Dr. Nia Abdullah has more than sixteen years of experience in education as a private tutor, teacher, department chair, curriculum and data coordinator, assistant principal, and principal. Raised among a family of educators, she is now an advocate for educational equity and relies on research-based best practices to improve organizations, with a focus on distributive leadership and continuous improvement cycles of inquiry.
Dr. Abdullah’s educational background is highlighted by her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Howard University and a doctorate of education from the University of Illinois at Chicago Urban Education Leadership Program. Additionally, her experience as an International Baccalaureate mathematics teacher and department chair has driven her passion for supporting African American and Latinx students to enter and thrive in STEM-related career fields. Further, her time spent growing up on the South Side of Chicago and leading diverse high schools has inspired her devotion for cultivating the social, emotional, and behavioral health of young people, while also supporting them academically.
As a school and district leader, Dr. Abdullah has spearheaded the creation of state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing and pre-engineering labs, dramatically improved the number of students passing college-level advanced placement exams, increased the percentage of students graduating with their peers after freshmen year, and improved numerous climate metrics (e.g., attendance, punctuality, safety and support). She has also served on the Illinois State Board of Education’s Remote Learning Recommendations Committee, one of only eight principals from across the state.