Bay Area Googler Fuels Student Success By Recruiting Others to Teach

Jeff Breau helps recruit California Googlers like the one pictured here to volunteer to teach Bay Area middle school students

Jeff Breau, a Googler in San Francisco, has been a personal supporter of Citizen Schools since 2011. Over the years as a volunteer Citizen Teacher he taught three apprenticeships to middle school students in the Bay Area including Rockin’ Robots, Train Your Brain, and Reading the News. Jeff was recently promoted and found himself with a busy travel schedule, making it hard to commit to a semester of teaching. Asking himself “How much am I able to do?” he switched gears and began inspiring colleagues to invest their time volunteering with Citizen Schools. His encouragement worked. Since last spring, Jeff has helped our California team recruit 32 volunteers!

Citizen Schools: Who or what inspired you when you were young?

Jeff Breau: An experiment my dad did with my grade school class comes to mind. He was a professor of microbiology and brought experiments into my class from time to time.  I specifically remember getting excited about one where he brought petri dishes into the class.  We all rubbed our toes in our dish and waited for the cultures to grow, and then looked at the different patterns they all made. That really awakened me to science and biology, the hidden micro world!

CS: Why do you think it’s important to provide students with real-world, hands-on opportunities?

JB: Kids aren’t always aware of what adults are doing, and what they could be doing when they get older. Citizen Schools is a way to expose them to more opportunities, creating a better chance for them to find what fuels them to succeed.

CS: What is one of your “aha” or “WOW!” moments from teaching?

JB: I taught an apprenticeship called “Reading the News.” I wanted to hook kids with topics that interested them, like music and sports, and transition them to bigger news stories on international and political levels. My “aha” moment happened when the students organically began debating Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea. They had a conversation about whether Rodman should have visited, if his visit was beneficial or not, and if his trip went against the wishes of the President. Making the leap from a basketball star to the political climate of North Korea with seventh and eighth graders made it apparent that these students were connecting to news stories at a deeper level.

CS: What was it that inspired your work as an organizer to engage more Google Citizen Teachers?

JB:  My new role requires me to travel a good deal and becoming an organizer seemed to be a natural segue. My experience managing teams and organizing events paired with support from Google and Faith [Lin], the Senior Manager of Civic Engagement in CA, made it possible for me to expand my impact. If I recruited 10 Citizen Teachers who impacted 25 students each, I am still doing something good.

CS: How does Google support your involvement with Citizen Schools?

JB: As a Citizen Teacher I had a ton of support all the way up through senior the VP and Executive levels of the company from Christina [Christina Wire, Director Google Helpouts] and Claire [Claire Hughes Johnson, Vice President Google X] who share my excitement for Citizen Schools’ mission. It wasn’t just the luck of also having a great manager, although I did have that, but they recognize that 1-2 hours of outwork time was beneficial and it had only been encouraged. They were all truly supportive of me giving time to the community. Additionally, Google has a tool to log volunteer hours and they give money to your organization based on the hours you work. [Google also supports Citizen Schools as a National Leadership Partner, providing $3.25 million since 2011.]

CS: How did your time as a Citizen Teacher affect your professional development or growth at Google?

JB: Obvious and tangible benefits were that I was able to work on leadership skills and work with different people across Google. Increasing the number of people I knew and worked closely with was great. I found that teaching made my normal job easier to come back to, after teaching I felt rejuvenated and recharged returning to my desk.

Each week I was exposed to so many different viewpoints from kids and I spent time trying to get each of them excited.  Making a subject interesting is a great skill to have, one that was shaped by the work I did with Citizen Schools. Bringing it back to Google, I was just applying it to a different audience.


Everything You Need to Know About the Teaching Fellowship Application

Citizen Schools Campus Recruitment Team presents:

Everything you need to know about the Teaching Fellowship Application!

Q: How many recommendations do I need?  When are they due?

A: You need two completed recommendation forms and three references.  The recommendations are due at the application deadline, but can be submitted at a later time under extenuating circumstances. If you cannot submit them by the application deadline, please contact your regional Campus Recruitment Manager.  We must receive letters of recommendation before you are able to complete a campus interview.

Q: Who do you suggest I get recommendations from?

A: The best recommendation comes from a former or present supervisor.  Top priority is someone you’ve worked with professionally (preferably with youth), followed by an *academic supervisor*.

