Associate Board

The Breakthrough Greater Boston Associate Board (AB) is comprised of young professionals in the greater Boston area who are dedicated to Breakthrough’s work to create educational equity. Members of the AB play an integral role in achieving Breakthrough’s mission by serving as important ambassadors in the community. The AB is a volunteer group that works closely with the Executive Director, Board of Directors’ Governance Committee and Breakthrough staff.  

Kolleen Burbank, Co-Chair
Director of Content at ClassForward

Kolleen came to be a part of the Breakthrough community in the summer of 2008, when she taught 7th grade math with the program. She returned in 2009 as an 8th grade environmental service learning teacher and member of the leadership team. Since graduating from Dartmouth in 2009, Kolleen has found her niche in working with students. After a year running an AmeriCorps academic program for middle school students in rural New Hampshire, a year researching ADHD, she decided her true passion was in the classroom. Kolleen received a Master's from Harvard School of Education in 2012, and has since taught middle school in the Cambridge Public Schools and worked for an instructional coaching edtech company. The community she first felt at Breakthrough Greater Boston deeply influenced her values on education and she feels lucky to still be connected to so many people in the local education network.

Molly O'Donnell, Co-Chair
MPP and MBA Candidate at Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management

In her role as a Manager with the Reimagine Learning Fund, Molly leads work with New Profit’s network of 20 grantees, developing a learning community in which these grantees connect virtually and in person. Molly works with the Reimagine Learning team to provide monthly capacity building webinars, regular targeted advisory sessions, and connects grantees to one another and experts in the field to enhance their work. Molly also supports the Reimagine Learning regional strategy, managing the development of a case study on the Lawrence Acceleration Academies in Lawrence, MA and a strategic planning process in Salem, MA.

Prior to joining New Profit, Molly worked for Root Cause, a non-profit research and consulting firm in Boston. While at Root Cause Molly assessed non-profits on organizational and programmatic best practices and provided strategic recommendations and support to implement these practices. She also managed a collective impact working group providing training to 300 youth workers across the City of Boston and developing survey and assessment tools for all summer youth workforce programs in Boston. Prior to her work at Root Cause, Molly worked at an alternative school program called Open Schools NW in Portland, OR. While at Open Schools, she worked closely with teachers, school leaders, and families to develop strong support systems to keep students engaged and on track in school. As a liaison to Portland Public Schools, she co-created interventions and systems to support students identified as most at risk of dropping out. She also worked as a member of Equity Team and the Collaborative Action Research for Equity (CARE) team. These two teams worked to train educators on creating culturally relevant curriculum for students of color. Molly holds a Master’s of Public Policy and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Heller School at Brandeis University and a B.A. in International Affairs from Lewis & Clark College.

Bhanu Nadella
Associate, Institute of Strategy and Competitiveness

Bio Coming Soon!

Derek Whitney
Lead Business Analyst at Brown Brothers Harriman

Bio coming soon.

Heather Jankins
Director of Implementations at Kyruus

Heather currently works at Kyruus, a Boston-based, physician-led tech company committed to matching patients to the provider that is best suited to their needs. Prior to Kyruus, Heather worked for a number of hospital systems in the Boston area. Heather earned her B.A. from Dartmouth College.

While at Dartmouth, Heather came to realize how a background that encourages learning and academic success is critical to college acceptance and long term success. Heather became interested in Breakthrough after attending a number of community events - the enthusiasm the students showed for academics convinced Heather that BTGB is a unique and incredibly powerful program.

Jesse Choi
Associate at Bain Capital

Bio coming soon.

Karina Shaw

Bio coming soon!

Melanie Cannon
Development Assistant at Boston Medical Center

Melanie currently works at Boston Medical Center as a Development Associate on the Strategic Grant Initiatives team. Melanie works on grant proposals to the federal and state governments in addition to private foundations to raise money for Boston Medical Center, the largest safety net hospital and emergency services provider in New England. The majority of funds raised through grants support essential hospital programs, biomedical research, and clinical care. The hospital's mission to provide exceptional care without exception is what drew her to Boston Medical Center.

Melanie was first introduced to Breakthrough through a current Associate Board member at the 2015 Spring Gala. Hearing the student testimonials and learning more about what the organization does is what inspired her to become involved with BTGB.

Melanie graduated from Fairfield University with a B.A. in Professional Writing in 2012. Outside of work, Melanie enjoys traveling the world and spending time with friends.

Michael Protasewich
Co-Founder and COO at SubscriberVoice

Mike is currently on the founding team of a Boston-based tech startup. He was previously a Manager in the Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP.

Mike studied at Boston College and received a B.S. in Finance and Corporate Reporting. While at BC Mike was involved in volunteer initiatives including Youth Opportunity Boston through the PULSE program, Habitat for Humanity and the Appalachia Service Project. He continued to serve the Boston community while at EY through his involvement in Junior Achievement.

Mike’s involvement with Breakthrough Greater Boston began in 2014 when he became interested and inspired by the student testimonials at the Spring Gala.

