2017-18 Faculty and Staff Bios


Fehmida Rajiwate:  Pre-K1 Teacher

Email: rajiwatef@dupeoria.org

Fehmida Rajiwate was born in Mumbai, India and have been living in the Peoria for the past 18 years. She completed her Masters degree in Arts with Economics major. She is married to Arif Rajiwate who works at Caterpillar.

After coming to Peoria, she took some classes related to education, culinary arts and computers to broaden her horizon. She helped her husband with his restaurant business venture and then moved on to retail industry. She worked with Bergner’s for a period of 6 years. Over these 6 years, she took on different roles: Sales Associate, Team Lead, Mentor, and assisting manager with planning and organizing. She enjoyed every moment of it!

She loves working with Kids and have a passion for teaching. This is her seventh year in Daarul Uloom. She thought Pre-K1 for five years, and Kindergarten for one year. She is looking forward to working with your kids in Pre-K1. She is grateful to Allah S W T to have presented her with this opportunity.

When she is not working, she loves to read, cook, bake, and gardening.


Rabha Mizyed:  Pre-K1 Assistant Teacher

Email: mizyedr@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Mizyed has been an assistant teacher in the Pre-K1 classroom at Daarul Uloom for 12 years now, Alhamdulillah. Mrs. Mizyed’s tenor at DU has been an asset to Daarul Uloom.
Her affection for children is what brought Mrs. Mizyed to DU. She loves being around children and watching them grow and flourish into school-age kids. With being the assistant in the Pre-K1 classroom, she feels pleasure in knowing that she is able to play a significant role in establishing a strong foundation for the students of DU.


Cassandra Dixon-Nazzal:  Pre-K2 Teacher

Email: nazzalc@dupeoria.org

Cassandra Dixon-Nazzal was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois. She has been working in the education field since 2001, beginning as a substitute teacher assistant for Peoria School District 150, and then as a daycare teacher, having taught in the various age groups (Toddlers, 2s, 3s, 4s/ 5s classes).

Mrs. Nazzal is currently working on her Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, in shaa Allah, after having taken a break from her schooling.

Mrs. Nazzal reverted to Islam on 30 August 2015, alhamdulillah, and is excited to be active in the Muslim community; she helps out with the Dawah Committee.

Mrs. Nazzal was recently married to Ashraf Nazzal, and she has  3 children; her sons Tyler, a supervisor at Sam’s Club, and  Shann (Nick) , who is in the US Navy; and a daughter, Genesis , an 8th grader at Sterling Middle School.

In her spare time, Mrs. Nazzal enjoys reading, brushing up on her Arabic, working on genealogy, and spending time with her family.


Thuwayba Affifi:  Pre-K2 Assistant Teacher

Email: thuwayba@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Affifi began teaching at Daarul Uloom in 2005. She has taught both in the part-time and full-time capacity.  In addition, she taught Arabic, Quran, and Islamic Studies in the past. Currently, Mrs. Affifi is an assistant teacher for Pre-K2 as well as the Islamic Studies teacher for that class.

Mrs. Affifi’s love for children is what makes her passionate about teaching. She feels that building a strong foundation is the most important part of teaching. It is her belief that the hands-on approach to teaching is the best way for children to learn. She believes that the more experiences children have, the more they will learn. These experiences are what make children more curious and enthusiastic about learning.


Emanne Knefati:  Kindergarten Teacher

Email: knefatie@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Emanne Knefati was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She moved to Peoria very recently with her husband who relocated here for his new job. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in History at the University of Memphis in December 2014. Shortly after, she began her Masters Degree in Elementary Education K-6 and completed her first year. She loves teaching young children; she taught 5-6 year olds for three summers in a row at a summer camp at the Memphis Islamic Center. She also frequently worked as a substitute teacher at the Islamic school in Memphis while she was working on her Masters.

She is very passionate about teaching young children and loves their fun and vibrant energy! She loves the Islamic school environment where she can combine her two biggest passions: teaching and Islam! She truly believes in providing a happy, safe classroom environment for her students where all of the students feel free to share and express themselves. She also believes that learning can and should always be fun for students, especially at such a young age! She looks forward to all of the exciting lessons and fun activities that her students will engage in this year.


