JOHN TAYLOR GATTO was a schoolteacher for 30 years, winning several awards in the State of New York for his compassionate insightful, and extraordinary teaching style. Stumbling upon a trail of information that led him to discover the ulterior purpose behind our compulsory educational system, he concluded that schools were in fact dangerous places for children. In protest of what he considered to be a corrupt and incorrigible educational system he gave up his successful and highly acclaimed teaching career and began to speak out about the true purpose behind compulsory schooling. Mr. Gatto is also the author of several books including The Underground History of American Education. To learn more about the work of John Taylor Gatto please visit his website at: www.johntaylorgatto.com.
HAMZA YUSUF was born in Washington State and raised in Northern California. In 1977, he became Muslim and subsequently traveled to the Muslim world and studied in the U. A. E., Saudi Arabia, as well as North and West Africa. He received teaching licenses in various Islamic subjects from several well-known scholars in various countries. After ten years of studies abroad, he returned to the USA and took degrees in Religious Studies and Health Care. He also founded Zaytuna Institute, which was reorganized in 2008 as Zaytuna College, the first accredited Muslim college in the United States. In addition, he has translated into modern English several classical Arabic traditional texts and poems. www.zaytuna.org
ABDAL HAKIM MURAD (Dr. Timothy Winter) is a researcher, writer and teacher. Dr. Winter was educated at Cambridge, Al-Azhar and London universities. He is currently the Shaykh Zayed Lecturer of Islamic Studies at Cambridge University and Director of Studies in Theology at Wolfson College. Dr. Winter has published and contributed to numerous academic works on Islam and is a leading figure in inter-faith activity, notably as one of the signatories to the Common Word statement . He is well-known as a contributor to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’. Dr. Winter resides in Cambridge with his wife and three children.
NABILA HANSON is the founder and director of Kinza Academy. Although she graduated from the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, earning a Master’s degree, she quit her practice after several years so she could stay home with her children. During this period she was introduced to the works of John Taylor Gatto and realized that education had suffered the same fate as medicine. Understanding that her greater calling was in the area of traditional education she began focusing her attention on educating other parents about the benefits of homeschooling. Her time is now dedicated to promoting alternatives to modern schooling with an emphasis on homeschooling and publishing non-textbook curricula that honors the traditional approach to the raising and educating of children. Ms. Hanson resides in Northern California with her two home schooled children.
TROY HANSON received his Baccalaureate degree in English and post-graduate degree in Law, and currently practices law in the San Francisco Bay Area. When he is not practicing law, Mr. Hanson continues his own life-long education in the study of the liberal arts. He has attended many workshops on the “Great Books,” and has discussed such works with some of the most brilliant minds in the country, including that of the late Mortimer Adler, a forerunner in the classical educational movement. He is part of an ongoing study group in the Bay Area, which discusses and attempts to understand the great thinkers of the classic world.
USTADHA SHIREEN AHMED was born and raised in Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. After graduation, she spent three years in Syria, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Tajweed, Hadith, Hanafi Fiqh and Seerah. Subsequently, she spent seven years in Jordan furthering her studies of Arabic and Hanafi Fiqh. During this time, she also worked at SunniPath developing online courses.
FARAZ RABBANI is a researcher and teacher of the Islamic sciences, specializing in Islamic Law. He is the Educational Director of SeekersGuidance, and a partner and legal advisor with StraightWay Ethical Advisory. Shaykh Faraz was raised in Canada and obtained a Bachelor's in Economics & Commerce from the University of Toronto in 1997. Subsequently, he spent ten years studying and teaching Islamic sciences in Damascus, Amman and Karachi under leading Islamic scholars including Shaykh Adib Kallas, Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, Shaykh Muhammad Jumuah, Shaykh Akram Abd al-Wahhab, Shaykh Nuh Keller, and Mufti Mahmud Ashraf Usmani. He currently teaches and lives in Toronto, Canada, with his wife and three "Kinza Academy" homeschooled children. www.seekersguidance.com
NIZAM ALI acts as the financial and marketing adviser for Kinza Academy. He currently serves as the head of Corporate Finance & Planning for ActivIdentity in Silicon Valley, a leader in strong authentication and credential management. He joined the company in early 2009 as part of a new management team hired to turn the company around. He soon introduced culture-transforming discipline and rigor around the way the company views expenses by introducing a formalized, rolling quarterly forecasting process, quarterly operational-review process, and comprehensive management reporting. Mr. Ali resides in San Jose, California with his wife and young son.