Our Staff

Amee Naik, Senior Director of High School Programs

B.S., Washington University in St. Louis
M.A. in Child and Adolescent Development, Tufts University

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. 

In her free time, Amee enjoys reading, baking, and exploring a newfound interest in photography.

Elissa Spelman, Executive Director

B.S. in Education, Boston College
M.A., Harvard Graduate School of Education

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. 

When not busy at Breakthrough, Elissa spends time with family and friends, enjoys food of all kinds, and volunteers regularly.

Emily Abdelmaseh, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, AmeriCorps VISTA

B.A. in Business Communications and Women's Studies, University of New Hampshire

Emily became involved with Breakthrough in August of 2016 through the Boston Cares AmeriCorps VISTA Project. She will complete a year of service with us as our Marketing and Communications Coordinator, focusing her efforts on creating and implementing sustainable marketing and communications initiatives to build BTGB's capacity. Prior to joining our team, Emily worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire and the Office of Community, Equity, and Diversity at her alma mater.

When not at Breakthrough, Emily enjoys crafting, snacking, and the great outdoors.

Jennifer Corwin, Director of Operations

B.S. in Business Administration: Finance, Northeastern University
M.Ed. in Education Policy and Management, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Jennifer joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in 2016. As the Director of Operations, Jennifer supports BTGB programs by managing the day-to-day operations including human resources, informational technology, finance, and other administrative duties. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Jennifer was the founding Director of Operations at Brooke Charter School East Boston. 

Jennifer's favorite subject in school was math because she loved the way numbers could be manipulated to tell a story and to solve real problems. Her fascination with numbers has continued throughout her career, and she can often be found working in an Excel spreadsheet.

Jocelyn Coo, Manager of Student Services (Boston)

B.A. in Psychology, Northeastern University

Jocelyn joined the Breakthrough team in June of 2016. She had her first experience working with students while in college, volunteering with programs such as Jumpstart and Peace Through Play. While hoping to find a summer internship after her freshman year, she stumbled across Breakthrough in Manchester, New Hampshire. She taught throughout the summers of 2008 and 2009 at Breakthrough Manchester teaching English, Geography and Civil Rights. After graduating from college, she returned to Breakthrough Manchester as their Operations Manager. Jocelyn's first year after graduating was spent as a MATCH Corps member at MATCH Middle School in Jamaica Plain. Jocelyn has been teaching at UPAcademy Boston for the past four years as a 6th grade ELA teacher. 

In her free time, she enjoys photography, reading, spending time with friends and attending events in the Boston area such as spoken word competitions and seasonal festivals.

Joshua Hahn, Development Manager

B.A. in Music, Tufts University
M.M., Rice University

In his role as Development Manager at Breakthrough Greater Boston, Joshua writes grants to provide critical funding for the organization, and works to deepen relationships with a wide variety of institutional funders. Josh also plans Breakthrough’s special events and crafts communications for donor constituents. Prior to working at Breakthrough, Josh managed a small arts non-profit, Symphony Nova, an organization that develops the careers of talented, emerging musicians.

In his spare time, he composes music, plays the flute, and enjoys cooking.

Kelly Alfaro, Director of Student Services (Cambridge)

B.A., Saint Anselm College
M.Ed., Boston University

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. 

In her free time she enjoys traveling, cooking, reading, and spending time with her Little Sister.

Kristie Loftus, Director of Development

B.A. in Sociology, Villanova University

Kristie joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in 2017. As the Director of Development, Kristie leads BTGB’s fundraising efforts. Kristie comes to us from City on a Hill, a network of charter public high schools offering a high-quality college preparatory education to students in Boston and New Bedford, where she served as their Chief Development Officer. In this role, she successfully led the fundraising campaign that allowed City on a Hill to open two new schools and triple the number of students it serves each year. Prior to City on a Hill, Kristie worked in development and program at a number of non-profits in the Boston area including Project Place and Community Resources for Justice.

Outside of Breakthrough, Kristie enjoys running, snowboarding, and spending time with her husband, Travis, and children, Cole and Wyatt.

Lyndsea Arikian, Manager of Curriculum and Instruction (Boston)

B.A. in American Studies, American University
M.A.T. in Secondary Education, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Lyndsea joined the Breakthrough Greater Boston team in June 2016 as the Manager of Curriculum and Instruction. Lyndsea’s love for teaching began during her undergraduate years, where she served for two years as an AmeriCorps Teaching Fellow in Washington, D.C. Following graduation, Lyndsea joined Teach for America as a high school Social Studies teacher in Charlotte, N.C., where she taught for four years. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Lyndsea spent a year teaching middle school English language learners in Kolkata, India on a Fulbright grant. 

In her free time, she enjoys traveling, learning new languages, practicing yoga, and spending time with friends, family, and her cat Doodlebug.

Nicole Eduwensuyi, Student Support Coordinator, AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow

B.A. in Philosophy and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston

Nicole Eduwensuyi is participating in a service year with the AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellowship. She earned her undergraduate degree in 2016, and is currently furthering her education at Northeastern University, where she is pursuing a M.A. in Leadership. Prior to joining the Breakthrough Greater Boston team in August 2016, Nicole interned with Families for Excellent Schools and Democrats for Education Reform. She has also actively volunteered with Brooke Charter Schools as a member of their Alumni Affairs Committee.

Paulina Murton, Senior Director of Middle School Programs

B.A. in American Literature, Middlebury College
M.A.T., Brown University

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.

Outside of Breakthrough, Paulina enjoys reading, traveling, eating good Mexican food and spending time with her husband Chris and mischievous daughters Elsa and Karina.

Rafaella Pontes, Student Support Coordinator, AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow

B.A. in Chemistry, Skidmore College

Rafaella Pontes has rejoined BTGB for a second year of service. As an AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow Student Support Coordinator, Raffi is focusing on providing direct academic support to Breakthrough students, assisting with volunteer recruitment and retention, and increasing capacity for Breakthrough’s College Access Program. Raffi graduated from Skidmore College with a BA in Chemistry, where she worked as a peer tutor and teaching assistant for the department.

In her free time, Raffi enjoys volunteering, taking dance classes, and drinking coffee.

Shoko Fox, Director of Curriculum and Instruction (Cambridge)

B.A. in Political Science and International Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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.

Outside of Breakthrough, Shoko enjoys cooking, traveling, and taking long walks to explore Boston with her husband and dog.

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