Amee Naik, Senior Director of High School Programs
Connor Dalton, Operations and Human Resources Associate
Emma Samler, Director of Development and Partnerships
Michael Vallejo, Manager of Student Services (Boston)
Michael first became involved with Breakthrough as a Teaching Fellow in the summer of 2015. As Manager of Student Services, Michael oversees all aspects of student and family support services as well as program management for our seventh and eighth-grade school-year and summer programs in Boston. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Michael was a Program Advisor for the College Success Academy with The Steppingstone Foundation.
In his free time, Michael enjoys running, working out, reading, and exploring restaurants in the Boston area.
Brian Vallimont, Director of Operations
Master of Theological Study, Social Ethics and Justice, Boston College
M.B.A., Boston University Questrom School of Business
Bio to come!
Evan Soken, Director of College Access Programs
Evan joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in 2017. As Director of College Access Programs, Evan oversees all supports and programming for 11th and 12th grade students and families in Boston and Cambridge. Through workshops, individual meetings, and connections to academic and test preparation resources, he ensures that Breakthrough students reach their goal of attending college. Prior to joining Breakthrough, he worked as a Senior Access Counselor at Bottom Line, coaching high school seniors through the college application and financial aid processes. Outside of the office, you can find Evan exploring Massachusetts on his bike, hunting for new music, or cooking.
Jennie McDonald-Brown, Somerville Site Director
Paulina Murton, Senior Director of Middle School Programs
M.A.T., Brown University
Paulina joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in 2014. As Senior Director of Middle School Programs, Paulina oversees Breakthrough’s academic programming for 7th and 8th grade students at our Cambridge and Dorchester campuses, ensuring that students develop a love for learning as well as the skills necessary to be successful in college and beyond. She also supports Breakthrough’s Teacher Training program, working to ensure our young teachers are prepared and inspired to enter the field of education. Prior to joining the Breakthrough Greater Boston team, Paulina worked as a director at Breakthrough Austin as well as a high school English teacher.
Paulina’s favorite Breakthrough memories often center around the amazing end of summer celebration event — the student work showcase, the testimonials, the cheers, the proud families and the clear bond between students and Teaching Fellows make it an unforgettable night each summer!
Shoko Fox, Director of Teaching, Learning and Evaluation
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.
David Robinson, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
David joined the Breakthrough Greater Boston team in 2019 as Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Cambridge campus. In this role, David oversees all aspects of teaching and learning for our middle school students over the summer and throughout the school year. David works closely with Teaching Fellows and Instructional Coaches to ensure that students receive high-quality curriculum and classroom instruction.
Prior to joining Breakthrough, David taught 5th grade math and science in Cleveland, Ohio with Teach for America. After a few years in Cleveland, David taught 6th and 4th grade math and science at Brooke Charter Schools and Boston Public Schools.
In David’s free time, he enjoys playing basketball, running outside, and playing board games with friends.
Elissa Spelman, Executive Director
Elissa first joined Breakthrough Greater Boston as a Board Member, working actively on the Strategic Planning and Program Committees. She became the Executive Director in 2009 and has since set the vision and guided Breakthrough’s strategic growth into Boston and Somerville (summer 2018). Prior to joining Breakthrough, Elissa was the first 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. Her favorite Breakthrough memory is watching our inaugural class of students in Boston fall in love with the Breakthrough traditions, culture, and spirit.
Lauren Hurley, FAO Schwarz Fellow
Lauren first became involved with Breakthrough Collaborative as a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough Norfolk Academy in the summer of 2017. She joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in 2018 as a FAO Schwarz Fellow. Lauren divides her time between providing individualized support for 9th and 10th graders during after-school programming and playing a lead role in launching a new alumni engagement program to engage student and teacher alumni.
In her free time, Lauren enjoys playing soccer and biking around the Somerville area.
Valerie Coimbra, Director of Student Services (Cambridge)
B.A. in Ethnic Studies and Spanish & Portuguese, Vanderbilt University
M.S. in Education, Johns Hopkins University
Sarah Kelly, Director of Major Gifts