CHICAGO (CBS) — A principal in Skokie has made his students extremely excited as he is receiving the National Distinguished Principal Award in Washington, D.C., Thursday.

Principal Habeeb Quadri is in his 16th year as principal at the Muslim Community Center Career Academy in Skokie, and the kids love him there.

The private school is thriving, now enrolling  more than 740 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Mostly Muslim, the school represents 27 different countries.

Quadri calls Chicago home and grew up attending Chicago Public Schools.

“For an individual who grew up first generation Muslim American, for me I really wanted our kids to see that this is a great country, and there’s great opportunity, and there is nothing wrong with being comfortable with who you are and still be an American citizen,” Quadri said.

“He really does deserve this award,” said fifth grader Ens Latic. “I’ve been here for six years, and every single time that I see him he always puts a smile on my face.”

Quadri is also a cancer survivor and is a humble leader, stating the award he’s receiving is the work of the entire staff and his community.

The National Association of Elementary School Principals is giving out the award.

The Skokie school is one of only four chosen.