Basma Juma:  Kindergarten Assistant & Islamic Studies Teacher

Email:  jumab@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Juma completed her education at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. She joined Daarul Uloom in the 2012-2013 school year as an assistant teacher for Pre-K2; this will now be her fourth year assisting Kindergarten as well as being their Islamic Studies teacher. Before this Mrs. Juma was a part of Noor Al-Huda Sunday School for seven years, teaching Arabic and Quran for the preschool grades as well as being a substitute for the Hafs Program.

Mrs. Juma came to the states 29 years ago with her husband to provide a better education for their kids. She has seven children; so she loves working with kids to help them grow and aspire for big things in life. Her philosophy for teaching is to help her students express themselves and bring their own uniqueness to the class


Amber Fandel: 1st Grade Teacher

Email: fandela@dupeoria.org

Amber Fandel is our first grade teacher at Daarul Uloom for 2017-18 school year. This will be her second year teaching at DU.

Mrs. Fandel enjoys sports, tv, and loves teaching Reading and Math! She grew up in Central Illinois where she completed high school and began attending college. She then transferred to Eureka College, Eureka IL. In December 2015, she graduated with a Bachelors in Elementary Education including social science, physical science, and language arts endorsements.


Robin Mathis: 2nd Grade Teacher

Email:  mathisr@dupeoria.org

Miss Robin E. Mathis comes to DU after 10 years in District 150. She graduated from Bradley University in May, 2005 with a BS in Elementary Education and a minor in science. She has taught K-5 Science, K-4 Language Arts, as well as Kindergarten and First grade. She was also a summer school teacher for several years.

Miss Mathis has two daughters, Amber and Emma.  Amber, 25, is a graduate of Eureka College and is the first grade teacher at DU.  Emma, 15, is starting her second year of high school and is very much looking forward to driver’s ed.

Miss Mathis understands that the partnership between the parents and the teacher is a critical component to the child’s success. She looks forward to meeting the parents and working together to give the children the best education possible.


Saima Adnan: 3rd Grade Teacher

Email:  adnans@dupeoria.org

It is Mrs. Saima Adnan’s belief that the Quran and Sunnah lay extreme importance on knowledge – both acquiring it and then passing it on. She believes our children have natural curiosity and teachers are facilitators. It is a teacher’s responsibility to guide them, and help them achieve their full potential.

Mrs. Adnan joined Daarul Uloom in 2014 as a 3rd Grade teacher. She is excited to work with the 3rd graders again this year. 2017-18 school year marks her 4th year with Daarul Uloom.

Mrs. Adnan received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Karachi University, Pakistan. After coming to USA, she observed the professionalism and passion of the educators. So when she decided to return to school after her children were a little older, she decided to pursue the field of education. She graduated with honors in Spring 2014 with Associates in Science (Elementary Education) from Illinois Central College. As a student teacher, she worked in several schools in the area including Ridgeview Elementary School in Dunlap School District and Quest Academy in Peoria School District 150. She also had the opportunity to observe a 2nd grade teacher at Peoria Academy for a complete semester. In 2015, she along with a few other DU teachers attended a week-long teachers conference in Nevada. That same year, she attended another workshop on reading in East Peoria. She also attended educators’ conference organized by ISNA in 2016. Mrs. Adnan lays a lot of importance on professional development. She attends many webinars organized by other experts in education, and brings what she learns to her class in order to enhance students’ learning experience.

In the past, Mrs. Adnan was an administrator for Islamic Foundation of Peoria Sunday School from 2009-2014. She has been a part of Peoria’s Muslim community for the last 15 years. She is married and has two children. In her free time, she enjoys reading.


Katherine Rhoades:  4th & 5th Grade LA Teacher, 4th Grade Homeroom

Email: rhoadesk@dupeoria.org

Miss Katherine Rhoades is the language arts teacher for fourth and fifth grade. This is her first year at D.U.. Miss Rhoades earned her Bachelor of Science in Education degree at Illinois State University in 2015 with endorsements in Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies. She has worked with students of all ages before coming to D.U., including kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and sixth grade. She is currently working towards a Reading Endorsement, which will provide her with more resources and knowledge that will help all students in her classroom. When not teaching, she enjoys reading and traveling with her family.


Stephanie Ramquist: 6th and 7th Grade Language Arts, 6th & 7th Grade Homeroom Teacher

Email:  ramquists@dupeoria.org

Stephanie Ramquist is DU’s 6th and 7th Grade English Language Arts teacher.  Stephanie began her career as a tax accountant after obtaining a BS in Accountancy and MS in Taxation from the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign.  She practiced as a tax accountant in Northern Virginia before moving to Germany with her husband.

