Faculty & Staff
Principal / 6-8 Character & Leadership
Mrs. Natalia Aisha Blagaia has been with Nur Islamic School of Louisville since 2005. From 2010, she has served as the Director for the Early Childhood Center and a Principal for the school. Having been an elementary teacher (K-3) during her first five years at the school, she has come to know many of our students on a personal level as they grew and developed over the years. This has helped her establish one-on-one relationships with the students, their families, and the staff. She is a life-long learner who believes that education is a journey rather than a destination, and is currently working on her Masters of Arts in Education with a major in Educational Administration and Supervision. She holds a Bachelors in Gen. Studies Degree in Organizational Leadership, Management, and Education. Her vision for our students is to help them cultivate a sound heart and a passion for lifelong learning. She believes that our children are born with a love for learning. The seed for knowledge is already within them, and we have been bestowed with the most blessed jobs of nurturing that seed. We are the farmers of our children's hearts and minds. Ms. Blagaia is passionate about empowering our students, and she always has a positive and optimistic attitude towards the challenges that our school and community face. Ms. Blagaia was the recipient of the Teacher of the Year award for the 2008-2009 school year. In August of 2010, she established the state-licensed Early Childhood Center which has substantially grown over the years. It is now rated above the state-licensed quality expectations. Her hobbies include reading, spending time with her family, and taking care of plants, which is evident to anyone who stops by her office.
Mrs. Norma Nangju received a Bachelors in Environmental Engineering from Swarthmore College in 1997 and a Masters in Environmental Engineering from University of Louisville in 2001. In December 2013, she completed a Masters in Elementary Education from University of Louisville. Ms. Nangju brings ten years of teaching experience from the Islamic School of Louisville. Having taught all subjects from Kindergarten to Eighth Grade, she has experience in organizing many school and community events. She also has administrative experience in tracking student academic progress and teacher development. She has mentored many students who won awards in the Louisville Regional Science Fair. She hopes to involve community members in mentoring Middle School students in their science fair projects in the future. She also coaches students in Future Problem Solving (FPS). FPS is a Governor’s Cup event in which the students learn about current issues. They identify problems in a given future scene, generate solutions, and write an action plan to solve the problem. FPS allows the students to work collaboratively, be creative and use their critical thinking skills. Ms. Nangju hopes to work with the school to gain accreditation and continuously improve the quality of education at the school.
Assistant Director of the Early Childhood Center
Hamza Ross Foy
6-8th Grade Social Studies and Islamic Studies
Mr. Hamza Foy received his Bachelors of Arts in History with a minor in Middle Eastern & Islamic Studies from the University of Louisville in May of 2016. He served as President of the University of Louisville's Muslim Student Association during his senior year and has held previous positions in other student organizations on UofL's campus. He is one of the youth coordinators for the Muslim Americans for Compassion here in Louisville and is dedicated to rekindling an interest in the Islamic ethic for young Muslims. He testified his the Islamic faith in 2004 and has a great passion for history, community service, and for promoting a prideful community for the Muslim youth here in Louisville to grow up in and to rear future generations in.
6-8th Grade Arabic Level 3 / K & 1st Grade Islamic Studies
Ms.Wisal Alabdalla joined NISL in 2015. Ms. Alabdalla is originally from Palestine and studied English at Islamic Society Collage in Jordan, She completed an advanced course of Tajweed and has been teaching Tajweed lessons to students since 1999. Ms. Alabdalla worked has taught Quran and Islamic Studies from PreK to 9th grade for four years. During this time, she organized competitions on Qur'an,, Hadeeth and Names of Allah. She often serves as the Quran and Arabic Spelling Bee judge. Outside the school, she loves to organize activities such as summer camps, Itikaf for girls, and celebrations to welcome new Muslimahs into the community. Ms. Alabdalla believes that teaching students Islamic Studies should be practical and spiritual, and the content should be taught through interactive and hands-on activities to draw our children closer to Allah, to make them love and be proud of being a Muslim, and practice to be a role model and an effective leader. Ms. Alabdalla enjoys spending time with her family, as well as listening to spiritual lectures and nasheeds.
Shaykh Asif Iqbal
6-8th Grade Arabic Level 2 / 8th Grade Islamic Studies
Mufti Asif Iqbal was born in Mumbai, India. After moving to the United States in 1992, he started memorizing Quran in Jamia Madinatul-Uloom in New Orleans, LA. Thereafter, he enrolled in the prestigious seminary Darul Uloom Al-Madania in Buffalo, NY to commence on a six-year intensive study of the core disciplines of a traditional Islamic education such as Arabic, Tafsir (Quranic Exegesis), Hadith (Prophetic Traditions), Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and other related disciplines. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2002. In 2004, he completed a post-graduate specialization program in Islamic Law and Legal Verdicts (Iftaa), which trains scholars to issue formal Islamic legal opinions (Fatwa). He served as the Imam and the director of religious affairs for Manassas Muslim Association in Manassas, VA from 2004 -2015. In 2016, he relocated to Louisville, KY to serve as the director and an instructor for Hira Institute Inc.
