Our Staff

Amee Naik, High School Program Director (Cambridge)

Amee started at Breakthrough Greater Boston in 2009 as the College Access Coordinator, working to help our high school juniors and seniors navigate the college search and application process. As the High School Program Director, she supports all BTC high school students by working with families, teachers, and guidance counselors to provide them with the supports and resources needed to succeed throughout high school and ultimately enroll in a 4-year college or university. Prior to joining the Breakthrough team, Amee worked as an admissions officer for her alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. She has also received her M.A. in child and adolescent development from Tufts University. In her free time, Amee enjoys reading, baking, and exploring a newfound interest in photography.

Amy Kingman, Director of Advancement

Amy Kingman joined the Breakthrough Greater Boston team in March of 2014. As the Director of Advancement, Amy is responsible for generating financial and community resources to support Breakthrough's mission. Most recently, Amy was the Boston Executive Director for Strong Women, Strong Girls, a mentoring program working to raising the aspirations of girls in low-income communities.

Amy has dedicated her professional career to increasing opportunities for all young people and comes to Breakthrough with over eight years of development experience including serving as the Director of Development for Mass Mentoring Partnership and the Elizabeth Stone House. Amy has a Master's Degree in Social Work with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Skidmore College. She currently serves on the steering committee of Women in Nonprofits, the Youth Villages Women of Excellence selection committee and is a volunteer with Adoption and Foster Care Mentoring. In her free time, Amy enjoys cheering on the Boston Red Sox, visiting friends and family in Maine and Cape Cod, traveling, and learning to ski.

Danny Hikes, Director of Student Services (Cambridge)

Danny taught in the Breakthrough Greater Boston Summer Program for three consecutive summers during college, sparking a career in education and youth services. Danny has worked for the Gately Youth Center as the Family Liaison managing the homework center, supporting the youth's academic improvement and running fun after school activities. He also worked at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School as a swim instructor for elementary through high school students. As Director of Student Services, Danny is responsible for the overall success of our students. He oversees a range of support services that we provide to our students and maintains regular communication with their families and school year teachers. Danny manages our Tutoring Program and Family Advisory Board. Danny holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Relations and Educational Program Development from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During his free time, Danny enjoys spending time with family, cooking and biking.

David Forte, Development Associate

David joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in July 2012. Prior to joining the Breakthrough team, David worked as the Program Evaluation and Database Coordinator for The Mockingbird Society, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to improving the foster care system, and as a volunteer consultant with NuSol Capacity Fund, a start-up specializing in solar energy installation in the developing world. In these roles, David gained several years of development experience, supporting fundraising, reporting, program evaluation, and event planning efforts. At Breakthrough, David manages the organization’s grants portfolio, supports individual and corporate giving efforts and works on communications. David received his Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington and his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. In his personal time, David enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, riding his bicycle, and taking his dog Lance to the park.

Elissa Spelman, Executive Director

Elissa first joined Breakthrough Greater Boston as a Board Member, working actively on the Strategic Planning and Program Committees. She was thrilled to become even more involved with an organization for which she has such deep respect. Elissa's previous post was as the first-ever Director of the Wellington Management Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting education programs for low-income youth, including some of the affiliate sites of the Breakthrough Collaborative! Elissa has broad experience in the field of education and has also worked with nonprofits focused on foster care, adoption and domestic violence. Elissa began her career as a third grade teacher at the Neighborhood House Charter School in Dorchester, MA and has taught in a variety of settings. Elissa received her M.A. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and has a bachelor's degree in education from Boston College. When not busy at Breakthrough, Elissa spends time with family and friends, enjoys food of all kinds, and volunteers regularly.

Lakiyra ‘Oompa’ Williams, Manager of Student Services (Boston)

Lakiyra ("Oompa") first came to the Breakthrough Greater Boston family as a teacher during college and has been in love ever since. Lakiyra discovered her passion for education in high school and has held roles such as mentor, tutor, TA, counselor, and teacher at organizations including the Dimock SmartKids After School program, Project Alerta at the University of Massachusetts, WEATOC and Crossroads4Kids' Camp Mitton. As Breakthrough's Manager of Student Services, she supports students and their families to ensure that students are successful throughout their six-year Breakthrough journey. Lakiyra holds a bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in Education from Bucknell University where she was a Posse Scholar. She is also a proud alumna of the Boston Public Schools. In her free time she enjoys writing and performing Spoken Word poetry and Hip-Hop music and spending time with her nephews.

Paulina Murton, Director of Curriculum and Instruction (Boston)

Paulina first joined the Breakthrough community as an instructional coach with Breakthrough Greater Boston in 2009. Over the last decade, Paulina has worked as a high school English teacher, school advisory coordinator, curriculum writer, and most recently as Director of Programs and Curriculum at Breakthrough Austin. In her role as Director of Curriculum and Instruction at our Boston site, Paulina oversees academic programming, ensuring that all students develop a love for learning as well as the skills necessary to be successful in college and beyond. She also works to support our teaching interns, providing ongoing professional development to ensure that our young teachers are prepared and inspired to enter the field of education. Paulina received her B.A in American Literature from Middlebury College and her M.A.T. from Brown University. Outside of Breakthrough, Paulina enjoys reading, traveling, eating good Mexican food and spending time with her husband Chris and mischievous daughter Elsa.

Rupal Jain, Director of Curriculum and Instruction (Cambridge)

Rupal first entered the Breakthrough Greater Boston community as a Summer Program Teacher and has been connected ever since. Over the last decade Rupal has worked as a classroom teacher, curriculum developer, and teacher trainer in public and private schools, in the US and abroad. While teaching on the west coast, she made a point to remain involved with Breakthrough, serving as a Mentor Teacher at the San Francisco site. Rupal was named Teacher of the Year by her school in 2009. In 2011, Rupal returned to Breakthrough Cambridge to share her expertise as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In this role, Rupal oversees academic programming for our 7th-9th grade students and our Teacher Training Program. She ensures that all students benefit from rigorous, engaging curriculum and effective, differentiated instruction while our teachers are provided the best possible introduction to the field of education. Rupal received her M.A. and B.S. in Education from the University of Connecticut. Outside of Breakthrough, Rupal enjoys traveling with family, cheering on Boston sports teams, and exploring local bookstores and libraries.

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