After moving back to the US in 2010, Stephanie worked as a teacher’s aide in a bilingual Spanish-English preschool and volunteered as both a GED and an English as a Second language (ESL) tutor.  She obtained a MA in Teaching English as a Second Language in 2016, completing a portion of her teaching practicum in the DU 8th grade classroom.

Outside of the classroom, Stephanie enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, and spending time with family and friends.  In her mind there is nothing better than sharing a meal with those she loves, especially her husband (Nathan) and two daughters (Elena and Annika).


Alexis Maloof: 8th Grade & HS Language Arts Teacher

Email:  maloofa@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Maloof comes to DU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies and a Master’s Degree in Writing, both from DePaul University. Her Master’s studies concentration was in teaching writing and she has taught at Harold Washington Community College in Chicago and Illinois Central College. She also has experience running and managing writing centers at both DePaul and Illinois Central College.

She believes strongly that writing and reading are skills that can be developed and honed through practice. She is passionate about student-centered teaching and her goal is to get each student to view themselves as a writer and a reader. One of her favorite things is helping students find books they love and that are relevant to their lives. She views literacy as a lifelong skill that is crucial to success in the 21st century.

Mrs. Maloof moved to Peoria 8 years ago from Chicago with her husband. They have a 3-year old son. She is also a published writer and is committed, in her spare time, to community work and interfaith work in the Peoria area.


Laura Stangle: 4th to 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher, HS History Teacher & 8th Grade Homeroom Teacher

Email:  stanglel@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Laura Stangle is in her fourth year at Daarul Uloom and her second year specializing in Social Studies.  Along with Fourth through Eighth Grade, Mrs. Stangle will also be teaching World History and U.S. History at DU High School.  Mrs. Stangle earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University and later continued her education by earning an Elementary Education Certificate from Eureka College.  She has middle school endorsements in Language Arts and Social Studies.  She has also participated in professional development through Quincy University’s “Teaching with Primary Resources” program which is sponsored by the Library of Congress.  Stangle also became an teacher-leader with Quincy University’s program.


Hiba Naffakh:  2nd-8th Grade Math Teacher

Email:  naffakhh@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Naffakh joined in 2008 as Daarul Uloom’s Math teacher. She graduated from Bradley University in 2004 with a BS in Computer Information Systems; however, it was her love for children and teaching that led her to seek a degree in Education at Illinois Central College. Subsequently, she graduated with a master’s degree in Elementary Mathematics Education at the University of Houston-Victoria and Graduated in 2013. She later earned her certification through the state of Illinois.

Mrs. Naffakh has been teaching 2nd through 8th grade Math for ten years. She has such great passion for the subject of Math so much that she enjoys sharing it with her students. She passes this knowledge on to her students in entertaining ways, such as telling stories, singing Math songs, and conducting many hands-on activities.


Rania Maoued: 4th -8th Grade Science Teacher & 5th Grade Homeroom Teacher

Email:  maouedr@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Maoued graduated in 2016 from Western Governors University with a Post-Baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education K-9, and an endorsement in middle school science.  In addition, she graduated in 2008 from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s degree of Science in Human Environmental Sciences, majoring in Human Nutrition.  She also has an associate degree in Medical Technology.

Mrs. Maoued has been teaching for 7 years at Daarul Uloom Islamic School. Outside the Education field, she worked as a medical technologist for 2 years. While attending Oklahoma State University, she worked in the nutrition research lab for one semester.

Mrs. Maoued is passionate about Science and she enjoys both learning and teaching it. When it comes to teaching Science, Mrs. Maoued believes that students will best learn the subject through many hands-on activities. Also, she believes that each student has the potential to succeed and thrive when provided with an accepting and trusting environment. Each student should be treated as an individual with unique learning abilities and requirements.

Mrs. Maoued and her family joined Peoria Muslim Community late 2008. She is happily married and has three little boys (who keep her on her toes); all of them are currently attending Daarul Uloom School. In her little free time, Mrs. Maoued likes to read about nutrition, exercise and go for walks.


