Meet Our Coaches
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“We have a chance to work with some of the strongest, most interesting young people in the country.”
“I’m here as an Instructional Coach because it makes me think about the bigger picture and the philosophy behind why I teach the way that I do.”
“Contrary to what people might think about working through your summer, it really is a rejuvenating experience.”
Bobby has a demonstrated passion for all things Breakthrough. In addition to completing the teaching residency at Breakthrough as a college student, he worked at Breakthrough National for several years before deciding to pursue teaching as a career. Bobby received his B.A. in American Studies at UC Berkeley and his M.Ed. through the Stanford Teacher Education Program.
Currently, Bobby is a founding humanities teacher at Summit Public School: K2 in El Cerrito. He previously taught at Summit Preparatory Charter High School in Redwood City, Berkeley High School and San Francisco Day School, and served for two summers as an Instructional Coach.
Working as an IC not only transforms Teaching Fellows’ instructional skills, Bobby says, but also facilitates personal reflection and growth for the Instructional Coaches. “I brought a lot of the Breakthrough ideas [of clear procedures and consistent routines] back to my classroom and it made me much more effective teacher.”
The summers also leave me “really reinvigorated; really reenergized,” he adds. “We have a chance to work with some of the strongest, most interesting young people in the country – who are voluntarily doing something really, really challenging.”
After learning that some of her students at KIPP SF Bay Academy, where she was an English teacher for many years, would be participating in Breakthrough, Ashley wondered how she could get involved. She submitted an Instructional Coach application and worked with us as an Instructional Coach in the writing department for the ensuing four summers.
Breakthrough encourages students to take on a “growth mindset” – to think constantly about how they can grow and improve. In her work as an Instructional Coach, Ashley takes this principle to heart. “I’m here as an Instructional Coach because it makes my teaching practice better; it makes me think about the bigger picture and the philosophy behind why I teach the way that I do.”
She also sees her coaching work as an excellent opportunity to continue to support her students and their families – for instance, attending the Breakthrough parent-teacher conferences of her KIPPsters. “This is such a great way to get perspective and to stay connected and involved with them,” she says.
Currently, Ashley serves as Program Manager at 826 Valencia. In addition to her work at KIPP, she previously taught sixth and eighth grade English at Bronx Latin School through Teach For America. She earned her B.A. at Middlebury College and her M.S. in Teaching from Pace University.
Tony became an Instructional Coach out of a passion for working with urban students with limited opportunities. He saw this as a great opportunity to balance his school-year work at Aurora School, an independent school in Oakland where he serves as a Curriculum Coordinator.
After two summers as an IC, Tony learned a lot about communicating with beginning teachers and providing them with concrete strategies for growth. “Being an Instructional Coach, you are reminded of those really basic teacher skills that should always be at the forefront of your mind.”
His favorite aspect of the job is working with energetic and idealistic beginning teachers while also collaborating with experienced, professional teachers – his fellow coaches. “It’s an enriching experience on so many levels. It has helped keep my own practice fresh. Contrary to what people might think about working through your summer, it really is a rejuvenating experience.”
Tony previously served as a Lead Teacher at Aurora and also taught at P.S. 41 – Greenwich Village School – in New York City. He received his B.A. in Human Development from Cornell University and an M.A. in Childhood Education from NYU.
Jan came to Breakthrough as an Instructional Coach in the summer of 2013. She had worked at summer camps and other programs in the past, but was looking for a longer and more in-depth summer commitment. “I really liked the idea of being able to work with curriculum and also of coaching future teachers,” she says.
Jan most appreciates getting to know the college-aged Teaching Fellows and helping to shape their instructional abilities and confidence. The experience has showed her that “teaching can be taught; there are concrete things that you can do to become a good teacher.”
During the school year, Jan works as a sixth and eighth grade science teacher at Everett Middle School, a public school in San Francisco. She received her B.S. in biological sciences and M.A. in education at UC Davis, and has been teaching for five years.