Amee Naik, Senior Director of High School Programs
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 Senior Director of High School Programs, she supports all Breakthrough 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.
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.
Kelly Alfaro, Director of Student Services (Cambridge)
Kelly joined the Breakthrough Greater Boston team in June 2015 as the Director of Student Services. Kelly’s professional career in education began at her alma mater, Saint Anselm College, where she served various roles in the Office of Admission leading diversity initiatives, recruiting, and assisting high school students from select communities during their transition to higher education. Following this, Kelly was the High School Placement and Transitions Manager for Brooke Charter Schools, where she mentored over one hundred scholars and their families in finding the best high school fit while tracking their academic and social transition to 9th grade. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Kelly served as the Program Manager for Phoenix Charter Academy, where she worked with 16 AmeriCorps Fellows and was a part of the School Leadership Team. She has her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Anselm College and Master’s in Education from Boston University. In her free time she enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and spending time with her Little Sister.
Kendra Stern, Development Manager
Kendra joined the Breakthrough Greater Boston team in June of 2015 by way of the Advancement Division at the Museum of Science, Boston. Since the outset of her professional career, Kendra has been involved with several museums and education nonprofits, fueling a passion for social justice and access to quality learning experiences. Kendra graduated from Amherst College with a Bachelor’s degree in Art History and Spanish, and is currently working toward a Master’s of Science at Boston University in Arts Administration. In her spare time she enjoys being in the company of loved ones, and is a lifelong athlete devoted to swimming, running, hiking, and skiing.
Lakiyra ‘Oompa’ Williams, Director 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 Director of Student Services at the Boston Campus, 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.
Natasha Terhorst, Operations Associate
Natasha joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in July 2014. As Breakthrough’s Operations Associate, Natasha is responsible for ensuring the smooth day-to-day operations of the organization, particularly in the areas of office administration, financial management, human resources, and technology. Natasha graduated from Columbia University in 2012 with a BA in history. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Natasha worked on both the program and the operations teams at Community for Education Foundation, an education nonprofit based in New York City. Natasha was born and raised in Cambridge and is thrilled to be back in the Boston area. In her free time, Natasha enjoys baking, reading, skiing, and spending time with friends, family, and her dog Riley.
Paulina Murton, Senior Director of Middle School Programs
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 the Senior Director of Middle School Programs, Paulina oversees all of Breakthrough’s academic programming for 7th and 8th grade students, ensuring that they develop a love for learning as well as the skills necessary to be successful in college and beyond. She also works to support Breakthrough’s Teaching Fellows, 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 daughters Elsa and Karina.
Peter Lorinser, High School Program Manager
Peter joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in June of 2015 after three years at Boston Collegiate Charter School in Dorchester, Massachusetts, as a high school special education teacher. Prior to joining Boston Collegiate Charter School, Peter worked for Teach For America Massachusetts as the Assistant to the Executive Director. Peter graduated from The College of the Holy Cross in 2010 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and went on to receive a Master’s in Education from Boston University in 2014. In his free time, Peter enjoys running, playing hockey with his college teammates from Holy Cross, playing golf, traveling, and spending time with his nieces in Wisconsin.
Rafaella Pontes, Commonwealth Corps Program Fellow (Cambridge)
Raffi joined the team at Breakthrough Greater Boston in August 2015. As a Commonwealth Corps Program Fellow with the Massachusetts Service Alliance, Raffi is focusing on enhancing the Academic Mentoring and Study Hall Plus programs for high school students at Breakthrough’s Cambridge Campus. Raffi recently graduated from Skidmore College with a BA in Chemistry, where she worked as a peer tutor and teaching assistant for the department. While in Saratoga Springs, Raffi also volunteered with the S.M.A.R.T. program, tutoring elementary school students in reading and math skills. A Boston native, Raffi is excited to be back and to be serving her community. In her free time, Raffi enjoys volunteering, learning ceramics, tap dancing, and drinking coffee.
Sebastián Villa, AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow Student Support Coordinator
Sebastián joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in August 2015 as the AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow Student Support Coordinator. In this role, Sebastián is focusing on volunteer recruitment and retention for our middle school and high school programs; he is also providing additional academic support for a cohort of our middle school students. Prior to joining Breakthrough Greater Boston, Sebastián worked as a Jesuit Volunteer Corps Paralegal at the Legal Aid of North Carolina, completing immigration work for undocumented women who were also survivors of domestic abuse and/or sexual assault. Sebastián graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 2014 with a B.A. in History and a concentration in Gender Studies and is currently working towards a Certificate in Nonprofit Management at Northeastern University. In his spare time, Sebastián loves to play soccer, learn about other cultures, listen to podcasts, and spend time with his mom and cat, Josephina.
Shoko Fox, Director of Curriculum and Instruction (Cambridge)
Shoko first became involved with the Breakthrough Collaborative as a teacher at Breakthrough Manchester in the summers of 2006 and 2007. Her experience there led her to pursue a career in education, first at the Teacher Residency program at the MATCH School in Boston, and later as a 7th grade teacher at KIPP DC, a public charter school in Washington DC, where she taught math and science for four years. She is thrilled to be a part of the Breakthrough family again as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In this role, Shoko 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. Shoko received her B.A in Political Science and International Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Outside of Breakthrough, Shoko enjoys cooking, traveling, and taking long walks to explore Boston with her husband and dog.