SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- A suburban principal is receiving a major honor and is being recognized nationally for his achievements.
Principal Habeeb Quadri at the Muslim Community Center Academy in Skokie will be heading to the nation's capital to receive the National Distinguished Principal Award.
"I've been a principal for 16 years," Quadri said. "For them to recognize a small school in the North Side of Chicago is an honor."
Mr. Quadri has just been selected as a National Distinguished Principal by the National Association of Elementary School Principals. He was one of only four private school leaders selected in the entire nation.
"We saw the growth of 175 kids when I first got here, to more than 740 kids," said Quadri. "We have more than 34 after-school programs and we also built a great relationship with our community doing a lot of community service projects."
He credits the teachers and support staff, but they said Mr. Quadri is just a remarkable leader.
"He's also from the community, so it's a home-grown leader. Like we all went to Sunday school together," said 1st grade teacher Deba Malik. "It's nice to see that there are individuals in our community that are looking to educate the future."
Despite being an education trailblazer, Quadri is also battling cancer.
"I remember going through the interviews while I was going through my treatment," he said. "It's something I tell the kids you can go through struggles, but at the end you know things work itself out. It shows for students that if you work hard in America, you have an opportunity to get recognized."
"I think he totally deserves it, he's a great principal and he inspires me every single day to be a good person every single day," said 5th grade student Khadija Pehlari.
Quadri heads to Washington D.C. Wednesday to receive his award.
Skokie principal to be honored with National Distinguished Principal Award