabic Teacher - Arwa Mohamed
Arabic Teacher - Shawk Rouhi
Art Teacher - Khadija Orta