“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.” – Prophet Muhammad (S)

the unity academy

About UAC

Unity Academy of Chicago provides its students with an education that instills a lifelong love for learning and excellence. Our students are taught to view and understand the world through the light of the Glorious Quran and the teachings of our Noble Prophet Muhammad and his pure family. Through a comprehensive curriculum and compassionate environment, Unity Academy equips students with the knowledge, values and mindset they need to contribute to a better world.

A MONTESSORI SCHOOL

Latest Events

Arbaeen2
Arbaeen2
Arbaeen2

UAC Team

Minhaj Arastu

Minhaj Arastu

Principal
Saba Jamshed Haider

Saba Jamshed Haider

Lower Elementary Lead Teacher
Shaheen Qaisar

Shaheen Qaisar

Primary Lead Teacher
Zainab Albaghdadi

Zainab Albaghdadi

Arabic and Quran Teacher

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Contact


  • 485 S Bartlett Rd, Streamwood, IL
  • info@theunityacademy.org
  • (630)793-1301

Ramalah Raza

Role: Administrator

Education: M.A. in International Broadcast Journalism

Certification: Montessori Basics Certificate, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center

Personal information

Ramalah Raza has a broad educational background ranging from Media Studies to Pharmacy. She has made three documentaries about human rights. Ramalah has also been an active member of the Commission on the Status of Women under the United Nations, where she delivered presentations about Iraqi and Pakistani women’s status.

Ramalah has three young children. She believes that children are powerful beings, especially when they have a prepared environment to enhance and explore their young minds. She enjoys working with children and loves to spend time with her family.

Hasna Moukalled

Role: Arabic and Quran Assistant Teacher

Education: B.A. in Arabic Literature, Lebanese University

Certification: Montessori Basics Certificate, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center

Personal information

Hasna has over ten years of experience teaching Arabic and Quran tajweed to primary school students. She believes each student is unique and should be given special attention to build their confidence and character. Hasna has been actively involved in the Baitulilm community as a Sunday School teacher where she helped develop the Arabic curriculum.

Hasna is a mother of four children. In her free time, she enjoys reading, nature photography, gardening, and home décor.

Shaheen Qaisar

Role: Primary Lead Teacher

Education: M.A. in Psychology, Karachi University

Certification: Early Childhood Credential, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center

Personal information

Shaheen Qaisar taught 3–6 year-old children at Montessori Academy of North Hoffman (MANH) for 13 years. She helped children of different ages to hone their Math and English skills at Kumon after-school program. She has nine years of international teaching experience from Pakistan Airforce School, Islamabad.

Her greatest joy in teaching comes from helping students learn how to learn, thus creating lifelong learners.

Shaheen enjoys cooking and eating from a variety of cuisines, reading books, tending to her garden and traveling. She can speak several languages: English, Urdu, Farsi, and a little French. She has a daughter who is married and lives in Boston.

Sajjad Zaidi

Education: B.S. (NED University Karachi), M.S. Mechanical Engineering (Wayne State University)

Personal information

Sajjad Zaidi has been an active member of the Baitul Ilm community since 2006 and has 16 years of experience in Engineering, Business, and Project Management. Br. Sajjad has also been serving as vice principal of Baitul Ilm Sunday School for the past several years.

He and his wife have three children, ages 13, 9 and 2. In his spare time, he enjoys playing cricket, table tennis and traveling with his family.

Sister Mariam Fadel

Speciality: B.S in Finance and J.D. International Comparative Law

Personal information

Sister Mariam Fadel has been an educator for the last 22 years in Saudi Arabia, Namibia, Lebanon, and the United States. Her experience ranges from elementary through middle school. Currently, she is a middle school science and math teacher at Elgin Academy. Mariam organizes many enriching programs for her students in order to broaden their minds in a safe environment. Her community-building initiative continues to be one of her many passions. Another one is cooking gourmet international dinners to share with her friends and family.

Mariam and her husband, Ihab Nasser, have two sons Ali (23) and Adel (19).

