The principal of Les Écoles musulmanes de Montréal, Hedi Khabir, wore many hats throughout the pandemic to make sure students and parents felt safe. He's been described as someone who works tirelessly and kindly for those at his school.
"He's always there," Adnan Al Mhamied told host Sabrina Marandola on CBC Montreal's Let's Go. "He's the first one to open the school. The last one to leave the school."
Al Mhamied's daughter attends Khabir's school. As a parent, Al Mhamied said he deeply appreciated the way Khabir has been leading the school to remain a safe space for kids throughout the pandemic.
"He's always spreading happiness all around the school. You can see these kids happy," said Inshi Saad, another parent of a student at the school.
"Just sharing jokes here and there and trying to always let the kids [be] free, which is great."
According to Al Mhamied and Saad, this kind of happy atmosphere is something Khabir is always trying to maintain.
"It became part of his personality, part of his daily routine. I think he didn't realize how much the kids appreciate this and we as parents," said Al Mhamied.
This kind of routine wasn't exclusive to the pandemic. An administrator at the school, Ara Khan, said it was clear Khabir was very accomplished from the first time they met.
"In all of this, he managed to remain humble," said Khan. "I remember thinking to myself, how truly remarkable, and enduring a quality that is in an individual."
For Khabir, doing his part to help students is something he feels obligated to do.
"Every student is unique. So I try to make a good effort to encourage and support my community here in the school," he said. "I do what I have to do."
That includes sometimes being the school bus driver, too. It's something Khabir even volunteers to do, whether or not the current bus driver is sick. He said this is all a part of the collaborative leadership his school practises.
"Every single person in this school is diligent. And we do this notion, this style of leadership, every student, every teacher, every parent is the leader in the school," said Khabir.
"So, we decide together, this is the secret of our school."
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