Let’s welcome Sam Brill to Breakthrough New York. Sam – who earned his B.A. in History at Yale University and then his M.S. in Education at Teacher U at Hunter College - started as our Middle School Coordinator in Manhattan in June.
His experience as a Breakthrough teacher intern in 2010 inspired him to teach middle school history at a small charter school in Brooklyn, where he also founded and directed a mentoring/induction program for novice teachers.
Sam recalls how in high school one of his favorite teachers pointed out she had been a Breakthrough New York teacher intern when she was in college. He followed in her footsteps, teaching in New Haven’s after-school Breakthrough program.
“I loved the program” he said, “and loved the experience of getting to teach and work with middle school students.”
After his freshman year at college, Sam taught at Breakthrough New York at the Town School.
“That really inspired and motivated me to become a teacher,” Sam said. "The experience of Breakthrough in New Haven and New York convinced me that working with students every day was something I wanted to do.”
After college, he taught at Brooklyn Prospect Charter School before moving over to Breakthrough New York in his current role earlier this year. “Middle school is such a crucial time for students,” Sam said. “It can make or break whether a student is academically prepared for what's ahead of them.”
He describes the Breakthrough New York students, staff and volunteers as a “tight-knit community”, one in which the unified mission is crystal clear. “What makes Breakthrough special is a very strong and clear commitment to our mission. Our mission is to get every student to a great high school and college. We all understand that and are motivated by it every day.”
He also strives to impart early on that students can change the course of their lives. “Number one is understanding that wherever they are now is not where they have to be five or 10 years down the road. Working hard and believing they can overcome challenges will take them wherever they want to go.”