Heena Musabji

Education: B.S in Finance (Siena College), J.D. International Comparative Law (DePaul University College of Law)

Personal information

Heena Musabji has been a part of the Baitul Ilm community from the very beginning serving as a volunteer, Sunday school teacher, and board member. Heena has over 15 years of experience as an attorney working in the areas of international human rights, civil rights, immigration and public interest law. She is the co-founder and Director of Development of the Pro Bono Network, a legal aid non-profit that provides civil legal assistance to those in dire need.

Heena is currently on the board of the school District 181 Foundation, and previously served on the board at West Suburban Montessori School. Her children spent over 10 years in the Montessori school environment, and her family is a firm believer in its philosophy. She and her family enjoy cooking, traveling, and spending time outdoors together.

Minhaj Arastu

Role: Principal

Education: B.A. in History, Cornell University

M.A.T. Social Studies, University of South Carolina

Certification: Candidate for the Montessori Leadership and Administration Credential, Seton Montessori Institute

Personal information

Minhaj Arastu is a History teacher by training with 25 years of experience in classroom and leadership roles, in the US and in India. Most recently, Minhaj helped found Focus High School, a group of three schools in Hyderabad that aims to provide International Baccalaureate (IB) education that is accessible to children of all backgrounds.

He was active in the masjid community of Columbia, SC. He published a community directory and helped found a chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Minhaj has two children. He enjoys carpentry, running, and reading.

Jawad Hussain

Education: B.A. (Northwestern University), M.B.A (University of Michigan)

Personal information

Jawad Hussain has over 15 years of experience in financial services and analysis with a focus on credit analysis. He has been part of the Baitul Ilm community since its inception, taught at Baitulilm's weekend Islamic school since 2002 and is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Baitul Ilm Academy.

He and his wife have four children and in his spare time enjoys tennis, reading and community building.

Sister Saba Haider

Speciality: M.A. in English Literature (Punjab University Pakistan)

Education:: Primary Montessori Teacher Certification (Midwest Montessori Teachers Training Center)

Elementary I & II Teacher Certification (Midwest Montessori Teachers Training Center)

Personal information

Sister Saba Haider has worked for 27 years at Montessori Academy of North Hoffman as an assistant teacher for 1 year, lead primary teacher for 5 years, elementary directress for 21 years, along with coordinating the elementary program for six years.

She has conducted parent seminars, served on the steering committee for the school's self-study, organized school events, and served on the American Montessori Society's accreditation team. The Montessori Philosophy has been instilled in her as a child attending Montessori early education and has been a part of who she is ever since. She has been a partner with parents in guiding their children's social, emotional, and educational needs and development.

She has three children and soon-to-be grandmother insha Allah. She enjoys reading, gardening, home decor, and traveling.

Hasnain Jiwani

Education: B.B.A. and Masters in Accounting (University of Texas at Austin)

Personal information

Hasnain Jiwani has over 12 years of experience in M&A consulting and corporate finance. He has been part of the Chicagoland Muslim community for the last several years and has taught at various weekend Islamic schools.

He and his wife have two daughters and in his spare time enjoys cricket, hiking and reading.

Jaffer Syed

Education: B.S. Chemical Engineering (University of Houston), M.B.A (Depaul University)

Personal information

Jaffer Syed has over 25 years of experience in engineering, business and operations management, and has worked in various industries. He has been part of the Baitul Ilm community since 2001 and has taught in its Sunday school in its formative years. He also owned and was lead instructor at a Kumon center.

Br Jaffer and his wife, who is a preschool teacher, have three daughters. He enjoys working on volunteer projects together with his family, playing a variety of sports and travelling.

Abbas Kanji

Education: B.A. (Northwestern University), M.B.A (Harvard University)

Personal information

Abbas Kanji has over 20 years of experience in investment advisory and direct investments with a focus on real estate investments. He has been part of the Baitul Ilm community since its inception and has taught in various weekend Islamic schools across the United States for the past 20 years.

He and his wife have two children and in his spare time enjoys skiing, tennis and travelling.

