Sabir Sets Out

Seven Year Upper School Spanish Teacher Leaves Parker


“Those are some big shoes to fill,” Upper School Spanish teacher Julia Garner said. The zapatos grandes in question belong to departing Upper School Spanish teacher, Yadiner Sabir, who has spent the past seven years at Parker. In addition to being a teacher, she has been an advisor, senior grade head, founder of two affinity groups, and a graduation speaker. At the end of this school year, Sabir will be leaving Parker to pursue other opportunities and take her talents and skills to new environments.

She does not yet have her next job chosen, but she plans on bringing the skills she has gained in her years teaching so far to a new educational organization. “You can’t grow without seeking change,” Sabir said.

“I’m also looking for a community more diverse to a certain extent,” Sabir said. She would like to continue to teach at her next job, with hopes of eventually assuming an administrative leadership position at another institution.

After Sabir received her master’s degree in communications from New Mexico State University, she moved to North Carolina with her husband, who was pursuing his graduate degree. She started teaching at the college level and became a Spanish lecturer at North Carolina State University. Sabir continued to teach college classes when her family moved to Puerto Rico, this time teaching English.

When her family returned to North Carolina, Sabir became an Upper School Spanish teacher at Cary Academy in Cary, North Carolina, while also being their cultural exchange coordinator. Her family moved to Chicago in 2015, deciding to raise her then middle schooler and three-year-old children in a city with relatives. Parker came up as Sabir was searching for schools in Chicago and she decided to apply for a position.

“I have had the opportunity to grow a lot as a teacher at Parker and at my former school,” Sabir said. She explained that Cary Academy was a very new school with founding faculty who had more control over which courses they taught. Upon coming to Parker, Sabir was able to teach advanced courses and classes with focuses on Spanish literature.

At Parker, Sabir has also worked on developing language curriculum and aligning it across grade levels to ensure each level of Spanish builds on the previous class. She says that this work utilized her skills gained from working at Cary Academy and at the college level.

In conjunction with Upper School Spanish teacher Julia Garner, Sabir worked on opening up the curriculum to include more cultures. “Spanish Four used to be about Spanish Civilization and we talked about Spain,” Sabir said. “We still talk about Spain, but we’re giving voice to the marginalized populations.” Marginalized populations include Sepharic Jews, Spanish Romani, and the history of Muslim Spain.

Sabir’s students are grateful for her teaching style and dedication. “You can tell that she cares a lot about students actually understanding the material,” sophomore Ella Currie said.

After having great experiences connecting with students outside of the classroom as the cultural exchange coordinator at Cary Academy, Sabir wanted to find other community based opportunities at Parker. This urged her to apply to be a senior grade head and start multiple affinity groups at Parker. 

“I like to immerse myself in the life of the school or the life of the department,” she said. “It allows me to amplify other voices that I might not have in the classroom.”

Roughly six years ago, Sabir began the Latin American Students Organization (LASO) at Parker and served as their faculty sponsor for several years. Sabir also also assisted in the creation of the Muslim Students Alliance (MSA) and served as their faculty sponsor.

According to MSA head and junior Rania Jones, Sabir will be missed by the organization. Jones said that there are currently no other Muslim teachers in the Upper School.

The graduating Class of 2022 chose Sabir as their graduation speaker.. “I’m very honored and I look forward to sharing with them a reflection and advice about life on graduation day,” Sabir said. Garner stated that Sabir’s selection by the Class of 2022 is especially significant because it is “very very very rare” for the speaker to be from the foreign languages department.

Sabir has also been a member of the Parker Steering committee, where she has thought critically about how Parker curriculum works and other aspects of student life.

Sabir advisee and junior Kiran Mathew spoke about how Sabir made him feel welcome at Parker when he was a new student. He said that it was “nerve-wracking” coming to Parker but Sabir was very accessible and always ready to give any advice, help, or guidance that he needed.

Mathew said that it was emotional when Sabir announced her departure to her advisory. “She’s always been there, helping me work towards solutions,” he said, “and so I’m very sad to see her go but I’m excited for the cool stuff that she’ll do.”