About Us2018-04-12T09:23:33+00:00

Our Vision

Prairie Academy aspires to be a premier private school in the city of Chicago that instills a natural love of learning and inspires children to become compassionate, competitive global citizens.

Our Mission

Prairie Academy is committed to developing individuals that are compassionate, curious, and confident global citizens. Our small, nurturing environment supports a solid academic foundation with an emphasis on treating children as responsible and capable learners in an environment that promotes independence, creativity, strong character, and spiritual awareness.

Board of Directors

Mrs. Nedaa Alwawi
Mrs. Nedaa AlwawiBoard of Director
Nedaa Alwawi earned her Bachelor’s in Secondary Education from DePaul University and her Master’s in Educational Leadership from North Park University. She is an Illinois licensed principal and a certified teacher evaluator. In the past, Nedaa has served as a teacher consultant for Chicago’s Board of Education. In addition to being a classroom teacher for over ten years, Nedaa served as department chairperson in one of the top performing Chicago public schools.
Mrs. Farah Hatia
Mrs. Farah Hatia Board of Director
Farah Hatia grew up in Chicago, IL. She earned her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and a Master’s in Business Administration from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. She spent 8 years as an investment consultant in New York City and has extensive experience managing teams. Farah is passionate about education and has spent countless hours researching and documenting education methodologies that would inspire children to explore, experiment, and help children thrive both intellectually and emotionally. Her passion drove her to a decision to opt her children out of traditional schools and explore alternative methods of teachings that would instill the love of learning in a holistic environment grounded in universal Islamic principles.


Ms. Liz MithaHead Kindergarten and 1st Grade Teacher
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 a member of the Prairie community.
Ms. Funda Senyuz
Ms. Funda SenyuzHead Pre-School and Jr. Kg Teacher
Funda Senyuz 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 15+ years in a variety of educational settings. She currently 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.
Mr. Ali Ottman
Mr. Ali OttmanKindergarten and 1st Grade Teacher Co-Teacher and Arabic/Quran Teacher
Ali is a graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago where he obtained a Master’s of Education in Instructional Leadership. He has a background in science education and in the past year started teaching Islamic and Qur’an studies. When it comes to education, Ali feels strongly about using the educational institution as a space for community-building to flourish between faculty, students and their families, and the surrounding neighborhood. According to Ali, by fostering a tight-knit school community this allows for learning to take place beyond the curriculum and instill strong values in our children, such as team building, good character, and serving others. He is excited to be a part of the Prairie Academy family where he feels is a great place for him and his educational philosophy! Fun Fact: Ali received a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology (science of human movement) and, along with teaching, has a passion for wellness and fitness! When it comes to sports, recreation, or just getting his body moving, he is always up for fun activities and burning calories. Ali enjoys outdoor activities such as biking, kayaking, and beach volleyball during the sunny seasons and loves to ski when it gets cold out.
Ms Shadya Hassan Arabic/Quran Teacher’s Assistant
Shadya has an associate degree in Arabic teaching.  She also has an associate degree in education and early childhood from Moraine Valley. She has taught Arabic and Islamic studies in many Islamic schools for 15 years. In addition, she taught in the summer and weekend Islamic schools as well such as Al-Azhar in Barrington, Al-Israa school in Bridgeview and Madrasat Al-Alamiah also in Bridgeview. She has also composed Arabic books suitable to elementary students’ needs. She is currently working on getting my Islamic studies degree at the American Islamic College in Chicago. Aside from her Arabic and Islamic studies education, she also has a background knowledge and experience in the healthcare field such as being certified as a CNA and phlebotomy and CPR.
Mrs. Iris Colon
Mrs. Iris ColonTeacher Assistant and Bus Supervisor
Iris has several years of experience working in Day Cares. She has been with Prairie Academy since day one and loves every minute of it! She loves Prairie students as her own and looks forward to beginning the new year with the team and students. During her free time she enjoys spending time with family and friends and loves baking!
Mrs. Ayesha Kazi
Mrs. Ayesha KaziSocial-Emotional Coach, Counselor
Ayesha Kazi earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from North Carolina State University and her Master’s in School Counseling from DePaul University. She is also an Illinois certified Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). Having worked within schools in various capacities for twelve years, she has had the honor of serving students from every age group. In addition to teaching and counseling, Ayesha takes great pride in being a mother, an outdoor explorer, and a lover of all things Southern.