Dr. Samia Harris, Founder and Executive Director

Samia Harris, D.Ed

Dr. Samia Harris was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, and graduated from the University of Cairo in 1973 with a BA in Philosophy. She left Egypt soon thereafter, and moved with her new husband to Toronto, Canada. In Toronto, she received a CDA, and thus began her career in education. In the early 1980s, Dr. Harris moved to Saudi Arabia to run a school for English-speaking expatriates in Riyadh. By 1985, she had moved with her young son to Virginia, and in 1987 founded Early Years Academy, the predecessor to Prince William Academy, in a lovely old house on five acres in Manassas.

While the small private school grew in size and reputation, Dr. Harris continued her own education, receiving her MBA from Strayer University, and a Doctorate of Education from Nova Southeastern University in 2002. Inspired by other systems of education she studied during her extensive travels throughout Europe, and emboldened by the possibilities seemingly opened by the No Child Left Behind Act, in 2004 she became the first educator in Virginia to attempt to open a charter school. The Prince William Linguistics Academy would have focused on foreign language immersion, and Dr. Harris and a team of educators worked hard to make her vision a reality. However, political wrangling thwarted their efforts, and her proposal was rejected. Unwilling to abandon her plans, she established Prince William Academy as a private school instead, maintaining a key piece of her original vision by integrating the study of languages into the curriculum for all the school’s pupils. The new campus opened in 2006.

In addition to her career as an educator, Dr. Harris is a painter, and a world traveler. She is also a prominent activist for democracy in Egypt, and has appeared as an expert discussant on a variety of news networks, as well as in print. She is a founding member of the Alliance of Egyptian Americans, and of the group Democracy for Egypt.

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