Announcing Anajah Roberts as the new Executive Director of Teach For America Greater Chicago–Northwest Indiana
April 6, 2022
CHICAGO–Anajah Roberts has called Teach For America (TFA) home for 12 years. She began as a corps member in St. Louis, teaching middle school English, and later returned to her hometown of Chicago to become a corps member coach and rose to manage teacher coaches. She then became the vice president of corps member leadership before taking over as interim executive director of Teach For America Greater Chicago–Northwest Indiana after Aneesh Sohoni’s departure in fall 2021.
From an interim position to a permanent offer, Roberts takes the helm at the organization. “Anajah is an incredible example of how TFA educators make a lifelong commitment to working with students and families in low-income communities,” said Regional Advisory Board Chair Steve Ritchie. “Her passion, commitment, and strategic vision position her to be a leader who can work towards solving education inequity in this moment of challenge and opportunity.” In her time overseeing the corps member leadership team, Roberts stewarded the matriculation, development, and impact of over 400 teachers. Under her leadership, TFA Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana introduced a community-centered program model that deepens relationships with schools and communities and initiated a new partnership with District 187 in North Chicago.
Roberts is a visionary who restructured corps member programming in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, expanded financial support for teachers, and increased emphasis on mental health and wellness for teachers and students. “Since the beginning of my TFA journey, Anajah has been a source of guidance and encouragement who helped me find my purpose in this work,” said 2020 corps member Brandis Haugabrook. “Anajah's energy and excitement for education are so contagious, and I'm so proud of her for reaching this new milestone, and to call her a mentor.”
Roberts’ experience as a student in Chicago Public Schools, and her mother’s role as a Chicago educator, shaped her lifelong conviction and commitment to educational equity. As a teacher coach, she worked to support and mentor novice educators on their path to becoming culturally responsive and anti-racist teachers and leaders. Roberts is poised to lead the region’s diverse network of educators who call Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana home and work alongside students and families in their communities as they navigate systemic inequity throughout the education ecosystem. "As a lifelong Southsider and a product of Chicago Public Schools, I am so thrilled to lead TFA's efforts to ensure all students in Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana have access to an excellent education and the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and all of us,” Anajah Roberts, Teach For America Greater Chicago–Northwest Indiana’s executive director, said. “I hope to elevate the voices of the many students and teachers I have worked so closely with over the past 12 years and catalyze change, drawing on my own experiences growing up and spending most of my education career in this community.” Roberts possesses the experience and energy to confront the challenge of educational inequity and oversee TFA as a critical source of diverse leaders in the highest impact roles in education in Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. Roberts is committed to creating sustainable solutions to address student and educator mental health with lawmakers and throughout TFA programming, addressing the equity imperatives exposed by COVID-19, and ensuring that education leaders at all levels of the system are diverse and have the opportunity for real-world experience and training as anti-racist educators.
TFA Greater Chicago–Northwest Indiana is a big network that continues to grow. Today, TFA corps members are teaching over 10,000 students in almost 90 schools in Chicago, North Chicago, and Northwest Indiana. In Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, there are 3,290 alumni, 290 of whom are school leaders and 620 are nonprofit and public professionals. Fifty-seven percent of corps members identify as people of color and/or are coming from a low-income background. Seventy-two percent of corps members teach the high needs subjects of early childhood education, diverse learning, and STEM. TFA is developing a generation of alumni leaders who are equipped to solve educational inequity from every sector and every field. About Teach For America Greater Chicago–Northwest Indiana For over 20 years, Teach For America Chicago–Northwest Indiana has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with parents and students to ensure that all children receive an excellent education. Our region’s 3,400 members work across sectors to improve student outcomes and drive systemic change. After their initial two-year teaching commitment, two-thirds stay in education. Teachers in our network achieve an average 1.4 years of academic growth with their students and our principals lead the highest-rated schools at nearly two times the rate of their peers. Our alumni are policymakers and lead many of the highest impact education organizations in our region. To learn more visit https://www.teachforamerica.org
About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
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