Meet Our Board
Crescent Academy International benefits from the vision and guidance of an esteemed board of directors, composed of prominent, dedicated community leaders across multiple professions who share a passion for the Crescent community.
Our board includes a core group of Muslim academicians, doctors, engineers, attorneys, social scientists and others who conceived the vision and were actively involved in the founding of the Michigan Education Council (MEC), which established Crescent Academy International in 1991. Most of our trustees and directors proudly have children or grandchildren that attend Crescent. Our board members play a significant role in continuously expanding Crescent’s resources and sustaining the school’s reputation for excellence as an Islamic-focused school.
Abdul Hafeez, M.D.
Dr. Hafeez has been a practicing psychiatrist in metro Detroit for more than 40 years. He is one of the founding pioneers of the Muslim Community of Western Suburbs (MCWS) and a co-founder of Crescent Academy International and the Muslim Enrichment Project (MEP). He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the MEP, an organization dedicated to serving the religious educational needs of new Muslims. Dr. Hafeez has dedicated most of his life to serving the community through many organizations and community-driven projects focused on preserving Muslim identity and supporting Islamic education for future generations.
Mahmood Hai, M.D.
Dr. Hai is a prominent urologist and a founding member of the Michigan Education Council (MEC), which started Crescent Academy International. He is also a founder of Affiliates in Urology and the Surgical Institute of Michigan. As a visiting professor, he has trained more than 1,000 urologists at universities around the world. Dr. Hai has earned many honors for his philanthropic and professional contributions, and his work has been widely published in medical journals and books. He attended Prince of Wales Medical College and has a master’s degree in surgery from Patna University. He completed his residency at Wayne State University in Detroit.
M. Masood Rab
Mr. Rab has been a respected leader in his professional engineering career in nuclear and other projects for more than 35 years. He was heavily involved in the vision of developing an alternative to the public school system for Muslim community children. This vision became a lifelong personal passion and commitment -- from structural facility development to the operation and management. The result – Michigan Education Council and Crescent Academy International -- is seen today in the hundreds of Islamically trained children excelling in science, mathematics and language arts, and in the many successful alumni who are giving back to their communities and society. Mr. Rab has continued to contribute resources to Crescent for more than 30 years.
Mesut Duran, Ph.D
Dr. Duran is a university professor whose teaching and research focus on technology and teacher education. He has been actively involved with Crescent Academy International since moving to Canton in 2000; his three children attended Crescent and his wife, Nurcan, is the daycare teacher and director at the school. Before becoming a trustee in 2011, he served on the school’s board of directors for seven years. A frequently published author of technology/teacher education articles, he formerly chaired the school’s technology committee. Dr. Duran is a professor at the College of Education, Health, and Human Services, University of Michigan-Dearborn. He has a B.A. from Hacettepe University in Turkey, and two degrees from Ohio University: a master’s in microcomputer applications in education, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.
Mr. Hai is managing director at CIG Capital Advisors in Canton, Michigan. His nearly 20 years of experience in management consulting and investment banking include serving as chief operating officer of PCSI and as a consultant with Accenture. He is a longtime advisor to the Michigan Education Council (MEC) and Crescent Academy International. An MEC board member since 2007, he has been actively involved in several key Crescent projects, including overseeing the operating budget, advising on a $7 million facility expansion, and coordinating fundraising. He also serves on the boards of the Canton Community Foundation and the Whitestone Foundation, which he co-founded. He received a B.A. in economics from the University of Michigan, where he was a board member/treasurer of the Muslim Students’ Association. He earned an MBA from U of M’s Ross School of Business.
Iltefat Hamzavi, M.D.
Dr. Hamzavi is a physician and founding board member emeritus of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). He is also on the Michigan and national boards of Emgage, which works to increase American Muslim civic engagement in the American voting process. He also serves on the Michigan Muslim Community Council board. He is a managing partner at Hamzavi Dermatology and an active researcher at Henry Ford Hospital with nearly 200 peer-reviewed publications and multiple national awards. Dr. Hamzavi has served on the Crescent International Academy board since 2004; his three children attended Crescent. He and his wife Jabeen supported the initial building of Crescent as college students and the subsequent expansion as board members. He has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Michigan and a medical degree from the U of M Medical School.
Pembe Yarsarlar, executive director
Ms. Yasarlar is a respected educational leader who has had a profound influence on Crescent Academy International as a teacher, principal and administrator for more than two decades. As executive director of Crescent since 2010, she has overseen the growth of Crescent’s curriculum, facilities and national reputation. Ms. Yasarlar also sits on the board of the Institute for Learning and Development, proprietor of The Tarbiyah Project ©. Her academic credentials include B.S. from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, teaching certification from the U of M School of Education, a master’s in Education from U of M’s Rackham Graduate School, and in progress is a doctorate in Education.
president and treasurer
Mr. Hafeez is an attorney and entrepreneur with 15 years of experience in legal services and technology. He is co-founder and president of Canton, Michigan-based LegalEase Solutions, which provides legal support services to in-house legal and compliance teams and law firms. He also leads The LawStore, an online marketplace providing various services for attorneys. He has practiced corporate, commercial real estate, health care and criminal law in the private sector and as an assistant attorney general for Michigan. Mr. Hafeez has served on the board of Crescent Academy International for the past 10 years. He earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School, and has a B.A. in political science and Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan.
Ms. Kamal is senior manager, communications, at Visteon Corp., a $3 billion global automotive electronics provider in Van Buren Township, Michigan. Working closely with the CEO, she oversees strategic communications including social media, website and internal communications. She has more than 20 years of design, marketing and communications experience at automotive and technology companies, and has been vice president of the Michigan Education Council (MEC) board since 2019. Active in community and educational events and charitable causes, she is an organizer of the annual Detroit Fasting 5K. She has a fine arts degree in graphic design and illustration from California State University, Fullerton.
Liaqat Ali, M.D.
Dr. Ali is a physician in Monroe, Michigan. He serves on the board of the American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP) and on two committees of the American Academy of Dermatology. He has written more than 40 articles in prominent medical journals, contributed to textbooks, and speaks nationally on melanoma management. Active in the academic community, he serves on the clinical faculty at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. He did his residency training at SUNY Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Center in New York. He studied and trained in hematology and cutaneous lymphoma at Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and did further training at Penn State University. He also obtained specialized training at Cornell University and New York’s Memorial-Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Ayaz Khan, OD
Dr. Khan is an optometry specialist in Dearborn, Michigan, with more than 26 years of diverse experience. He has long supported the Crescent community and its desire to be a national leader in Islamic education. Two of his children attended Crescent starting in preschool. In his professional practice, Dr. Khan cooperates with many other doctors and specialists as part of a major medical group. He focuses primarily on specialty contact lenses, evaluating for eye disease such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, and performing diabetic eye health exams. He graduated from Illinois College Of Optometry at Chicago. His wife, Ghazala, also is an optometrist.