Leading Through Uncertainty
Julie Allen leads the International Community School, a K-5 public charter school in Decatur, GA, which aims to model for the world what rigorous and holistic education of refugee, immigrant, and local students should be. ICS accomplishes this mission by using the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program. Before leading ICS, Julie served as an assistant principal in Atlanta Public Schools, National Director of Classroom Management and Culture for Teacher of America, and an elementary grades teacher serving predominantly refugee students in Clarkston, Georgia. She earned her master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Georgia State University.
Luma Mufleh is the CEO and Founding Director of Fugees Family, Inc., a nonprofit organization that uses the power of soccer, education, and community to empower refugee children to successfully integrate into the United States. Luma is a 2016 Top 10 CNN Hero whose story has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, ESPN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated, Forbes and more.
A lifelong social entrepreneur, Luma has created several programs and initiatives that have gainfully employed, educated, and empowered refugees and immigrants in her community and beyond, with the Fugees Academy serving as a national model for refugee education. The successful results of Fugees Academy helped earn Luma the 2016 Cournelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the Manhattan Institute. Using the Georgia Fugees Academy as a model, Luma and the Fugees Family have opened up their first expansion school in Columbus, Ohio, with plans for further expansions in the works.
A Jordanian immigrant and Muslim of Syrian descent, Luma received her U.S. citizenship in 2011. Her story – and the story of the Fugees – illustrates both the American dream and the very real challenges of integration and discrimination that so many face today. Luma received her B.A. in Anthropology from Smith College and recently completed the Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurship at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Joe Luft is Executive Director of Internationals Network for Public Schools. As Executive Director, Joe leads a national team of passionate educators and advocates for educational equity for multilingual learners. Joe has spent his career in public education and the nonprofit sector focused on the needs of immigrant and refugee multilingual learners. Joe was the founding principal of the Flushing International High School in Queens, NY and a teacher at the Brooklyn International High School. Joe began his teaching career in the Washington, DC Public Schools. Joe holds a B.A. in History and Hispanic Studies from Connecticut College and a M.A. in TESOL/Secondary Education from The George Washington University. Joe is also a graduate of the New Leaders principal leadership program.
Originally from Ethiopia by way of South Sudan, Babba Jaden worked his way through hundreds of tests and soccer practices to become a part of the Fugees Academy Class of 2016, the first group of students to graduate from the Fugees Academy. He is currently a CIT major in his junior year at Elms College in Chicopee, MA. Babba is a member of the Elms College Men's Soccer Team.
Originally from Afghanistan, Wahid Khaleqdad started at Fugees Academy in the sixth grade. Wahid graduated from Fugees Academy class of 2017 and is now a sophomore at Elms College. Wahid served as a member of AmeriCorps and assisted Fugees Academy in their after-school tutoring program. Wahid is a member of the Elms College Men's Soccer Team.