Representative Nathan W. Biah (D-Dist. 3, Providence) was elected to the
House of Representatives in November 2020. He serves as a member of the
House Education Committee and the House Health and Human Services Committee.
During his first legislative session, Representative Biah sponsored a new
law which streamlines the English as a second language (ESL) and/or English
language learner (ELL) teaching certification process to increase the number
and percentage of teachers in the state that are certified as ESL and/or ELL
teachers. He also sponsored a new law that allows students unable to legally
complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to participate
in the RI Promise Scholarship program.
Representative Biah was also named as a fellow in the National Conference
of State Legislators Early Childhood Program and appointed as a member of
the Office of Postsecondary Commissioner Advisory Committee.
Born on December 4, 1971, he grew up in Monrovia, Liberia. At age 20, he
escaped the violence of a civil war by walking nearly 90 miles to freedom.
After arriving in Providence, he passed the GED and worked in a factory. He
studied criminal justice and earned a degree at Rhode Island College in 1999
and then a Master’s degree in Education Administration from the University
of Rhode Island in 2007.
After teaching math in Providence middle schools and high schools,
Representative Biah is now the principal at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School in
Providence. His wife, Thumbelina, is a teacher at Esek Hopkins Middle School
in Providence. They are the parents of three children: Nathan Jr., Natalie