Rhea's Departure

Dear BTNY family,

After 12 incredibly memorable years of helping our students achieve their college dreams, I have decided to leave Breakthrough New York at the end of 2017. I made this decision after careful deliberation, realizing the time is right for me, both personally and professionally.

We have always encouraged you to take positive risks and have a growth mindset. For me, stepping away from the familiar Breakthrough world in order to keep growing and learning — to step outside of my comfort zone — is following my own advice. I know change is hard for all of us, but we’ll all be OK. I promise.

Over the last 12 years, I have been a part of your lives in times of joy and in times of sorrow. I have celebrated your successes and walked with you through tough times. We are family and that will never change no matter what and no matter where life takes us.

I want to assure you nothing will change for you at Breakthrough New York. We will work as diligently as ever to help you obtain a first-class education, from middle school through college, and into careers. Our dedicated staff, Teaching Fellows, and volunteers will continue to provide you with top-notch tutoring, mentoring, and guidance.

The leadership transition will be done thoughtfully and effectively. Our board of directors has formed a selection committee and will hire an executive search firm to help us find the new executive director. In the meantime, I will continue in the position for the coming months.

Serving as executive director of Breakthrough New York has been the greatest privilege of my life, thanks to you, our amazing students and parents. Because of your commitment to our program, Breakthrough New York has grown tremendously since I became executive director in 2005. Today, we are proud to serve more than 500 students at three sites, with a full 10 years of robust support. And we will keep that momentum going.

As many of you know, I have been a part of Breakthrough since I was a middle school student in San Francisco; I will forever be part of this community. While I have yet to decide the next step in my career, I will always be a passionate advocate for students, education equality, and Breakthrough New York. 

I love you all dearly and will always be in your corner, rooting for you and (in spirit) reminding you to give a firm handshake, to look people in the eye, to speak up with confidence, to not say “um,” “like,” or “you know,” and to eat your vegetables. These are lessons I hope you remember for the rest of your life.

Above all, remember this: You are special. You are loved. You are our family, and we are yours.  Forever.

I look forward to continuing to work with you this fall, and will keep you updated on our search for Breakthrough New York’s next executive director.
With love,

Rhea Wong
Executive Director
Breakthrough New York