#ArabWomenInspire 2021

Corine Elias Raffoul

My name is Corine Elias Raffoul, a mother of two beautiful children. I am a first-generation Lebanese American. I am the proud Principal of Paul L. Dunbar Arts Enrichment Academy in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD). I was born in Cleveland, Ohio to immigrant parents who fled a civil war for safety and opportunities. My mother, Loulou Elias, is my biggest role model and inspiration. As an educator, she has instilled in me the value of serving the families of our Cleveland community. My educational journey began during my first years of college by joining AmeriCorps, 2003-2005. I served as the Youth Coordinator at the Arab American Community Center of Economic and Social Services (AACCESS). There, I helped establish programs to support Arabic speaking youth. I recruited youth in the Cleveland area for after school ESL classes, tutoring programs, and a youth group for scholars to build leadership skills and embrace their Arab American culture. Throughout my childhood, I experienced and observed the struggles of newcomers who were ambitious to succeed but encountered many barriers, one of which being able to fluently communicate in English. Therefore, in 2007, I began my teaching career at CMSD. While teaching, I worked on my master’s at CSU to obtain a TESOL endorsement to help make a difference. My journey continued internationally where I worked abroad in Lebanon implementing teaching methods and strategies to English learners. While in Lebanon, I met my husband of Lebanese Australian origin. In 2013, we moved to Dubai, UAE where I continued following my passion as an educator. In 2015, I was ready to come back home to pursue my career as an educational leader to make a greater impact in my community. Eager to return to the CMSD, I continued servicing English Learners and families. While teaching, I worked on my principal’s license and became a resident principal in CMSD. I now am a principal eager to continue my journey. As an educational leader, I am committed to provide our youth and families with quality education, by providing them the tools and resources needed so they can tell their success story as I am doing today.

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