Our Board of Directors

The Breakthrough Greater Boston Board of Directors is comprised of highly motivated, talented, and dedicated professionals who are dedicated to Breakthrough’s work to create educational equity. The BTGB Board of Directors has approximately 20 members from a variety of backgrounds, all dedicated to shaping and supporting a highly successful organization by contributing individual skills and assets. Through membership on the Board of Directors, individuals provide leadership, governance, and management support to the organization. Board members have the opportunity to connect with other professionals and organizations in the community, support the academic achievement and college access of motivated middle school students, provide unique opportunities for young people to explore teaching as a profession, and contribute their individual skills, strengths, and creative thinking to further the impact of Breakthrough Greater Boston. To learn more about joining the BTGB Board of Directors, contact Andrew Jackson, Director of Development and Partnerships, at ajackson@btgbmail.org.

Melanie Forbes Goins, Chair

General Counsel, 1stdibs.com  

Melanie is General Counsel at 1stdibs.com. Prior to joining 1stdibs.com, Melanie was General Counsel at Care.com providing transactional and strategic advice to the largest online destination for finding and managing family care during the company’s growth from late-stage start-up to a public company. She was also previously General Counsel at Catalant Technologies, a company whose technology platform and programs enable companies to get mission-critical work done faster, and a Senior Associate at WilmerHale, practicing in the firm’s corporate group. While at WilmerHale, Melanie volunteered with the Citizen Schools’ Discovering Justice Apprenticeship program. Melanie received her JD from Harvard Law School and her AB in social studies from Harvard College. 

Melanie is passionate about Breakthrough Greater Boston’s teacher training mission and believes that we are changing student outcomes on a broad scale by changing the face of urban education. Meeting the students, teachers, and staff who participate in Breakthrough always leaves her inspired by the excellence that is infused throughout the organization. She is excited by the proven success of the program and looks forward to seeing success as BTGB continues to grow. 

Anita Hastir

Breakthrough Parent

Bio coming soon!

Emily Newmann

Bio coming soon!

Kara Bixby, Clerk

Owner and Evaluation Director, WithInsight 

Kara is the Owner and Evaluation Director at WithInsight working to develop strategic evaluation systems, create capacity-building structures, and provide instructional and facilitative support to nonprofits, foundations, and schools. Before joining WithInsight, Kara worked as the Director of Research & Evaluation at Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation and a Senior Evaluation Specialist with Minneapolis Public Schools. She received her B.A. in International Political Economy and German from Fordham University and completed a Fulbright Research Fellowship in Germany after graduation. She received her Master of Public Policy in Education Policy Analysis from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.  

Kara is passionate about educational equity and ensuring all young people have opportunities and access to realize their dreams. She believes Breakthrough has an innovative, high-quality program model that helps young people access opportunities they would not otherwise have and realize those dreams. 

Martin Hayes

Director and Chief of Staff, AbbVie Global Neuroscience Research

Martin is a Director and Chief of Staff for AbbVie’s Global Neuroscience Research organization based in Cambridge where he has worked for two decades as both a scientist and an organizational leader. He is passionate about the power of education to transform lives and erase opportunity gaps in our society. Martin grew up outside of St Louis in a multi-racial household, attended both public schools in Ferguson, MO and a private prep school in Exeter, NH. He is also married with two children and in his spare time is an avid cyclist.

Shella Dennery

Director of Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships (BCHNP)

Shella is the director of the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (BCHNP), a school-based behavioral health program in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Boston Children’s Hospital.  BCHNP’s purpose is to promote the social, emotional, and behavioral health and well-being of students, caregivers, and staff in partnership with Boston Public Schools.  The program collaborates with community members and organizations to provide clinical care, consultation, professional development, research, and advocacy. She earned her PhD from Smith College, MSW from Simmons University, and BS from Lesley University. Shella is adjunct faculty in social work at both Simmons University and Boston College and is an Instructor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

Shella has spent the majority of her career working as a social worker in the Boston Public Schools and teaching and consulting on behavioral health-related topics in community settings. She partners with the Children’s Mental Health Campaign to advocate for increased access to care and systemic change in behavioral healthcare for youth across Massachusetts.

As a first generation college graduate, Shella is deeply invested in supporting educational opportunities for all youth and brings this passion to her work on the board of directors at  Breakthrough. 



Jeff Davis, Treasurer

Partner, Ernst & Young LLP 

Jeff has been a Partner in Ernst & Young LLP’s Financial Services Practice for 20 years. He is the Financial Services Office New England DEI Leader. Jeff’s passion for educational equity is driven by his belief that it is the best opportunity to drive systemic change.

