From Principal to Doctorate

Dr. Rouhanifard celebrates an Educational Milestone

Dr. Rouhanifard
Photo courtesy of Dr. Nima Rouhanifard
Dr. Rouhanifard graduates with a doctorate

We celebrate the remarkable achievement of our middle school principal, Dr. Rouhanifard, who has recently obtained a doctorate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.  Educators lead by example, and Dr. Rouhanifard’s academic journey not only fosters a culture of lifelong learning, but is an inspiration for students, teachers and administrators.


As an educational leader, our celebrated principal recognizes the importance of being informed and staying current with best practices to provide the best guidance to students and staff.  When asked what motivated him to get a doctorate degree, Rouhanifard said he read a lot of books and saw many theories that he didn’t always agree with because the authors had no actual experience in a school setting. 

 “What motivated me is to use real experiences to help support the research in the field of education as an actual practitioner, not someone who is in a library and is disconnected from students and school communities,” Rouhanifard said.

What motivated me is to use real experiences to help support the research in the field of education as an actual practitioner, not someone who is in a library and is disconnected from students and school communities.

— Dr. Nima Rouhanifard


Getting a doctorate takes years of study and a strong commitment to academic excellence. Balancing administrative duties, meeting the needs of students, managing a school and making time for family is demanding by itself. 

When asked about the biggest challenge of pursuing a degree while being a principal was during COVID when everything was virtual. When things came under control, he flew to the University of Pennsylvania’s campus one weekend a month, and he missed school on some Fridays. He would get home at 11:00pm Sunday night, and would then have to be at school at 7:30am on Monday morning. Not being able to see his wife and having to eat out all the time made it challenging. 

That was hard,” Rouhanifard stated. 


With a doctorate, Dr. Rouhanifard’s knowledge and expertise will both inspire and benefit the entire school community. Rouhanifard’s ability to implement evidence-based practices, and contribute to the advancement of the education will surely elevate the overall educational experience for students and staff within the school.

Since getting his degree, Rouhanifard created a partnership with the University of Miami.  Rouhanifard explained “going into next year, we have developed this partnership because I was able to finish my doctorate and help influence their master’s program. We’re going to have some of our teachers, while they’re teaching, be a part of a master’s cohort at the University of Miami, and we’re welcoming some students from the University of Miami to come to our campus and be student teachers in our classrooms so that we can get  great teachers to help support our programming here.”

“A university partnership was my first goal with this degree, and that’s already started, which I think is very exciting,” Rouhanifard stated. 

He is hoping to pull in a lot of his classmates and the incredible work that they’re doing to help supplement and complement our programs. A couple speakers who were his classmates at the University of Pennsylvania will come to the campus  to get to know our community, and to collaborate in the future. 


Yvanna Corti
Chloe Boyd interviews Dr. Rouhanifard


Since Rouhanifard started his doctorate program, the only person he insists call him Dr. Rouhanifard is his brother. 

“I won’t respond to him unless he calls me Dr. Rouhanifard.” Rouhanifard said.  “It’s been really hilarious when he calls or FaceTimes me, and I won’t respond until he calls me Dr. Rouhanifard. My brother is actually a huge source of inspiration for me.” 

His brother is a year and one month older than Rouhanifard; they’ve always been competitive, and he pushed Rouhanifard to keep going with his professional and academic goals. Rouhanifard’s brother has done some very impressive things, and is on the state board of education for the state of Massachusetts. Students who go on the Boston trip next year will meet him. 


Dr. Rouhanifard’s journey towards a doctorate degree encourages the school community to embrace the value of lifelong learning.

You have an opportunity to learn at any given stage of where you are in your life

— Dr. Nima Rouhanifard

When an undergrad, Rouhanifard thought he thought he was done with school, and never wanted to take a class again. Ten  years later he did a master’s program at Harvard and loved every second of it. When that ended, he once again said he never wanted to be a student again. 

Pursuing a doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania gave Dr. Rouhanifard yet another opportunity to be a student while staying in the role as principal. Some advice he has for students is to do your research and figure out what makes you really passionate and energized, and then go for it.

”You have an opportunity to learn at any given stage of where you are in your life, Rouhanifard said.

Rouhanifard’s commitment to personal growth and academic achievement gives students a firsthand understanding of the transformative power of education.


University of Pennsylvania graduation
Photo courtesy of Dr. Nima Rouhanifard
University of Pennsylvania graduation