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Shadia Salem Excited in New Role as Director of English Learning

Shadia Salem grew up in Naperville the middle child wedged between two brothers. Life was good growing up with lots of friends who loved playing sports and riding bikes.

“I had a normal childhood,” said Mrs. Salem, who is the new Director of English Learning in North Palos School District 117. “We explored the woods, played basketball and rollerbladed.”

She said she knew early in life what she was meant to do with the rest of her life.

“I was destined to be a teacher,” Mrs. Salem said. “My mom was a preschool teacher and I would accompany her to school whenever I could.

“I was always reading books to my brothers and playing school as a little girl,” she said. “That’s all I wanted to do.”

After graduating from Naperville Central High School, Mrs. Salem took her goals and dreams to the University of Illinois at Champaign. Her first job out of college was as a first-grade Arabic bilingual teacher at Dorn, where she spent four years.

Mrs. Salem spent the next year as a second- through fourth-grade Arabic bilingual teacher at Oak Ridge School. She spent the next two years as a Technology Instruction Coordinator at Dorn and Sorrick schools where she helped merge technology to support curriculum.

“I’ve always loved the art of teaching and impacting student learning,” she said. “I love coming up with strategies to ignite learning in a student. I love to see a child when he/she has that “ah ha” moment.”

Mrs. Salem said what she enjoys most about serving as Director of English Learning is “coming up with creative ways to make curriculum accessible to students who come from diverse backgrounds.” Nearly 1,100 of the district's 3,500 are English Learners. The top three languages spoken by those English Learners are Arabic, Polish and Spanish.

“I love working with different people from different backgrounds to problem-solve and brainstorm to help meet student needs,” she said. “A lot of the people I’m working with now are the same ones I’ve worked with in the past and they inspire me.”

Mrs. Salem and her husband Munther, a dentist, recently celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary. The Homer Glen couple recently welcomed their first child, a daughter named Joud (pronounced Jude), who is five months old.

The couple enjoy traveling and have visited such destinations as Hawaii, Jerusalem, Dominican Republic and California.

Shadia Salem