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Islamic Studies, Arabic, and Quran


Shaheed Coovadia is a part time teacher for Islamic Studies and a counselor at LUA. He is also currently the Imam of Masjid Bilal bin Rabah in Lexington, Kentucky. He moved to Kentucky from central Virginia and is a devoted husband and a loving father of four. 


Imam Shaheed has a PhD in Arabic Literature from the University of Manchester in England and an undergraduate degree in Arabic and Islamic Studies from the Islamic University of Medina, Saudi Arabia. He has been a community leader, imam and instructor for about 30 years at different institutes and teaching various levels, including at colleges.


Brother Shaheed loves new challenges and being engaged with the larger community and the youth. He enjoys reading, poetry and loves the outdoors, in particular sports, hiking and sightseeing.

Ustatha Omaima Alamawi has been the middle and elementary school Quran, Arabic and Islamic Studies teacher at the Lexington Universal Academy since 2008. In 2002, she received the Tajweed Licience certification from the Muslim World League Association in Riwaya of Hafs an Asem an Al-Shatibiya. In 2007, Ustatha Omaima successfully completed Al-Qaidah An-Nooraneyah Program. And in 2013, she became a certified teacher of Al-Qaida An-Nooranyyah. "I'm honored to be given the opportunity to teach our children at LUA to perfect the recitations of Allah's Holy book, AL-Quran AL Kareem, so they can be of the Quran carriers In sha' Allah. With Allah's support I have been able to encourage my students to memorize several Ajza' of the Quran.

Ustatha Fathia Shalash is an Arabic,Islamic Studies, and Quran Teacher at Lexington Universal Academy. I was born and raised in Kuwait, where I received my high school degree. then attended Islamic community college in Jordan, majoring in Mathematics, as well as receiving a

certificate in Islamic studies and Tajweed. Then I moved with my family to Palestine where I became a kindergarten teacher for two years. Then I moved to America in 1996, I worked at Lexington weekend Islamic school for a year. Allah (swt) blessed me with four kids, all of whom have attended and graduated from LUA. In 2010 I was hired as a special needs educator with FCPS. After completing a year I was hired at LUA as an assistant teacher for kindergarten class. This is the 11th year teaching Arabic, Quran, andIslamic Studies at LUA. "For me LUA is my Home. I love Teaching children and helping them apply Islamic values in their lives. Alhamdulillah.


Ustatha Monawar Meriden has been working as a Quran and Arabic teacher for about 20 years. She has a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Damascus, Syria. In 2001, Alhumdulillah, she was honored to receive the Tajweed License certificate from Damascus, by the certified reciter, Muhiddin Al-Kurdi in Riwaya of Hafs an Asim an Al-Shatibiya. 

She has been blessed to be given the opportunity to teach Quran and Arabic for Pre-k4, Elementary, and Middle School in Damascus for more than 13 years.For two years, she volunteered as a Quran teacher at Masjid Bilal’s Sunday School in Lexington KY. Since 2017, she has been blessed to have been given the opportunity to have spent six years at Lexington Universal Academy (LUA), as a Quran and Arabic resource teacher.

Alhamdulillah, in 2020, she earned the Al-Qaidah An-Nouraniyah certificate from Furqan Group for Education & IT, and she has been teaching this technique for three years. Since 2020, she has been working with Beam Academy, as an online Quran and Al-Qaidah An-Nouraniyah teacher.

"During my journey in teaching Quran and Arabic, I believe that teaching our children Quran and Arabic is a very essential aspect to keep them on the right track InshAllah. With Allah's support and guidance, this year I will do my best to work with the children to achieve our goal in the LUA."


Alssalamu Alykum,

My name is Asmaa Kafafi.

In shaaAllah I will be teaching Arabic for the elementary grades Prek- 4th this year. I am originally from Egypt. I graduated from Faculty of Arts, Mansoura University in Egypt in 2002. My husband and I moved to the United States in 2002 so that he can complete his PhD at the University of Louisville. Afterwards, we moved to Lexington in 2005. Currently, I have four children Momen, Karim, Hadi and Maryam.

I worked at LUA as a substitute teacher for 3 years. Then I worked as assistant teacher for 2 years. I have been volunteering at Masjid Bilal Sunday School for 10 years as Arabic, Quran, and Islamic studies teacher.

I love going shopping and making crafts. One of my favorite stores is Hobby Lobby. In addition, I enjoy teaching and working with children.

I am glad to be part of LUA team this year!

