Alumni Profiles

Alison Ritz ’92

“Open-minded, curious learners make for great teachers.”
“Open-minded, curious learners make for great teachers,” says Crossroads alumna Alison Ritz ‘92. The accomplished educator wasn’t describing herself, but she might as well have been.

A social studies teacher in New York for close to two decades, Alison spent 12 years at a small arts-based high school before moving to an all-girls public school, The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx. Teaching has fulfilled her many passions: public service, activism, the arts and youth development. When Alison isn’t teaching, she is providing college counseling for mostly first-generation, low-income students and being a mom of two teenagers. 

With her twin sister, Jessica, Alison arrived at Crossroads in seventh grade in 1986. By the time she was in eighth grade, her commitment to activism both within and beyond the School was strong. Off campus, she participated in Brotherhood and Sisterhood International and the Los Angeles Student Coalition, and at Crossroads she was an early organizer of the gay student alliance.

Crossfire, the student newspaper, was her passion for all four years of high school. Alison was a beat writer in ninth grade, a section editor during her sophomore and junior years and served as editor-in-chief as a senior. She considers herself incredibly fortunate to have had Tina Turbeville as her mentor, one of many teachers who helped her develop as a student and as a citizen.

Alison says her Crossroads experience applies to her work daily. She is keenly aware that “social-emotional learning,” now a buzzword in many schools, was a basic principle of Crossroads since its inception.

As she continues to grow as an adult in a community of learners, Alison values the deep friendships she formed at Crossroads. She also recalls how Paul Cummins and other administrators modeled leadership and how her teachers inspired her to grow. “I love Crossroads for the challenges to think, read, write and converse in constructive rigor, along with the space to create and perform in a supportive community,” she says.