*An academic supervisor is someone you’ve worked with for an extended period of time; these can be professors you’ve had for multiple semesters, worked for as a lab assistant, or another extended project with deadlines.

Q: How many transcripts are required?  When are they due?

A: You only need one sealed copy of your official transcript addressed to:

Citizen Schools

ATTN: Campus Talent Recruitment

308 Congress St

Boston, MA 02210

Please mail it as soon as you apply.

Q: How many steps are in the application process?

A: Five steps: Initial application, application review, phone interview, job simulation activity, final interview (which includes a campus visit).

Note: The essay portion is considered just as important as an interview.  Remember to be thoughtful and clear in your responses.

Q: How long does the interview process take?

A: Varies by time of year; check with your regional Campus Recruitment Manager.  It may take up to two weeks to receive an invitation to participate in a phone interview.

Q: Where do I tell recommendations to send completed recommendation forms?

A: Recommendations need to be electronically sent to

Q: I am interested in more than one region, do I apply to all of them?

A: No.  Apply to one region; during your application process you’ll have the space to express interest in another region.

Q: Do I get to select which campus I want to work on?

A: If selected to join the National Teaching Fellowship, you will have the opportunity to express interest in a particular campus or geographic area within a city, but placement is determined by the regional staff.

Q: What training is available prior to starting on campus?

A:  Although a number of programs have intensive weeks of training for incoming teachers, we scaffold our trainings into several parts.  As a fellow, you’ll start by meeting with your national cohort of teaching fellows and participate in trainings held in Boston at the beginning of July 2012.  From there, you move into regional trainings where you’ll familiarize yourself with the state office network and local resources.  After the regional training, you’ll have on-site training and will work closely with your Campus Director and team to develop curriculum and systems for your campus.

All in all, you will receive training from a national to local level, preparing you for the first day of program.

Do you have any questions that haven't been addressed? Ask them here!

Three Reasons Why You Should Use a One-Page Resume

Citizen Schools Talent and Recruitment Team

If you’re writing your resume and find your numerous skills, accomplishments and experiences are spilling over onto a second page, stop, drop and read:

Whether you are an aspiring member of the Teaching Fellowship’s class of 2012-2014 or a second year Teaching Fellow looking toward your next step, sit back with our National Recruitment Manager and hear why the Harvard resume format reigns supreme:

Three reasons to use Harvard resume format:

1)      It uses the space on the page effectively without overwhelming the reader.  There is plenty of space to share meaningful bullets about your job, but also requires you to only share the meaningful ones. Basically, 3-4 bullets per job keeps you honest and focused on the most significant accomplishments

2)      The format makes it really clear to the reader where you have worked, how long you were there, where you were educated, and what you studied in chronological order. This is really easy to follow.

3)      And lastly, the way in which this particular resume is crafted uses the format well because it notes specific, measurable achievements from each role he’s had. (E.g., how many direct reports he managed, how much money he generated/saved, etc). Second year Teaching Fellows can do the exact same thing by including quantifiable student results they delivered, specific improvements they made to campus operations/culture, and other notable achievements from their time in the Fellowship. The more specific about what you were expected to do and how well you met/exceeded those expectations, the better!

Sample Resume

Do you have any tips for resume writers?

National Teaching Fellowship First Deadline: THIS FRIDAY

Philip Parham is Campus Recruitment Manager for Massachusetts and is a former Teaching Fellow

This time of year comes with the typical seasonal distractions, whether it be the tryptophan from National Turkey Day, the mind-numbing shopping carols played throughout malls everywhere in preparation for the most wonderful time of the year, or the equally mind-numbing studying in preparation for passing this semester’s finals.  For seniors, added to all of this craziness is the new, stressful activity of thinking about next steps after college.

Knowing where you’re going next helps to alleviate some of this craziness, and what better way to know where you are going than to apply to jobs before the craziness begins!  Citizen Schools’ first deadline is THIS FRIDAY, November 18th, right before you fly home for the above stated turkey infusion.

In all seriousness, the reason you are reading this post is that you care about education AND want a job.  To that end, let me tell you about the three advantages of applying early.

