Adnan Aabed was working as an English language teacher at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees in a Near East school when he met a BYU alumnus who told him about the educational leadership program at the McKay School. He was encouraged to apply, which he did, and he graduated with a PhD in 2006.
He became principal at Iqra Academy of Utah, an Islamic school, before moving to Michigan. Unable to return to the Gaza Strip, he is serving the Arab American population as principal of Oakland International Academy in Detroit. Dr. Aabed was named Administrator of the Year in 2009, and his school was selected as the Distinguished Title I School in Michigan the same year. Adnan and his wife, Siham, are the parents of four children.