2nd-6th Grade Islamic Studies
Mr. Ishaq Vineyard is a life-long resident of Louisville. Soon after he accepted Islam as a teenager in 1998, he began studying Arabic, Quran and other branches of Islamic knowledge from various teachers and sources. He stepped into his career as a teacher in 2006 and has spent seven years teaching various subjects and grade levels ranging from Kindergarten to Middle School and from Social Studies, Math and Science to Islamic Studies, Quran, and Arabic. Mr. Ishaq is extremely passionate about Islamic education and cultivating our Muslim youth upon the core values of Islam according to the traditional teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. He believes every child should be encouraged to reach their full potential and to become contributing members of society while maintaining a strong Islamic identity. Ishaq is currently pursuing his teaching certification and is an active member in the community delivering Friday sermons in various local mosques.
6-8th Grade Math / 6th and 8th Grade Science
Mr. Omar Mahran received his Bachelor degree in Systems and Biomedical Engineering from Cairo University in 2005, and his Masters of Science Degree in Electrical and Cmputer Engineering from University of Louisville in 2012. He joined Nur Islamic School of Louisville in 2014. He is passionate about building strong youth who use their skills and talent and are contributors to their communities. Mr. Mahran believes being a teacher in Nur Islamic School of Louisville is a chance for him to be a productive Muslim and to offer himself to his Ummah. He loves fixing anything and everything and his hobbies include playing sports, fishing, collecting stamps, electricity, mechanics and carpentry.
4th Grade / Physical Education 6-8th Grade Girls
Mrs. Kim Carter moved to Kentucky in 2004. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Eastern Michigan University. Mrs. Carter graduated from Bellarmine University with a Master’s of Art in Teaching and has a Kentucky State Teacher License. Mrs. Carter has 2 children, a freshman at the University of Louisville and a freshman in high school. She and her husband enjoy family camping trips while visiting national and state parks across the United States.
Christine Hafsah Salleng
6th and 8th Grade English
Ms. Christine Hafsah Salleng, our KG teacher, has taught at Nur Islamic School of Louisville since 2010. Ms. Salleng is a Louisville native and enjoys working with children in the Islamic Community. Prior to joining our school she taught for three years at the Islamic School of Louisville. This is her fifth year of teaching. Ms. Salleng was named teacher of the year at Nur Islamic School of Louisville in 2010 and in 2014. She was a recipient of the Dr. Alice Howry James Memorial Scholarship for individuals excelling in and continuing their education in the field of early elementary education. She is currently pursuing her elementary teaching certificate. She is also the coordinator of our March Reading Month and the Scholastic Book fair. In her leisure time Ms. Salleng loves to spend time with family and research exciting field trips and activities for her class.
2nd Grade / 3rd Grade Art
Mrs. April Bracewell began her college education at the University of Louisville and completed her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education at IUS in 2006. She has taught in many different settings and positions, from public schools to private, and even home-school. When she was 21 years old she started working as a teacher’s assistant at Pine View Elementary in New Albany, and gradually worked her way up by subbing, tutoring, and eventually teaching. Thus far in her career, she has taught every elementary grade level, whether it was as a home-room teacher or a special areas teacher. Currently, she has been working with children for 13 years. Mrs. April Bracewell is a mother of a 14 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. She currently resides in Shively, which is where she has lived all of her life, with the exception of 6 years, when she lived in New Albany,IN. April has always wanted to teach. It is her passion and belief that it is her calling in life, other than to be a mother.
1st Grade / 3rd Grade Technology
Mrs. Mindy Riley has lived in the Louisville area all her life. She received her Bachelors Degree in American Sign Language Interpreting in 2007 from Eastern Kentucky University (through University of Louisville) and her Master's of Arts in Teaching from Bellarmine University in 2013. Mrs. Riley has worked in the Jefferson County Public School system since 2009. By being in the classroom setting she realized she needed to follow a life-long dream and become an elementary teacher. Mrs. Riley believes that each child has the ability to accomplish anything he/she puts their mind to. Hard work and encouragement goes hand in hand to achieving success in life.
Ms. Laronda Ayo has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Elementary Education and a kindergarten endorsement from Louisiana State University. She also has fifteen graduate hours in Special Education and twenty one hours in Counseling Psychology. Laronda Ayo has taught at Nur Islamic School two and a half years prior to 2016-2017 school year. Ms. Ayo has a total of eight years teaching experience in private and public schools. She believes children must feel safe in the classroom in order to ask questions and learn. She strives to ensure that safe and positive classroom environment.
