Citizen Schools: Opportunities, and a Message from Emily

Breakthrough Collaborative alumni teachers from regions across the country have joined Citizen Schools in its unique efforts to mobilize hundreds of staff and thousands of adult volunteers during out-of-school hours to improve student achievement by providing hands-on learning apprenticeships and opening up pathways for future success to students in low-income middle schools. Over 13 years Citizen Schools has grown to a nationally recognized seven-state network of 44 campuses serving 4,500 students and engaging 3,400 Citizen Teacher volunteers.  We’ve just posted some exciting new career and fellowship positions with Citizen Schools on the Opportunities page.  Check out the “Multiple Locations” section.

Learn more firsthand about the connections between Breakthrough and Citizen Schools from Emily Schneider-Krzys, a Breakthrough and Summerbridge alum who currently leads all Citizen Schools’ campuses in Austin, Texas.

Breakthrough roles:

  • Summerbridge New Orleans Teacher – Summer 2003 & 2005
  • Breakthrough Austin Teacher – Summer 2006

    Citizen Schools roles:

    • Campus Director, Bedichek Middle School – Summer 2006 – 2008
    • Deputy Program Director, Texas – Summer 2008 – present

    Undergraduate college and major: Haverford College, English Literature

    Emily on her Breakthrough teaching experience: The challenge was phenomenal, the relationships deeply meaningful, and the rewards immeasurable.

    Why Citizen Schools is a good fit for Emily:

    Citizen Schools and the Campus Director role have proved to be a perfect culmination of my experiences with Breakthrough, leading a literacy program where college students worked in Philadelphia high schools and serving in the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps. As a Campus Director I’m part instructional leader, part business manager, part mayor and community-builder – my current position affords me challenges in many areas.

    I love that Citizen Schools seeks to be more than an afterschool program. I wanted to be a part of “reimagining the school day” and creating change both locally and on a national level.

    The community leadership opportunities that Citizen Schools provides all staff are amazing. I can go to a principal of one of our school hosts and say, “What worries you about your school? What would you like to have more of? What is your vision for students here?” and then find a thousand different ways to support that vision. Citizen Schools in Austin is known for “making it happen”. I love the flexibility and opportunities our program structure allows so that we can truly meet the needs of the communities we serve.

    How her experience at Breakthrough influenced her personal and professional life:

    My Summerbridge/Breakthrough experience was central to who I am today as an educator and professional most importantly in the way that the experience not only developed my skills but also my confidence and resolve. The idea that people at Breakthrough thought of me, a young college student, as someone with the ability to be a strong, competent teacher opened worlds of possibility for me and instilled in me a strong feeling that I could do anything I set my mind to. The long days and hard work of a Breakthrough summer set me up to work hard and relentlessly pursue results for my students.

    Emily’s advice for fellow Breakthrough alums:

    I definitely feel that Breakthrough taught me to seek out challenges in my career. When I applied to be a Campus Director with Citizen Schools I was hired on as the youngest Director. Though I didn’t have all the skills that some of my more experienced peers had to begin with, I used my Breakthrough experience to prove that I was a fast learner, a dedicated educator, and a tenacious leader. I would advise Breakthrough teachers and alumni to find their ideal opportunity and then pursue it relentlessly.

    A few of Emily’s favorite things: My favorite books are any of Paula Rutherford’s manuals – Why Didn’t I Learn This in College?, Leading the Learning, etc. and Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. My favorite resources are markers and flipchart paper :).  I love Breakthrough, Citizen Schools, and Heifer International.


    2 Responses to Citizen Schools: Opportunities, and a Message from Emily

    1. Dave Crusoe says:

      Hey there,

      Thanks for posting this awesome article about Citizen Schools! I wonder if you might help by publicizing an important get-out-the-vote campaign that we’re engaged in: to get the idea of Citizen Schools and after-school programming in front of Obama on Inauguration Day.

      Thanks for your support!

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