Johannah Chase

Johannah Chase

Job Title
Associate Dean, Innovation Policy & Research
Bank Street College of Education
Cornell University
Pace University
Corps Year: 
Corps Region: 
New York

What surprised Johannah most about her time in the corps was the role that community plays in being a successful teacher. Teachers have a significant role in each student’s life both inside and outside the classroom. She learned that it’s important to let students know that you care by getting involved in the school community, reaching out to parents, and attending social events. It shows that you take your responsibility very seriously and that you believe in them.

Career Path

Power of Education
Johannah was 10 when her mother finished college and became a public school teacher. She recognized how transformative a college education was for the quality of her family’s life.
Teach For America: New York City Corps
Johannah taught eighth grade math as the first corps member in her school, where she also coached a track club. She continued teaching for a third year in a school in West Harlem.
Associate, Empowerment Schools, NYC Dept. of Ed.
After the corps, Johannah wanted to affect systems-level change. She worked at the DOE on an initiative that gave principals more autonomy in exchange for more accountability for student results.
CEO, Special Education, NYC Dept. of Ed.
Johannah focused on closing the opportunity gap between students with disabilities and their peers. She worked on reforms that expanded inclusive school options and promoted customized instruction.
Associate Dean, Innovation, Policy & Research
At Bank Street, Johannah supports teams in the development and launch of projects that utilize the college’s expertise to expand its impact and improve educational opportunities for children.

Q & A

What made you decide to become part of the TFA corps?

In college I was planning to be a civil rights lawyer, but then I started a staff fellowship at TFA. I wanted to do something at 23 that could transform both my own life and do some good in the world. My mom was a teacher and loved her profession, and I thought it would be a challenge worth taking on so young in my life.

How did your corps experience shape you?

I learned that every single student—even one who is quiet and may appear uninterested, or who may act out in class—wants to be successful and can achieve amazing things if you show them that you genuinely believe in them. That is a beautiful and powerful thing. And it’s the reason why I still work in education. We have to believe in our students’ abilities.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about joining the corps?

It is a transformative experience. I’ve met my best friends through TFA, and have had incredible professional development opportunities through TFA. But it’s not about you. You should do it because you value what teachers do, and you want to take on the incredible challenge of teaching children with tremendous possibility, and change their lives through the power of a good education.

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