Las Vegas, N.M. – Quadri Kelani, a New Mexico Highlands educational leadership graduate student, aims to use his new knowledge to help manage his family’s school in his native Lagos, Nigeria.

Kelani’s family owns Vintage Plus, a kindergarten through sixth grade Montessori school that also cares for babies in a nursery.

One of his older brothers owns the school, opening it in 2014 to help fill a need in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, but the public-school system is very weak so most of the people depend on private schools,” Kalani said.

Kelani is already thinking about improvements he will make at his brother’s school.

“I decided to get a master’s degree in educational leadership so I can help manage the administrative aspect of the school,” Kelani said. “I love to challenge myself with new things. I knew educational leadership would be a great benefit to managing the school and helping my family grow the school.

“One thing I plan to implement is integrating special needs students into the school. In Nigeria, special needs students are segregated in separate schools. I also want to implement more training for teachers to equip them with additional knowledge,” Kelani said.

Kelani also earned his MBA from Highlands in 2017.

“With my MBA, I can prepare all the financial books for the school. I also have useful knowledge in marketing as well as human resources for recruiting good teachers,” Kelani said.

Kelani said Sheree Jederberg, School of Education interim dean and professor, has influenced him the most to date.

“Dr. Jederberg has vast experience in school administration and has managed large school districts. She instills knowledge and also gives us first-hand experience learning from principals and superintendents. Since the very first day I came to school, Dr. Jederberg has been willing to help me whenever I need assistance,” Kelani said.

“Quadri is an exceptional listener and reflective practitioner with a great sense of humor,” Jederberg said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to the educational framework, including his MBA. Quadri has a cultural perspective of a very different political and educational system in Nigeria that really adds to the conversation and dialogue we have about education in New Mexico. He brings global diversity to Highlands that is valuable.”

Jederberg said she expects Kelani will implement effective educational reforms and practices in his family’s school.

“Quadri also has a solid framework on how to implement similar strategies and policies at a national level,” Jederberg said.

Jederberg said Kelani was an outstanding graduate assistant.

“Quadri developed a database of all of our School of Education students and programs of study and made it accessible to faculty, enhancing advisement,” Jederberg said.

Kelani earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lagos State University in Ojo, Nigeria. He worked in the banking industry as an accountant for five years and customer service consultant for three years before deciding to attend Highlands to earn his MBA.

“A friend of mine from Nigeria came to Highlands for a conference and suggested I apply. When I see a good opportunity, I share it with friends. Four of my friends from Nigeria came to Highlands after I did,” Kelani said.

Kelani said he experienced culture shock moving from Lagos, Nigeria, population 9 million, to Las Vegas.

“It was a big adjustment population-wise, but the people here in Las Vegas are wonderful and always willing to assist. One of the things I like best about Highlands being small is easy access to lecturers to get clarification and questions answered,” Kelani said.