Pre - K


Ustatha Islam Al Burai is the homeroom Teacher for PreK-3 at Lexington Universal Academy.  She has a bachelor's degree in Education. Previously, she has worked as an ESL teacher in Saudi Arabia and then as a substitute teacher at LUA. For the last few years, she has been working with Fayette County Public School as an assistant teacher for special education. Ustatha Islam grew up in Gaza, Palestine then moved to Puerto Rico (where she studied at The American University as a Special Education Teacher), and then moved to Lexington, Kentucky. She has two children, my son graduated from LUA and my daughter is still attending.  “I am looking forward to working with your child to help them reach their maximum education and apply the Islamic Values to their everyday teachings. I will continue to contact you through Parent square and send daily reports. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.”


Ustatha Amani Shalash has been a teacher at LUA since 2021. She is a proud alumnus of LUA and was a part of the first graduating kindergarten class. She received her bachelors in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education and International Studies from the University of Kentucky. While not teaching, she enjoys traveling to new cities, going to the gym, and spending time with family. Ustatha Amani is a proud Lexington native and is active in the local Muslim community. She enjoys being able to give back to the community that helped shape her as a child.



Sarah Ramos is originally from Tacoma, Washington.  She joins Lexington Universal Academy for the 2023-24 school year, as the new kindergarten teacher.  Previously, she spent 20 years in health and human services working for and alongside persons with disabilities before pursuing a second career as an educator.  Ms. Ramos received her B.S. in Sociology from Campbellsville University and B.F.A. in Photography from the Art Institute of Seattle.  Currently, she is attending the University of the Cumberlands, Masters of Arts in Teaching, Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education K-5th.  She is excited to join such a vibrant and growing community.


Ella Ghoneim is a dedicated and passionate first year teacher who is excited to embark on her teaching journey. Ella graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2022 and taught middle school science last Fall. Having completed her primary education at Lexington Universal Academy, from kindergarten through eighth grade, and then continuing at Tates Creek High School, Ella possesses a deep understanding of the local educational landscape. With a strong belief in the importance of socioemotional learning, her teaching philosophy focuses on nurturing students' emotional well-being while fostering their academic growth.


Ustatha Hanan Abdeldayem is the 2nd grade teacher at Lexington Universal Academy. Hanan is from Canton, Michigan and graduated with her bachelors in Elementary Education from Eastern Michigan University. She has taught for 3 years (2nd grade and kindergarten) in Michigan, and was highly involved in the Islamic community. She volunteered her extra time in an Islamic Sunday school. Hanan recently moved to Lexington summer of 2022 and is excited to teach at LUA. She enjoys teaching young students for the “light bulb” moment in the classroom , and being able to bring Islam into her teaching style within the classroom. 

Ustatha Saphia Isa is the third grade teacher at Lexington Universal Academy. She joined the LUA family in 2012. Ustatha Saphia is a proud mother of four children, two of whom are graduates of LUA. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and has worked in different school systems intermittently throughout Chicago and Lexington since 1996. Ms. Isa taught second grade for five years and is currently in her seventh year teaching third grade. Being raised in Lexington, in the public school system, she has a deep appreciation for Islamic education. She has traveled throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Europe and enjoys sharing her worldly experiences with her students. She feels a great responsibility in teaching and aspires to serve as an American-Muslim role model to the future Muslim ummah.

Nadia Shalash has been a teacher at LUA since 2003. Ust.Nadia was born and raised in Lexington. She has three kids and a cat. She received her Bachelor's of Science degree from The University of Kentucky. She also received her Teaching certification KG-5 from Kentucky State University. Later Ustatha Nadia obtained her Masters' Degree as a Teacher Leader with an Endorsement in English Second Language. Ustatha Nadia's three children all graduated from LUA. Ustatha Nadia loves LUA and has dedicated the past 19 years working as a teacher. She has taught first,second, third and fourth grade throughout the years and is now teaching fifth grade. She has a sincere passion for teaching and loves to work with children.

Middle School


I am a native of Lexington, Kentucky, but lived away for a bit.  I returned to Lexington to graduate from Bryan Station High School and the University of Kentucky.  I received my BA in History with a minor in Arabic and Islamic Studies.  I received a MA in Secondary Social Studies Education.  I began working at Lexington Universal Academy in the fall of 2007 as an emergency substitute.  I went to study for my Master's and returned to work as the 5th grade homeroom teacher for one year and then as the Middle School Social Studies teacher until the present.


I became Muslim in 2006 during my first year of University.  I am married with three children, all who attend LUA. 

Ustatha Shazia Anjum is LUA’s new middle school science teacher. She has a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery from Pakistan, as well as a Masters in Public Health from Washington University in St. Louis. Her mission is to foster curiosity and a love of science in her students by showing them the beauty of Islam and the natural world.

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