Beth Anderson '91 is changing the educational trajectory of disconnected youth

Phoenix Charter Academy, which Anderson founded, is highlighted in recent stories by the Boston Globe and WBUR radio

Beth Anderson ’91

Beth Anderson ’91 came to Brandeis thinking about a career in medicine. She gravitated toward sociology and women and gender studies under the influence of professor Karen Hansen, and now has herself become an influential force in the lives of young people.

The Phoenix Charter Academy in Chelsea, Mass., of which Anderson is founder and executive director, has recently been featured both in the Boston Globe and on WBUR for the work it is doing with older high school students who are struggling with a range of serious problems.

Studies of the dynamics of oppression got Anderson – the first member of her family to graduate from a university – thinking about how public education could be a counter to oppression. After graduation, she worked for four years with Teach for America, then at the Massachusetts Department of Social Services and the Match Charter School in Boston. She earned a master’s degree at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

And she won a competition run by the Building excellent schools Foundation that brought her the startup grant for Phoenix Charter Academy.

“I never thought, when I was struggling with ideas in sociology at Brandeis, that I would learn how to fix a boiler and negotiate a lease for a 30,000 square foot building” as a result, she laughed during a recent conversation.

She has put together a school staffed by teachers, social workers and other people “really interested in changing the educational and economic trajectory of older, disconnected youth.”

Click here to read the Boston Globe story and view video of Anderson.

Click here to listen to the WBUR report.

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