San Francisco

The San Francisco Bay Area is known for its natural beauty but also its spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, particularly in technology. That spirit extends into education, where districts, nonprofits and companies are pioneering new ways of educating students.

Education Pioneers’ work in this region spans the vast area, from the city of San Francisco east to Oakland and south to San Jose.

Despite the area’s riches, its schools struggle, and must make savvy use of resources given its low per-pupil spending. Fortunately, local philanthropists have made major investments right in their own backyards to make up some of that difference.

In each of the area’s key cities – San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose – districts enroll a significant percentage of low-income and students of color, and schools have struggled to serve them adequately. In the East Bay, Oakland is home to local and national education nonprofits, as well as a range of small autonomous schools, community schools, and other public school options.

Also in this area, charter school networks and districts are “blending” technology with face-to-face teaching in order to personalize instruction, together with local education technology companies.


The San Francisco Bay Area was Education Pioneers’ founding site. Since 2004, we have been working to supply local organizations with the talented people they need to achieve their goals.

  • 37 partner organizations, including urban districts San Francisco Unified and Oakland Unified, charter school management organizations Aspire Public Schools and Rocketship Education, venture philanthropy firm NewSchools Venture Fund, and education technology companies EducationSuperHighway and Schoolzilla.
  • EP Fellows in the San Francisco Bay Area work on strategic projects that make a difference, including analyses of special education transportation and new teacher retention for San Francisco Unified School District, as well as developing professional development dashboards and launching student data software products for Aspire Public Schools.
  • Several of EP’s SF-based alumni have remained to contribute to the region on an ongoing basis, including: 2005 Fellow Diana Lee, Chief Communities Officer at Teach For America and 2007 Fellow Alexandra Bernadotte, founder and CEO of Beyond 12

Alumni Board

Mission: The mission of the Education Pioneers Bay Area Alumni Board is to catalyze meaningful professional and personal connections and action across Education Pioneers Bay Area Alumni to increase and retain their engagement in education.

Members (in order of joining the Board)David Phillips (Bay Area, 2010) • Chris Grapes (Bay Area, 2010) • Jonathan Kaufman (Bay Area, 2010) • Rey Faustino (Boston, 2011) • Julie Obbard (Bay Area, 2006) • Jenny Jordan (Bay Area, 2011) •  James McKenna (Bay Area, 2011) • Amber Banks (Bay Area, 2012) ) • Ritu Tandon (Bay Area, 2013) • Eddie Medina (Bay Area, 2013) • Katie O’Mahoney (Bay Area, 2013) • Jan Faraguna (Bay Area, 2011) • Jeimee Estrada (Los Angeles, 2010) • Dennis Li (Bay Area, 2013) • Cristin Quealy (Bay Area, 2011) • Han Hong (Bay Area, 2012) • Sheila Bharucha (Bay Area, 2012)

Local Contact


ACE Charter Schools
Adobe Life
Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
Alpha Public Schools
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Buck Institute for Education
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation
Clever Inc.


Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (StartUp:Education)
Sobrato Family Foundation
Chamberlin Family Foundation
FThree Foundation
Leslie Family Foundation
Rogers Family Foundation
Credit Suisse Americas Foundation