Monique Shields, Breakthrough Atlanta Executive Director

ATLANTA, GA (January 22, 2018) – Breakthrough Atlanta (BTA), in its twenty-second year of pursuing its mission to put Atlanta public school students on a six-year pathway to college, has announced the appointment of Monique Shields as the organization’s new executive director. Shields will begin in her new role on Monday, January 29.

“We are very excited to welcome Monique to the Breakthrough Atlanta team,” said David Ghegan, Chairman of the Board of Breakthrough Atlanta. “Monique’s leadership experience in the nonprofit sector and her extensive relationships in the Atlanta community make her the ideal choice to lead Breakthrough into its exciting next chapter.”

Shields has enjoyed a nearly twenty-year career in the nonprofit sector, most recently serving as Chief Operating Officer at Hands On Atlanta. There she led programs, planning and evaluation, HR, facilities, IT and finance. Prior to joining Hands On Atlanta in 1999, Monique worked at The Atlanta Project/Carter Collaboration Center, where she coordinated diversity, affordable housing, public health and youth development initiatives. She also consulted with Cool Girls, Inc. as a curriculum developer and with National CASA in program evaluations.

“The common thread in my career – and what draws me to Breakthrough Atlanta – is service to children. My parents instilled the belief that children don’t ask to be born and, therefore, deserve the very best that their families and communities can offer,” said Shields. “That has been a guiding principle in my life.” Her vision and dedication to serving children led Hands-On Atlanta to be awarded the Atlanta Public Schools Partner of the Year in 2016.

Shields, a Denver native, is an alumna of Iowa State and Georgia State Universities.

About Breakthrough Atlanta
Breakthrough Atlanta’s programs help middle and high school students develop the academic skills and study habits to enroll and succeed in college–and, ultimately, in life.

BTA celebrated its inaugural summer in 1996 on the campus of The Lovett School. Its mission is two-fold: to provide an academically intense pathway to college for motivated metro Atlanta public school students to encourage academic success; and to provide an intensive hands-on teacher training experience (internship) for high school and college students, inspiring a new generation of teachers.

Breakthrough Atlanta is a member of a thriving national network called Breakthrough Collaborative. There are 24 Breakthrough sites across the U.S. and one in Hong Kong. Breakthrough Atlanta students come from metro Atlanta public schools and represent more than 75 zip codes. More than 95% of BTA students go on to college. For more information, please visit

Jen Sarginson – (404) 262-3032 or