Mehdi ElkassemScience Teacher & Soccer Coach
At WES Since: 2001
What excites you about teaching your grade level?
The Early Childhood students are so innocent and pure. Basically angels. And who doesn’t want to be surrounded by angels? The Middle Schoolers want someone to connect with and to create trusting relationships with an adult to help them grow and to build character. Achieving that is simply priceless and a true honor.
What is one of your goals as a teacher?
To make EVERY child feel that they are loved and that they matter.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
- Rules without relationships lead to rebellion.
- People may forget what you tell them but they will never forget how you make them feel.
I was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. I have one brother, Abdessamad, and one sister, Ghita. My mother is Amina, and my father is Mohamed. I grew up with over 30 first cousins. When I turned 19, I went to Russia to attend the University of St. Petersburg, where I completed a 6-year master’s program in engineering. There, I met my beautiful wife, Katya Elkassem, who is also a teacher at WES. I came to the United States in 2000 and became a U.S. citizen in 2017. My favorite things to do outside of WES are spending time with my wife and children, traveling, and playing soccer and guitar.
Fun facts: I played in the Moroccan Soccer Premier League. I am fluent in Arabic, French, and Russian. When I was 13, and my brother was 15, without any adults, we went on a European backpacking trip from Morocco to Sweden.
2014 Winner of the Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington Association’s (AISGW) Shirley J. Lowrie “Thank You For Teaching” Award