Arbidha Babul: 1st-8th Grade & HS Computer Teacher

Email:  babula@dupeoria.org

Arbidha Babul was born and brought up in Mysore,India and has been living in peoria for the past 6 yrs post her marriage to Mohamed Rafiq. She holds an Engineering Degree in Computer Science and worked as Education and Research Engineer at Infosys,Mysore.

She has always enjoyed teaching and has taught all the way from preschoolers to college graduates. She has been a part of IFP Sunday School for over 3 years. She has served DU in different capacities throughout the course of time starting with volunteering then moving onto being a teacher.

She loves reading and always looking to learn something new. She believes in strong educational foundation but in a fun filled way. She is looking forward for a great year, Inshaallah.


May Ghazawna: PreK1-KG Arabic & Quran Teacher

Email:  ghazawnam@dupeoria.org

May Ghazawna is from Palestine and was born in Kuwait and raised in Jordan.  She has lived in the United States for the past 17 years. Education has always been an important component of her life; it’s one of the main reasons why her parents brought her to America. They wanted to see her strive to receive an education that would ensure a successful future. Alhamdulillah, she was fortunate enough to go to school here and receive a high school and college education which has opened many doors for her. Mrs. Ghazawna has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Bradley University and is on her way to a master’s degree in Education.

Mrs. Ghazawna is married to Nashaat Ghazawna, who is an engineer in Caterpillar and has three wonderful children. Her children are students of this promising school, and she wants to continue to contribute to the efforts of helping children receive a good education. Ever since her first child was enrolled in Daarul Uloom, she has volunteered in various activities in the school and was the PTO secretary for a couple of years.

Mrs. Ghazawna is very passionate about teaching Arabic and Quran. She is fluent in Arabic as it is her first language.  She also taught in Daarul Uloom Quran Academy along with her husband for four years.  She taught al nooraniyah method to children and has a very well known knowledge in Tajweed. She is very excited and honored that she will be the first one to instill the love of Arabic and Quran to the children at a young age.


Zabia Mansour:  1st – 5th Grade Arabic & Quran Teacher

Email:  mansourz@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Zabia Mansour has been a member of this community for 16 years. She has an associate degree in architecture and a degree in Sharea (Islamic Study, Seerah, Fiqh, and Tajweed) from Syria. She has 16 years of experience in teaching Arabic and Qur’an in the US. The year 2017-2018 marks Mrs. Mansour’s 7 years as an employee of Daarul Uloom Islamic School. Mrs. Mansour has a great passion for each individual child. She always strives to make her teaching fun by incorporating games and hands on activities.


Ayesha Mahmood: 1st, 2nd, 4th & 5th Grade IS Teacher

Email: mahmooda@dupeoria.org

Ayesha Mahmood is from India but was born and brought up in Saudi Arabia. She then moved to India for higher education and now residence in Peoria for almost 6 years. She has completed Bachelors in Commerce and Accounting and now pursuing Bachelors Degree in Islamic Studies, currently doing ijaza course specializing in subject of Tawheed (Aqeeda). Ayesha has taught in Noor ul Huda sunday school for two years and has been volunteering in ICP and DU school occasionally.

Ayesha Mahmood is married to Shaji Siddiqui and have two daughters. As she comes from different cultural and religious background, she wishes to help not just her family but the Muslim community to set up a safe and positive Islamic environment. She believes Islamic knowledge is most essential for everyone and wants everyone to be successful not just in this world but hereafter. Therefore, she joined Daarul Uloom to help kids not just to learn but appreciate the religion, and to love their Creator and respect the created. Also, she believes success and failure are both part of this life but the way we react to it is the outcome and to get the best outcome is to follow the way of Quran and sunnah. So her ultimate goal is to shape the outcome for the kids.

Apart from learning and teaching deen (religion), she loves playing sports and games. She also enjoys reading, arts, and crafts.


Maha Ahmed:  6th -8th Grade & HS Arabic & Quran Teacher and Islamic Studies Teacher

Email:  ahmedm@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Maha Ahmed is teaching Islamic Studies and Quran/Arabic for middle school and high school this school year.  She holds Bachelor degree in Medicine & Surgery, a Master’s degree in Human Physiology, a teacher certificate in Hafs and Tajweed, and a Certificate in Nooraneyah. Additionally, she comes to Daarul Uloom with four years of past teaching experience, with about 6 months out of those years teaching the same program here at Daarul Uloom.


