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Our mission is to embrace ALL children in society, particularly the underserved and transform them spiritually, academically, physically and socially, to pursue lives of purpose and contribution.


Paulo Nzambi
CEO & Head of School

Paulo Nzambi joined Imani Christian Academy as its new CEO, Head of School in May 2017.  Mr. Nzambi obtained his undergraduate degree in Political Science from Penn State University and his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law.  Mr. Nzambi’s employment experience is broad and diverse.  During his career as a trial lawyer he represented individuals, corporations and the City of Pittsburgh in state and federal court in tort, civil rights and employment litigation.  Mr. Nzambi is also a published poet, playwright, an entrepreneur.  As a non-profit executive, Mr. Nzambi most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer of Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh and the National Center for Arts & Technology . A fluent French speaker, Mr. Nzambi has traveled extensively within the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and West Africa.

Mr. Nzambi serves on numerous boards including, the Center of Life, The Tull Family Theatre, Radiant Hall, and the Union of African Communities of Southwestern Pennsylvania.  When asked what attracted him to join Imani, Mr. Nzambi replied that: “Imani is perfectly aligned with my personal mission to improve the quality of life for a specific population of people in a replicable and measurable way.  I am honored that God has provided this opportunity to build on the accomplishments already achieved by my predecessors and to pursue a bold and courageous vision for Imani’s future.”

Vision & Values


We believe that children cannot learn and grow unless they have first been loved. As our children come to us with many different levels of unmet spiritual and emotional needs, we seek through love to heal their spirits, develop acceptance, forgiveness and self-esteem, and facilitate a new vision within them of their unique potential.




Spiritually - We share Christ with our children daily and seek to help them grow into mature Christians.


Academically - We believe that education begins with solid foundations. We meet our children where they are, and ensure that each one is grounded in reading, writing, mathematics, and classes. Then we walk with them as far as their abilities and desires will take them, educating them in the physical and social sciences, arts, and theology,  and prepare them for post-secondary education and lifelong learning.


Physically - We believe that physical education and physical activity are essential for developing the whole child. We teach children to respect their bodies and we train them in healthy living.


Socially - We believe that personal development is incomplete unless it includes social development. We teach children life skills and invest in their interpersonal and cross-cultural competence so that they will become fully functioning adults, ready to engage in family, participate in community and contribute to society.





We are changing the destiny of our community and of future generations, one child at a time.


Our History

Imani Christian Academy began in 1993 as a faith-based alternative to a grossly under-resourced public school system struggling to serve low-income communities. Imani opened as a small school with 30 students operating in a single-family home. From that humble beginning, Imani has grown into a robust organization delivering educational excellence in a safe, caring, learning, environment free of violence.

Today, Imani serves an average of 152 students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in Pittsburgh’s East Hills. Our students come from 14 low-income, under resourced school districts in Allegheny County. Most of our students are African American inner-city youth; and many come from single-parent homes or are being raised by a grandparent or guardian. Imani’s individualized attention, high quality academic experience, and everyday exposure to positive role models provide a learning environment tailored to the unique needs of African American students.


Imani Creed

An Imani student is spiritual. We recognize the finished work of Jesus Christ. We are thankful for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who walks with us. We are comforted because the Lord is our Shepherd. We are glad because nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.

An Imani student is mentally strong. We have been tried, tested, and elevated to a level of academic excellence by pursuing our studies with passion. Our minds have been expanded and our purpose has collided with the reality of our aptitude. We are world changers.

An Imani student is socially responsible. We have been developed in our service. Our God-given gifts are on display for the benefit of all mankind through our service. We live out the declaration and the designation of the Son of Man by recognizing the good in all man and serving them unselfishly. Our goal in this is that others might realize the love of Christ. No task is too small and no task is too large for we know that those whose paths we cross will recognize the love of Christ through our service to them.


By these standards, an Imani student is identified. By these standards an Imani student is set apart. By these standards, an Imani student will bless your heart.

Our Building

"A building is a box, but it can be much more. Architect Tasso Katselas, who designed the new EastHills Elementary School, believes a building can change the way people think and how they act. Hethinks a school building in particular can be part of the teaching process -- changing a child's ideas ofwho he is and how he relates to the world around him. And that's exactly what he has tried to do with theEast Hills school which opens next month as the first open-plan school in the city. A variegated structureof brick, glass and concrete, the school is a mixture of open spaces and private corners of stark geometricforms and indoor gardens)."


Message from Our Board Chair


I am honored and humbled to serve as Imani’s Board Chair. In my almost eight years as a volunteer, assistant football coach, and Board member, I have witnessed and experienced how Imani positively impacts the the lives of our students, faculty and volunteers and in some cases literally saves those lives.  Through mentoring young men and women and leveraging my own personal relationships, I have tried and will continue to try to positively impact Imani and its students.  But, more important than any impact I have had on Imani is how Imani has impacted me. Plain and simple, Imani has changed my life for the better. Through Imani, I have found my own personal mission for community service as I try to help our students in any and every way that I can. In doing so, the young men and women of Imani whom I have endeavored to influence have repaid me a hundred fold by, through their actions and affection, transforming my own views on faith, leadership and community. Imani has and will continue to make me a better person and community member. I sincerely hope that others will allow Imani to touch and change them the way it has touched and changed me. God bless you and please have and keep Imani (faith).

David Berardinelli

Chair, Board of Directors

Board of Directors

David J. Berardinelli

Board Chair


DeForest, Koscelnik, Yokitis & Berardinelli

Matthew Blackburn

Board Secretary

Senior Manager, Government Relations


Bishop David Brock

Senior Pastor

Love Fellowship Church of Pittsburgh

Dan LaValle

Board Vice-Chair

Senior Director

Center for Social Impact

UPMC Health Plan

Laura E. Ellsworth

Partner-in-Charge of

Community Service Initiatives

Jones Day

Kathy Gallagher


Gallagher Giancola LLC

Susan E. Maloney

Board Treasurer

Firm Director

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLC

Dr. Lawrence Stratton, JD, PhD


Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership Associate

Professor of Ethics and Constitutional Law

Waynesburg University

Latifa Miller


Marlin Woods

Executive Chairman

Benefits Plus

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