Asmaa El Hadad is the ESE paraprofessional who works with severely handicapped students at Sunset Park Elementary School. Debra Turner, assistant principal at the school, said El Hadad greets every single student with a smile and a hug each and every day. Even after working with her for four years, Turner said she has yet to see anything upset or frustrate her. “The students she works with have a wide range of cognitive and physical disabilities that make it difficult for them to manage their emotions,” Turner said. “Her unconditional love and patience allow these students to feel truly safe in her care. Even when a student is having a tantrum, hitting, kicking and screaming, she maintains her unending patience, approaching them with kindness and understanding. Our students, our staff and our community are beyond lucky to have her.”
What brought you to your school?
I started as a substitute teacher and worked at Sunset Park. I loved it and began this position quickly after.
What do you love most about your school?
I love the children, staff and parents. It’s a wonderful community.
What is your motivation?
To see the children happy and growing every day gives me motivation. I especially love the greetings from all the students at the arrival and throughout the day.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is to help the children learn and to support them all the time.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
During my spare time, I love to sit with my kids and enjoy my time with them like watching movies and playing board games with them. Also, I like to work on my small business; I do hand crafts aka Resin.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
My favorite teacher when I was in school was my French teacher. My French teacher was very calm and kind.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
When I was a child, I always wanted to be a teacher, because I love being around children.
What is your favorite children’s book and why?
My favorite children’s book was history about Egypt. I would like to sit and read Egyptian history books all day long during my free time.
What are your hobbies?
I create handmade Resin crafts! Find me on Facebook at “World of Resin.”
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
If I had any superpower, I would want to be able to teleport, because it would make everything so much easier, so I wouldn’t have to drive or go up the stairs all the time.
If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
I like to listen to Arabic music, so the three artists I would choose to listen to for the rest of my life would be Abdlhalem Hafaz, Omklsom and Nagat, because their lyrics really touch your heart.
What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
When I went to school in Egypt, we would purchase our food from a small takeout restaurant outside the school parking lot. They had music, ice cream, soda and many other delicious foods. We had a 30-minute lunch. It was always fun!
What is your favorite holiday and why?
My favorite holiday is Christmas! It is also my birthday.
Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
My best friends in school were Abir and Samha since elementary school. We still see each other when I travel back to Egypt.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I grew up in Cairo, Egypt. I was on the volleyball team at the school.
Do you have an “unsung hero” at your school? If so, please nominate him or her for our Influencer of the Week feature. Nominations can be sent via email to [email protected]