  1. Know what you want– The earlier you start looking for jobs, the better sense you can develop about which opportunities best fit your post-graduate needs.  Job searching is a lot like writing a term paper; it can actually be a lot of fun when you give yourself enough time to do it.
  2. Stay ahead of the game – Most programs including ours, start looking for their next cohort as early as the summer before.  Most students, not including you, start looking for jobs sometime after they wake up from their spring break in Cancun.  It’s November, meaning now is your chance to get the best access to recruiters and alumni to find out everything you need to know about programs and application processes before their inboxes are flooded by applicants.
  3. Get accepted earlier – Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the last semester of college was stress-free and fun-filled?  Well, if you know what you are doing after college, you have a much better chance enjoying the last steps on the bridge from high school to real life.  Not to mention that trip to Cancun will be a lot more fun for you than your friends who procrastinated on the job search.

The application for Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship is here, and we would love for you find out if it is the right opportunity for you.  Feel free to email any of the Campus Recruitment Managers to find out more.

New York: Sarah Brown

New Jersey: Amy Heuer

North Carolina: Nichole Montgomery-Boone

California: Holly Przybyla

Massachusetts: Philip Parham

Texas and New Mexico: Cynthia Sandoval

Have any questions about the Citizen Schools National Teaching Fellowship? Ask here. 

Citizen Schools Co-Sponsors the Bay Area Leadership and Social Justice Conference

Citizen Schools California Talent Team

On Sunday, October 16th, Citizen Schools proudly co-sponsored the Bay Area Leadership and SocialJustice Conference for the second year in a row. The event took place on the campus of University of California Berkeley and sought to empower Bay Area College students, by giving them an opportunity to network and build the skills necessary to make positive changes on their campuses. Students from more than six different colleges and universities, including Stanford University, Sonoma State University, and Santa Clara University, come together to network with leaders in the Bay Area.

The keynote speakers Braham Ahmad, the founder of Peoples Grocery and Oakland’s mayor Jean Quan, a Berkeley Alumni and the first Asian American female mayor of a major city in the US. The speakers addressed this year’s theme of “Moving from Passion to Action". The keynotes spoke to the young leaders about the importance of standing firm in their beliefs and maintaining a strong support system.

This conference provided Citizen Schools with the opportunity to reach out to students who are unfamiliar with our program and engage those who were excited in the opportunity to teach middle school students their passion. A nursing student at Holy Names University, Megan Allen, was excited when she learned that she could teach a healthy living nursing class to our sixth graders in Oakland. As was Komal Ahmad, a senior at UC Berkeley, who founded a student groups that aims to educate students about healthy eating and cooking. He quickly signed up to become a Citizen Teacher and asked when to expect an email about volunteer opportunities.

As an organization Citizen Schools aims to give our students access to some of the brightest and most dedicated volunteers and educators.  This conference allowed college students access to an organization that works every day turning passion into action. Holly Przybyla, the Campus Recruitment Manager for California, sat on an educational pathways panel to discuss the opportunities and benefits Citizen Schools provides to middle school students all over the nation. She also introduced the new certification program through REACH Institute, that gives Teaching Fellows the opportunity to earn a teaching credentials. Simultaneously, Sean Diaz, a second year Teaching Fellow in Oakland, CA attended an alumni panel and discussed his experience and how Citizen Schools has helped him develop as a leader and educator.




Five Ways Not to Get a Job - Resume Edition

As second-year Teaching Fellows begin to think about their next steps, and prospective applicants vie  for positions at Citizen Schools  our super-experienced recruitment team has some sage words of advice for all resume writers to consider:

  1. Watch your spelling:  For example, “Teach for American” is not an organization;  Teach for America is an organization.  And, although there are no points like the SAT test, spell your name correctly (mostly for your own sake).
  2. If you choose to have an objective, tailor it to the organization: If your career objective is to be like Steve Irwin, Animal Planet would be a better place to send your resume than an education reform organization. Things like Crocodile wrangling and Fortune Cookie Writing are specific skill-sets, not so easily transferable (although, on second thought, maybe crocodile wrangling is).
  3. Recruiters read your document title:  thisisawful.docx=#attachmentfail
  4. Recruiters read your email address: gives an….interesting impression.
  5. Put a correct number to reach you:  We’re not sure (but we’re pretty sure) you don’t want to put potential employers on par with people you’d just rather not speak to.What's the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a job interview?