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Headshot Nick Mathern


Director, K12 Partnerships

As director of K12 partnerships for Achieving the Dream, Nick Mathern directs ATD’s agenda for K–12/college partnerships and guides the delivery of services to Gateway to College network. Nick leads an innovative team focused on creating more equitable access to college-in-high-school experiences and more holistic, supportive pathways to and through postsecondary education. He also represents ATD as a member of the College in High School Alliance steering committee.  

Nick joined the organization when Gateway to College National Network merged with ATD in 2019. In multiple roles with GtCNN, he brokered agreements between colleges, school districts, and state education agencies to replicate Gateway to College programs in more than 50 communities. He developed programs for out-of-school youth; foster-, adjudicated, and homeless youth; as well as first-generation and low-income college students. Nick also led Gateway’s policy and advocacy efforts, improving pathways, funding, and appropriate accountability systems for opportunity youth to reengage with education and achieve post-secondary success. 

Before working in higher education, Nick taught in a small alternative high school in Portland, OR. Nick’s previous career in social services included child abuse prevention, serving survivors of domestic violence, and working with adjudicated youth and adults. 


M.A. (Public Administration, focus in education policy) | Hatfield School of Government, Portland State University 

B.A. (Sociology) | Drake University

Past Experience 

Vice President, Programs | Gateway to College National Network 

Assoc. Vice President, Policy & Partnership Development | Gateway to College National Network 

Training Coordinator | Portland Community College 


How has education changed your life/your family? 

My mother was a teacher and I was fortunate to grow up in a family that prioritized education. I always felt a strong sense of belonging with school and had the privilege of an educational journey that promised to go as far as my stamina and curiosity would take me. Finding a career in education has meant that sense of belonging continues whenever I step foot on a college campus, and I am hopeful that my work will contribute to a similar experience for students who don’t share my privilege.

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