Andy Shin serves as Executive Director for Breakthrough, San Francisco.
1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like?
I grew up in Norwood, a suburb in New Jersey. My best friend lived next door and there was plenty of room to run around, so I was a happy kid. I also had good quality schools to attend which I appreciate in retrospect.
2 | What do you like most about where you live now?
My family and I just moved to Berkeley, CA after eight years in Marin (the county north of the Golden Gate Bridge). I appreciate the diversity and sense of community and the good food in all directions.
3 | What is your favorite school memory?
Working on the literary magazine and newspaper and running track. As far as classes, I especially liked geometry and history.
4 | Which leader (alive or not, in any field) do you most admire?
President Obama. After eight-plus years, I’m not tired of him. He has an amazing ability to bring people together while saying what needs to be said. I have a picture that my mom gave me of him standing in the rain at a campaign event, truly embodying perseverance.
5 | When was the first time you thought about working in education?
In high school I first began to become aware of the fact that not all kids are well served by our school system. I didn’t do anything about it until I became an undergrad, but that’s when the seed was planted and I began to think about becoming a teacher.
6 | What has been your most memorable moment working in education?
My organization, Breakthrough, now works with students for eight years. I have loved seeing our kids grow older, become even more responsible, and come back as volunteers.
7 | What do love about your job?
I love the range of things I do each day, from meetings and phone calls to recess duty, and the amazing people of all ages that I work with who truly want to make this world better.
8 | If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would fix or change?
I would create high quality, very well-resourced schools in every single neighborhood.
9 | What are you still learning to do?
I’m still working on being patient with myself and having a healthy perspective on work and life.
10 | What or who inspires you?
I have two daughters who are positive and responsible (for the most part) and are good role models for me.
Read more about Andy’s work with Breakthrough San Francisco: College Access Starts Early: How Breakthrough San Francisco is Leading the Way.