September Meet Our Team: Hayat Karimi, Paraprofessional

September 28, 2020

Hayat Karimi is a long way from where she grew up. Her family left their war-torn home country in 2003. Now a paraprofessional at Moorhead Area Public Schools, her path to learning English, obtaining her GED and becoming a part of the Spud team and a business owner are nothing short of inspirational.

Seventeen years ago, Hayat and her husband left Iran. They left their friends, neighbors and relatives and everything that was familiar, unsure of where the road ahead of them led. She was nervous. Hayat did not speak any English, but she knew this would be a safer life for her family. After living in Turkey for two years, the Karimi family arrived in the United States and settled in Moorhead.

Determined to succeed, she immediately enrolled in the Adult Basic Education program when she arrived in Moorhead to help her learn English. Adult Basic Education is a program of Moorhead Community Education that offers learning opportunities for anyone age 17 or older who is not presently enrolled in a secondary school. 

"The steadfast dedication that Hayat brought to the Adult Education classroom is the key to her academic success thus far. She persevered through increasingly complex materials with unwavering determination. Hayat is an inspiration to the ABE students who balance personal, professional and academic goals while enrolled in ABE programming,” says Tammy Schatz, ABE Program Manager.

Hayat remembers how difficult it was to learn English. “When I started school, I didn’t understand anything. I would go home after a tough day crying and not wanting to go back.” But she persevered through the help of supportive instructors who used visual cues to help learn words and form sentences.

“Originally, I only wanted to learn English, but after I was satisfied with my speaking ability, I decided to obtain my GED with hopes to go to college,” Hayat says.

Hayat now works for Moorhead Area Public Schools as a paraprofessional. Initially joining the team in 2015 as a lunchroom supervisor, she was a paraprofessional substitute before applying for her current position. “I love working with kids and being able to help improve my family’s life,” she says. In addition to her work at Moorhead Area Public Schools, Hayat and her family own Newroz Kebab, a Kurdish restaurant in Moorhead. 

“Hayat is a valued member of our Early Learning team at Probstfield Center for Education. Her patience and awareness of children, as well as her collaboration with our staff is evident both in the classroom and among her relationships with staff,” says Ashley Nelson, Early Childhood Program Manager.

Hayat’s life experience and background adds to the beauty of the diverse Moorhead Area Public Schools team. Her students and colleagues are inspired by her perseverance, hard work and positive spirit, which shine through in her work each day. Her journey of continuous growth, learning and achievement embody the Spud mission and make Hayat an important part of the Spud family.