Alia has taken a very untraditional path to the classroom. Being raised in California, as a mixed-Syrian/Italian person who is outside of the gender binary, Alia has always been passionate about learning; whether learning a language, a new subject, or starting community-based projects. Growing up under the shadow of the Iraq War and seeing her own family be displaced through war drove Alia into community work at a young age. In college, she was able to stretch her wings by writing for a political newspaper, joining various organizing groups, and falling in love with direct actions. In 2007, she took her passions to Oakland where she volunteered at a local needle exchange, the People’s Grocery, and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.
After living in Syria for a year with family, upon coming back to the Bay she felt the drive to start a career. Alia then spent two years teaching after-school program through Americorps, and ended up staying in that elementary school for an additional year in after-school program. It is through this experience that she was inspired to extend her impact on young people by going into a credentialing program. In 2012, she took over a 2nd grade bilingual (Spanish) classroom at that same school after a colleague had passed away. In 2013, she decided to challenge herself even more and took the leap from teaching in an elementary school, to teaching at a middle school.
Ms. Ghabra has been a foundational teacher at Alliance Academy public middle school in Deep East Oakland for 4 years now. Although the school and community see much fluctuation with teachers, Ms. Ghabra has been extremely committed and an invaluable member of the community. She has taken it upon herself to join a Maker’s Empowerment fellowship this year, in addition to having many leadership positions on campus (History Department Lead, Instructional Leadership Team, and Data and Technology Lead). Alia has also been trained in Arts and Technology Integration and it currently working with the Alameda County Office of Education to bring more arts-based projects to her students. Students of color coming from majority-working class neighborhoods are often not given the opportunities in school to explore, make, and experiment – Alia is hoping to shift that reality at Alliance Academy.
If nominated for the CSN All-Star Teacher award, the $20,000 will be used to bring to fruition some classroom re-design ideas, grow our maker’s space, and provide technology for our students.