H.I. Shaykh Amir Mukhtar Faezi

Personal information

Hujjatul Islam Maulana Faezi is a senior theologian and patron of the Unity Academy of Chicago.
Maulana Faezi was the President of the Islamic Theological Seminary of North America at Medina, NY from 1988 to 1998 . Many of his students are now renowned scholars.
He moved to the Chicago area in 1998 with a dream to establish a model Islamic community.
He has organized a knowledge-based community by the name of Baitul Ilm, with the aim of building a seminary, school, and many other institutions to serve the multiple needs of our growing community.
Maulana Faezi is best known for his exemplary discipline, and dynamic and visionary leadership. Maulana Faezi enjoys serving his local community and mentoring young scholars around the world.

Saiyeda Hussain

Role: Lower Elementary Assistant Teacher

Education: B.A. in Economics, University of Chicago

Certification: Montessori Basics Certificate, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center

Personal information

Saiyeda Hussain steps into the classroom as an Assistant Teacher in her second year at Unity Academy of Chicago. During the last 10 years, she has gained valuable teaching experience as a homeschooler and Sunday School teacher. She has helped to organize and assisted in many Baitulilm-sponsored events, such as Muharram workshops, Ramadan summer camps, Sunday School science fairs, and mother-daughter programs. At Unity Academy, she is grateful to be part of a compassionate, belief-centric environment that values a strong work ethic and promotes a joy for learning.

Saiyeda is the mother of 4 children. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, baking, and spending time with her family.

Zainab Albaghdadi

Role: Arabic and Quran Teacher

Education: B.S. in Chemistry for Secondary Education, University of Baghdad

Certification: Candidate for the Early Childhood Credential, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center

Personal information

Zainab has fourteen years of teaching experience and is a certified substitute teacher with the Illinois Board of Education. She was an active member of an Islamic homeschool group in the Chicago area in which she taught classes in various subjects and grades for over seven years. Zainab also taught Arabic and Islamic studies at a local Islamic school for two years. She is an active member of the Baitulilm community and has been a Sunday School teacher for the last 13 years.

Zainab Albaghdadi is a mother of three children. She enjoys gardening, nature walks, and reading.

Fatema Kanji

Role: Primary Assistant Teacher

Education: B.S. in Biology (summa cum laude), University of Massachusetts

Certification: Montessori Paraprofessional Certificate, Seton Montessori Institute

Personal information

Fatema Kanji has over six years of experience as a Montessori assistant teacher working most recently at Rose Hall Montessori and the Montessori Academy of North Hoffman (MANH). She also spent two years as an assistant teacher at River Garden Montessori, an Islamic Montessori school. Prior to teaching in the Montessori environment, Fatema helped establish the Mom & Tot class at Baitulilm Academy. Fatema loves connecting with each child and especially loves watching children make discoveries and grow in their confidence and independence.

She is a mother of two teenage children. Fatema’s hobbies include traveling, reading and spending time with her family.

Saba Jamshed Haider

Role: Lower Elementary Lead Teacher

Education: M.A. in English Literature, Punjab University 1993

Certification: Early Childhood Credential, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center 1997

Elementary I & II Credential, Midwest Montessori Teacher Training Center E1 2002 combined certification Elementary I & II 2018

Personal information

Having attended a primary Montessori school from an early age, Saba Haider was steeped in Montessori philosophy. She worked for 27 years at Montessori Academy of North Hoffman (MANH) as an assistant teacher for one year, lead primary teacher for five years and an elementary teacher for 21 years, along with coordinating the elementary program for six years.

She has conducted parent seminars and workshops on various topics such as:

  • Freedom and Discipline
  • Montessori Philosophy
  • Cosmic Education

She served on the steering committee for the school's self-study and organized school events such as elocution night. She served on the American Montessori Society's accreditation team. Saba has been a partner with parents in guiding their children's social, emotional, and educational needs and development.

Despite years of experience, she believes that learning is an exercise necessary for one’s mind and professional growth regardless of age. For this reason, she strives to expand her Montessori knowledge by attending conferences, staying up to date on the latest research, accumulating continued education credit hours, and being a receptive team member.

Saba has three children and is a grandmother. She enjoys reading, gardening, home decor, and traveling.