John Hiester

Executive Director

Effective May 15, 2017, John Hiester joined Breakthrough Silicon Valley as executive director.

Over a 15-year career, John has dedicated his professional life to educational equity and helping young people realize their full potential. This deep-seated commitment makes him a natural fit to lead Breakthrough Silicon Valley in its next chapter. 

John brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Over the past six years, he served in a variety of leadership capacities for Year Up, an organization preparing low-income young adults for careers through college credits, hands-on training, wraparound support, and internships.

Most recently, he served as director of operations and strategic planning for Year Up Bay Area. Previously, he was founding site director of Year Up Bay Area's Silicon Valley campus as well as launch lead for Year Up’s expansion into Arizona. At YUBA, John managed a $16 million operating budget and oversaw recruitment, talent development, human resources, facilities, and strategic planning.

John has also served on the board and as a committee member for several local community organizations including the Santa Clara County Opportunity Youth Partnership, All-Stars Helping Kids, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, among others. 

Greg Murphy, Breakthrough Silicon Valley board chair, says, “John has proven his ability to build and lead organizations in a fast-paced, mission-driven environment. He brings experience and innovative thinking to BSV that will help us build an ‘ecosystem’ to amplify our impact.”

At the end of January 2017, we bid a fond farewell to Melissa Johns as she left to join Silicon Valley Children's Fund after five highly successful years as Breakthrough Silicon Valley's executive director. Under Melissa's leadership, BSV expanded programming into a second school district, effectively doubling our capacity to serve low-income, first-generation San Jose students on the path to college. With John Hiester, Breakthrough welcomes a seasoned nonprofit professional who shares the unwavering conviction that all young people deserve access to high-quality educational opportunities regardless of their zip code or socioeconomic status.

Click here for a series of in-depth Q&As with John.

When we, as a society, step up and commit to providing real educational opportunities to those who most need them, the benefits are real, measurable, and game-changing for everyone. This is work that I’ve been involved in for almost 15 years. I just can’t imagine doing anything else.”
— John Hiester, Breakthrough Silicon Valley Executive Director



Thank you for your support! Please provide us with your complete contact information by checking the "Share my information..." box on the payment page. This allows us to send you a donor acknowledgement letter for your tax filing purposes.

Click here to continue