Hassan Brik: PE Teacher

Email:  brikh@dupeoria.org

Mr. Hassan Brik is beginning his sixth year at Daarul Uloom as a Physical Education Teacher. Mr. Brik believes all of his students are special and posses a wide variety of talent and skills. It is his mission to expose the students to a wide variety of activities, as to encourage them to discover and enhance these skills. As a professional educator, Mr. Brik will present these activities in a positive and professional manner, as to maximize the self-esteem and the self-confidence of his students. As a result of physical education, his students will learn that physical fitness is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not only now, but for the rest of their lives. Mr. Hassan has a great passion into soccer in which he specialize. Outside of DU, Mr. Brik had the opportunity to coach soccer in Morton Premier Soccer Club. Mr. Brik is originally from Morocco and he has been in the United States for seven years now.

Mr. Brik is happily married and recently blessed with a beautiful daughter. He now has 2 daughters, one from his wife previous marriage.


Saba Fatima: MS Girls PE Teacher

Email:  quranacademy.principal@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Saba Fatima has been an active member of the Muslim community in Peoria for twelve years. She is married to Asim Uzzaman and has three children that are currently enrolled in Daarul Uloom. Mrs. Fatima been serving Daarul Uloom Islamic School for the last seven years in various capacities’: from heading the PTO, Assistant Teacher to Kindergarten, teaching Islamic Studies from KG-High School and now as the Middle and High School Girls P.E teacher. She is currently the Principal of Daarul Uloom Quran Academy, which is a full time Hifd’ Program.

As the P.E teacher she will be focusing on the overall benefits of exercise through cardio, strength training, stretching and sports. Instilling sportsmanship through group play is her ultimate goal for the school year.


Anne Fox:  HS Assistant Principal, Teaching and Curriculum Excellence Coordinator, & HS Biology and Chemistry Teacher

Email:  foxa@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Anne Fox has been teaching in the area of science for over 25 years. She has been involved with DU for the last 6 years in teaching High School courses. In 2016, she has become a full time staff member at DU. She is a HS Assistant Principal and will be teaching HS Chemistry and Biology High courses. In addition, Mrs. Fox is a coordinator of teaching and curriculum excellence and is working closely with the administration to further enhance the great education here at DU. She has a Masters in Science Education with a Focus in Literacy and Learning in the Content Area. She loves the aspects of utilizing technology in the classroom to make students more globally connected. She believes everyone has potential to open the gift of learning and strives to find the ways to help others.


Musliyati Mustaffa:  Office Secretary

Email:  du@dupeoria.org

Mrs. Mustaffa graduated from University of Missouri Kansas City in Mathematical Science and received a Master of Science Degree from Illinois State University in Economics in 2002. She worked with Financial Solutions Midwest as an office manager until 2010 before joining Daarul Uloom in 2011 as an assistant teacher. She is currently in her sixth year as the school secretary for Daarul Uloom.

Mrs. Mustaffa brings years of experience in office management from her previous occupation. She is a very organized and diligent person both professionally and personally. With her strong attention to detail and her ability to deal with various situations that require tactfulness and discretion, Mrs. Mustaffa works well with fellow staff members, parents, and students to ensure the day-to-day administrative operations at Daarul Uloom remain smooth and on-time.


Nermeen Farghaly:  Interim Principal

Email:  viceprincipal@dupeoria.org, principal@dupeoria.org

The 2017-2018 school year marks Mrs. Farghaly’s 10th year as an employee of Daarul Uloom Islamic School and 3rd year as an Interim Principal. She started her assignment as DU’s Vice Principal in 2011. Prior to that, Mrs. Farghaly held the position of Pre-K1 teacher for three years.

After completing her BA degree in Education and before residing in the United States in 2000, she worked as a certified teacher for three years teaching English and French languages to elementary, middle and high school students. After residing in the United States, Mrs. Farghaly also acquired more experience in field of education by completing multiple trainings in Early Childhood Education and teaching at various Islamic part-time schools, such as the Saudi Arabia School and Sunday Schools. In addition, in 2014 Mrs. Farghaly successfully completed a leadership training at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Mrs. Farghaly has a great deal of passion for working with students and parents. She works hard at organizing school events and fundraisers, counseling student, working on the ins and outs of running a school, ensuring the students, staff and families have what they need to be part of a safe, intelligent and committed working environment. She is a proud and dedicated employee. She values her relationships with her coworkers and all Daarul Uloom students from whom two are of her own.