Crossroads News

Crossroads Appoints Next Director of Equity & Justice Institute

Cassandra Chase will join the School in her new role this February.
This week, the School announced that it has appointed Cassandra Chase as the next director of the School’s Equity & Justice Institute. Cassandra will begin her tenure in early February and sit on the School’s 10-person leadership team. As director, Cassandra will support faculty and staff in developing new courses and lessons that address systemic issues such as racism, poverty and educational inequalities, while developing mutually beneficial partnerships between the School and community advocacy groups. In addition, Cassandra will oversee the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Equity & Justice Distinguished Lecture Series

“As a longtime education advocate and community organizer, Cassandra’s depth of knowledge and experience advocating for underserved communities directly aligns with the School’s founding commitments to social justice and activism,” says Interim Head of School Mariama Richards. “I look forward to welcoming Cassandra to the Crossroads community as she leads the Equity & Justice Institute’s important work.” 

As part of the interview process, Cassandra met with Middle and Upper School students, as well as the Freedom School and service learning teams, the Board of Trustees and the Administrative Planning Committee. Cassandra will work closely with division heads and the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in helping students learn about and engage in activism while advocating for innovative solutions to local and global issues. 

“I’m excited to have a thought partner and colleague with whom I can co-create a cohesive K-12 program to further the work of equity and justice in our School and beyond,” says Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Stephanie Carrillo. “Cassandra’s talents and vision will help us expand our student activism into the broader world; strengthen our relationships with community partners and nonprofit organizations in our city and beyond; and will deepen our School’s ability to develop programs that serve the greater good.”

For the last five years, Cassandra served as the coordinator for Empowerment Congress, where she oversaw operations, drove sustainability and conducted administrative functions in support of the organization’s mission to educate, engage and empower local communities. In 2011, she co-founded Read Lead, which aims to transform Los Angeles’ education landscape for underserved students by minimizing the achievement gap through innovative, culturally responsive approaches to education, and continues to serve as its executive director and a member of the board. Read Lead is also an official site sponsor of the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools program, and hosts five sites in LA County and two in Seattle. Cassandra’s in-depth experience with the program will ensure that the Equity & Justice Institute’s Freedom School site, held on the Crossroads campus, continues to thrive. She is the recipient of several prestigious fellowships and has served on multiple boards for civic-minded young professionals.

Cassandra was born and raised in California and graduated from University of California, Irvine, with a degree in sociology and minors in education, public health and epidemiology. Cassandra is an alumna of the Los Angeles African American Women's Public Policy Institute and the Riordan Volunteer Leadership Development Program. 

"It is with great enthusiasm, commitment and imagination that I join Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences as the director of the Equity & Justice Institute,” writes Cassandra. “I join with the awareness that radical models of education are vital in addressing diverse, systemic, critical domestic and global issues. I embrace the Institute's mission and look forward to building the beloved community together."

To learn more about the Crossroads Equity & Justice Institute, click here