top of page

About the Book


Leading While Muslim was a labor of love, it took a lot of work and research to illustrate the untold lived experiences of American Muslim principals. For this research-based book to become a reality, the author traveled nationally to interview 14 American Muslim principals on their lived experiences post 9/11. Due to the limited empirical research on American-Muslim principals in the U.S. public school system, the author reviewed literature on the experiences of other religious minorities who experienced hardship in their early days in the United States. Featured in this book are the Catholic and Jewish experiences as a foundational start to explore the experiences of Muslim principals in the United States.

Leading While Muslim examines the lived experiences of American Muslim principals to determine whether global events, political discourse, and the media coverage of Islam and Muslims post 9/11 have affected their leadership and spirituality. This book is intended to help readers to gain an understanding of the adversities that American Muslim principals have experienced post-9/11 and how to address these adversities, particularly through decisions about educational policy and district leadership.


In this book, you will read moments of triumph and moments of defeat that stem from microaggressions and overt racism and bigotry.  You will laugh and cry with each principal as they share personal accounts as school leaders who just want to be the best school leaders ever, but every now and they are reminded they are the “other” and feel defeated.

About the Author


Debbie Almontaser was the founding and former principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy in Brooklyn, New York the first Arabic Dual Language public school in the United States. A 25-year veteran of the NYC Public School System, she taught and served as a director in special education and inclusion, trained teachers in literacy, and served as a multicultural specialist and diversity adviser. Currently she is the Founder and CEO of Bridging Cultures Group Inc and a Professor at the College of Staten Island’s School of Education in the Post Master's Advanced Certificate Program for Leadership in Education. Dr. Almontaser was a featured speaker at the 2016 National Democratic Convention and has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and profiled in Time Magazine, Newsweek and Daily News.

bottom of page