Lasting change takes time. It requires assembling and supporting a team of stellar staff and supporters and working together through myriad challenges. This culture of excellence and collaboration ultimately benefits our kids and teachers.

In high school, Andy Shin started to become aware of educational inequity. While he had great teachers and classes, he saw that not all of his peers had the same experiences. And he wondered why.

As an undergrad, Andy learned more about educational inequity. He became a teacher through Teach For America after graduation, and later pursued a master’s degree in education. As a graduate student, he heard about EP for the first time.

“The more I thought about EP, the more I thought it made a lot of sense,” Andy says. “It fit into ways I that wanted to grow and learn, and I hadn’t done anything that didn’t involve other educators. Being around people who were pursuing an MBA or a JD was new, and it made sense to be around a group of people from other sectors.”

Andy notes that the diverse backgrounds of his cohort peers created good discussions that encouraged them all to examine their own perspectives, and to decide if their beliefs held up.

  • Program & Project Management

Andy served as a Fellow with Summer Search in San Francisco, a nonprofit that partners with high schools to identify sophomores to enroll in their long-term program (which runs through college graduation) to support them to and through college.

After his Fellowship, he became Executive Director of Breakthrough San Francisco, an organization that supports young people in San Francisco on the path to college and trains outstanding college students for education careers. He’s been leading the organization ever since. In talking about his eight-plus years leading Breakthrough San Francisco, Andy laughs and says he didn’t expect to stay as long as he has, but that he’s found his place and loves the people he works with and the work.

During his tenure, Andy has doggedly pursued the improvement and transformation of Breakthrough San Francisco. He has successfully shifted the organization from a two-year program to an eight-year program, drastically improved program quality, and more than doubled the organization’s budget.

The organization currently serves 219 students—99 percent of whom are students of color and 85 percent of whom are potential first-generation college students. Students join the program as fourth graders from San Francisco Unified School District elementary schools and commit to eight years of intensive, year-round enrichment that includes academic classes, tutoring, school guidance, and special opportunities like career exploration and outdoor education.

In San Francisco, data suggests that only one in three potential first-generation college students attain any kind of higher education, and Breakthrough San Francisco’s ambitious goal is to send at least 90 percent of its students to four-year colleges in the spring of 2018.

In his work to lead the mission, vision, and goals of Breakthrough San Francisco, Andy has improved the outcomes of Breakthrough San Francisco to gain a unanimous approval vote for program expansion; grown the organization’s budget from $301,805 (FY09) to $781,000 (FY17); ensured 73 percent of Breakthrough students start eighth grade ready for algebra; placed 97 percent of eighth graders (over the last three years) in college-prep high schools, an essential step towards bachelor’s degree attainment; and helped 68 percent of Breakthrough San Francisco Teaching Fellows—who’ve graduated from college in the last five years—commit to a career in the education sector, most as urban public school teachers.


Read more about Andy and his work in College Access Starts Early: How Breakthrough San Francisco is Leading the Way.

Andy was recognized as one of EP’s EPic Alumni in 2016.