K-5th Grade Quran and Arabic
Mrs. Bothaina Ali has been at Nur Islamic School of Louisville since 2005, teaching Quran and Arabic to all grade levels. This year, she is teaching Pre-k through fifth grade Quran and Arabic and also teaches on the weekends at the Guiding Light Weekend School. She completed her teaching degree in Jerusalem, Palestine and earned certification to teach Arabic. In addition to various annual trainings that she participates in, Mrs. Ali has attended the STARTALK Arabic Language Training Program in Washington State University and attends professional development sessions for Arabic and Quran teachers at ISNA Education Forum. Mrs. Ali was the recipient of the Teacher of the Year award for the 2007-2008 and 2011-2012 school years. She strives to enable our students to understand Arabic when spoken, read with understanding, normal speed and correct intonation, to write correctly and legibly read paragraphs and short stories, to acquire a set of moral values on which to base his/her own behavior, to develop tolerance and respect for others, to behave as a responsible and well balanced people in our society, and to also develop awareness of the spiritual aspects of prayer and worship. She uses the I Love the Arabic Language and Learn the Arabic Language curricula for kindergarten through fifth grade and enriches it with Al-Qaidah An-Nuraniyahand other various Arabic resources such as dictionaries and The Rules in Arabic for Quran to give the students the edge to their skills. Mrs. Ali serves as the school coordinator for cooperative events with other Islamic Schools such as the Arabic Spelling Bee, Islamic Studies Quick Recall, and Quran Recitation Competition. She also served as a judge at the Quran Recitation Competition in May 2012. Mrs. Ali's first passion is her family and two kids. Her second passion is teaching here at Nur Islamic School of Louisville.
Ruslan Abdullah Aminov
K-5th Grade Physical Education / 6-8th Grade Physical Education Boys
Mr. Ruslan Abdullah Aminov is a physical education teacher for all students in kindergarten through fourth grade and middle and high school boys. He began his athletic career in boxing at seven years of age, competing as an amateur boxer. As an amateur boxer he had 54 fights and became the Junior Olympics Champion in 1994 and the National Golden Gloves Champion in 1995. As a professional boxer, he had 4 wins and 0 loses (4-0). Although his expertise is boxing, he is also well-versed in other contact sports. He took on Karate at ten years of age, Greco-Roman Wrestling, and Tae Kwon Do at thirteen, earning a black belt. He is presently training and competing in Judo, Jujitsu, and Grappling. After school hours and on weekends, Mr. Aminov teaches Judo and Jujitsu to boys five years of age to adults. Mr. Aminov believes that being healthy, active, and physically fit is a critical part of development for our children. A strong mind needs a strong and healthy body and it is an obligation upon every Muslim to take care of the physical body just as much as one takes care of his mind and heart. His passion for fitness is rooted in the mission for the school of holistic education. He hopes that our children and their families gain more awareness of the importance of physical education, that it translates into healthy living as adults, and transforms our community into the strong and balanced Ummah it used to be.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both.” (Sahih Muslim) Shaikh Al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah explains that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was talking about physical strength and the benefits it brings to a believer, being able to strive harder for his Creator, and avoid laziness. We should not only look to doctors and dieticians for advice who highly stress the importance of exercising. Islam also stresses it and holds us accountable for our physical body. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “And your body also has a right over you.” (Sahih Bukhari). Our body is an amaanah (trust) from Allah and we will be called to account on the Day of Judgment for how we took care of our bodies, what we did to nourish it and protect it from disease.
4th-8th Grade Technology & Engineering Teacher
Ms. Jamila Hamid has been working at NISL since 2007. Ms. Hamid has a Bachelor's degree in Islamic Studies as well as in Language Arts. She also enjoys cooking Iftar for the Guiding Light Center during the month of Ramadan. Ms. Hamid's passion is food and she she loves to cook and feed people. She recently achieved her life-long dream of having a catering company that she runs part time when not cooking for our school.
Ms. Sarah joined NISL in 2015. She ensures that the kitchen is running smoothly with Ms. Jamila. Ms. Madhdi studied Math in college and loves to create Art as a hobby. She has launched an Art Club after school for students who are interested in exploring their creative side.
Early Childhood Center PreK3/4
Ms. Ghada Mohammed joined NISL in 2015. She attended Jefferon Community College and Indiana University Southeast and is currently pursuing her CDA. Ms. Mohammed volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana serving as a mentor, assisting with homework, and helping to build self-esteem. Most of all, she loves working with people, especially children.
Early Childhood Center PreK3/4
Ms. Sumaiya Meman has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education from Canisius College and a Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies in Childhood Education from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University. She moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY during the summer to join NISL. Ms. Meman been teaching since 2010. She loves teaching and helping children learn using multiple learning styles.
Early Childhood Center Infants and Toddlers
Mrs. Madina joined NISL in 2010 as a Pre-K2 teacher. After she discovered her passion in caring infants, she transitioned to being the Infant and Toddler teacher. She loves babies, and she likes to make their environment safe and cozy. She hold extensive training in Early Childhood Education and is CPR/AED and First Aid certified.
Early Childhood Center Infants and Toddlers
Mrs. Rosa Akhmedova has been working with infants and toddlers since 2012 She has a CDA in Early Childhood Education and has extensive hours of valuable training. Ms. Akhmedova has also received her CPR/AED and First Aid certification.
Ms. Tomasa Fidalgo joined NISL in 2015. She is the one person who can do it all. She is the one who paints for us, fixes classrooms for and keeps the entire school sparkling clean.