My parents believed in the power of education to change one’s life for the better.  As Holocaust survivors, they stressed the importance of education not only to improve the opportunities for my brother and myself, but also as a benefit to mankind; perhaps a broader, more experiential, and open-minded education would have prompted more people to question the Nazi ideology.  From an early age, I knew I wanted to play a part in expanding people’s perceptions.  Teaching was a natural way for me to achieve that goal.

Teaching is as much a calling as it is a profession.  The professional aspect strives to achieve measurable learning goals; but it is the calling aspect that speaks to the heart and to caring deeply about every student as a whole person.

The more I taught, the more I understood that long-term retention and joy of learning required the active participation of the mind and the heart. At Chance I am able to integrate that understanding into a program that includes the mind:  critical thinking skills, discussion-based inquiry, project-based learning, frequent field trips, and hands-on activities; with the heart: arts-integrated classes, restorative practices, yoga, mindfulness, parent/family partnerships, and caring instructors.

Chance Academy is my hope for realizing my parents’ dream of education at its best.  A place that guides young people to be confident, compassionate, out-of-the-box thinkers who make the world a better place. Now no longer alive, I think my parents would be proud.


Anna Bernanke

Executive Director, Chance Academy