Realizing Breakthrough’s mission was in line with similar programs Mike had been involved with and passionate about at BC and his time at EY, he sought to get formally involved to further the cause and applied to join the associate board.

Outside work, Mike enjoys spending time with family and friends and traveling.

Mike Burnes
Financial Analyst and Treasurer at The Great Lakes Group

Mike Burnes currently works as Vice President at the Great Lakes Group, where he and his team oversee marine construction and logistics operations. Prior to joining the Great Lakes Group, Mike worked at Ernst & Young as an Advisory and Audit manager.

Mike grew up in Milton, MA and attended Washington and Lee University, where he majored in philosophy and business and accounting. While at Washington and Lee, Mike served as the philanthropy chair of his fraternity and became involved with numerous volunteer organizations including the Ability Experience (Formerly PUSH America).

Mike’s involvement with Breakthrough began following a presentation at Ernst and Young and grew overtime through numerous Breakthrough events at EY. Mike has always felt very fortunate to have had a number of teachers who have gone above and beyond and acted as mentors throughout high school, college, and beyond. He was especially moved by the energy and excitement displayed by Breakthrough’s students and faculty while touring the Cambridge campus during the summer program during the summer of 2015. He is honored to serve on the associate board and work towards fufilling Breakthrough's mission. 

Nora Frias
Director of Graduate Support at Nativity Preparatory School

Nora Frias is currently the Director of Graduate Support at Nativity Preparatory School, a tuition-free, Jesuit middle school serving boys from low-income families in Boston. She oversees the high school placement process for the graduating 8th graders and continues to provide academic, social and financial support to graduates through high school. The Graduate Support program then supports students and families through the college application, matriculation, persistence, and completion process.

Educational access and equality have always been passions for Nora and she is committed to continuously serving underrepresented students to and through college. She has fostered this passion and commitment through prior experiences with the KIPP Charter school network, City Year, The Posse Foundation, and Options Through Education, a summer bridge program at Boston College.

Nora is a double Eagle with a B.A in Psychology and an M.A in Higher Education Administration from Boston College. It was through her work in the non-profit sector and through a friend and current board member that she was introduced to Breakthrough Greater Boston.

Ryan Sweeney
Senior Video Editor/Motion Graphics Creator at Lax Sports Network

Ryan is currently the Senior Video Editor/Motion Graphics Creator at Lax United Marketing, where for the past 7 years he has created a wide variety of digital and broadcast content for CBS Sports Network, Lax Sports Network and Major League Lacrosse. Prior to working with LUM he was a Production Assistant with the local NBC Affiliate WHDH-TV Boston.

Ryan studied at Ithaca College and received a B.S. in Television Video Production and a Minor in Business Administration in May of 2009.

Ryan became interested in working with Breakthrough Greater Boston after attending the 2014 Spring Gala with a current board member. He was quickly inspired by BTGB's mission for educational equity after experiencing the passion and excitement of both the students and staff first hand. 

Valerie Eisenson
Teach For America Teacher at Chelsea High School

Valerie joined Breakthrough as a writing teacher in Cambridge in the summer of 2014. She grew up in Wayland, MA, and attended Yale University, where she earned a B.A. in American Studies. While at Yale, Valerie taught health classes in the New Haven Public Schools and led hiking trips in the mountain ranges of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York.

After graduating from Yale, Valerie continued teaching by joining the Teach For America Corps in the Greater Boston area. She is currently teaching ESL Math in the newcomer program at Chelsea High School, as well as pursuing a Masters in Education from Boston University.

After spending a summer with Breakthrough, she saw the incredible support and inspiration that the organization provides to its students. Valerie is excited to be continuing her involvement with Breakthrough through the Associate Board. 

Winnie Huang
Associate at Education Resource Strategies

Winnie became a part of the Breakthrough family in the summer of 2012, when she taught 9th grade Biology with Breakthrough New York. Since then, she has continued to pursue her passion in education through her work at a college-mentoring program, ReadySetLaunch, and with the Policy department at Recovery School District in New Orleans.

Winnie received her B.A. from Yale University in Psychology. Currently, Winnie works at Education Resource Strategies, a non-profit consulting organization that analyzes how resource use- people, time and money- can improve student achievement. She joined the Breakthrough Associate Board in 2015 to stay connected with the Breakthrough family, and to find ways to continue to support the incredible learning that happens for Breakthrough teachers and students.

Winston Tuggle
Manager of People Operations and Development at The Bowdoin Group

Bio coming soon.


Alita Edelman-Brown
Customer Success Manager at mParticle

Jessye Smith
Senior Manager of R&D Business Operations at Biogen

Jon Wu
MBA Candidate at Harvard Business School

Michael O'Leary
Senior Associate at Bain Capital Double Impact

Presceia Cooper
Director of Community Engagement at the Institute for Nonprofit Practice

Robbie Greenglass
Managing Director at Waterline Ventures

Sean Crowley
MBA Candidate at Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

Tim McGee
Human Resources and Training Manager at The Briar Group

Will Chrysanthos
National Service Consultant

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