He believes deeply in Breakthrough’s dual mission to prepare low-income students for success in college and train the next generation of urban teachers using a unique Students Teaching Students model. He joined the Board and chairs the Board’s finance committee to support Breakthrough in meeting those critically important goals. Jeff’s wife and his children Benjamin and Lucy live in Lexington and love to travel.

Anne Goldenheim

Community Volunteer  

Anne has a career in educational testing for learning and neurological issues in children and adults. She is also a dedicated community volunteer with a long history of service in schools and children-centered non-profits.  

Over the years, Anne has seen first-hand the impact of Breakthrough’s mission to promote careers in education using a unique Students Teaching Students model. Two of Anne’s children and one of her nieces were Summerbridge/Breakthrough teachers; all have gone on to careers in education. 

Imtiyaz Hossain

Bio coming soon!

Lili Palacios Baldwin

Tufts University, Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment and Litigation

Lili Palacios-Baldwin joined the Breakthrough Board of Directors in the summer of 2021 and is excited to support Breakthrough’s mission of inspiring excitement for learning, creating pathways to college, and promoting careers in education.  As Deputy General Counsel for Labor, Employment and Litigation at Tufts University, she has had the opportunity to work for almost a decade as part of a diverse, innovative and inspiring community of both students and teachers which has informed her interest in and support for Breakthrough.  Lili was born in Caracas, Venezuela and raised in a bi-lingual, bi-cultural home in Massachusetts where the importance of education, community involvement and service were among the principal values instilled by her parents.

Lili has been a lawyer for over twenty years and has worked as an attorney in the law firms of Robinson & Cole, LLP and Hirsch Roberts Weinstein LLP, and as a Senior Trial Attorney with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she litigated employment discrimination cases throughout New England, New York, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  She is also a daughter, a wife, a mother of two really awesome kiddos, a yoga teacher, and a lover of music, African drumming, and cooking (and eating) delicious foods. Lili looks forward to finding ways to bring her whole self, skills and experience to the Breakthrough Board and in further support of the success of the organization.

Mohamed Abdi

Bio coming soon!

Terry Sanz

Senior Vice President of Strategy and Execution at Voya Financial (retired) 

Terry is a senior finance executive with a strong operational background and demonstrated success in driving change within large, complex organizations. Terry is currently the Chair of the Finance Committee at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School. Previously, he was the Senior Vice President and Group Chief Financial Officer at Fidelity Investments and the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Execution at Voya Financial. 

Terry, a first-generation college graduate and the grandson of immigrants, received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Northeastern University and his MBA from Harvard Business School. He and his wife Sabrina have two daughters who have now become second generation college graduates. Terry has supported achievement and equity in education through his service on four different non-profit organization boards with education focused missions. He is excited to be a part of the Breakthrough community because he believes in the transformational impact of education for everyone. 

Yolanda Kodrzycki, Vice Chair

VP and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (retired) 

Yolanda Kodrzycki is a retired vice president and senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Capping her extensive career at the Boston Fed, she served as the director of its New England Public Policy Center. The Center conducts research on key economic and policy issues in New England and engages with regional partners in advancing identified policy options. Among her past positions, Yolanda served as a resident representative of the U.S. Treasury Central and Eastern Europe Advisory Program in Warsaw, Poland. She has taught at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Training Center in Budapest, Hungary, and at Amherst College. While at the Boston Fed, Yolanda volunteered as president and board member of the New England Economic Partnership and as the Bank’s liaison to the American Economic Association Summer Training Program and Pipeline Conference.  

Yolanda serves on the editorial board of MassBenchmarks, an economics magazine issued jointly by the University of Massachusetts and the Boston Fed. She received her undergraduate degree at Radcliffe College (Harvard University) and her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.  

Yolanda is the daughter of political refugees, a naturalized U.S. citizen, a graduate of the Boston Public Schools, and a first-generation four-year college graduate.  

Edwin Johnson

Rector-Elect, St. James Church 

Rev. Edwin Johnson offers spiritual and missional leadership to his faith community in Dorchester as the Assistant Rector at St. James’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge where he coordinates and grows their efforts to improve the surrounding community through social justice and service. He seeks to improve the ways that schools, community centers, nonprofits, and places of worship collaborate to support the growth and safety of young people. His connection to Cambridge and its young people began the summer of 2001 when he began working for BTGB as a Teaching Fellow after his first year at Tufts University. Edwin went on to join the full-time staff as the Alumni coordinator in 2004 and worked through the summer of 2007 before leaving to enter the Priesthood. 

As a first-generation college student himself, Edwin’s passion for creating paths to college keeps him involved in Breakthrough and he is overjoyed at how much the program has grown in its ability to support young people through college entry. A native of Dorchester, he has always loved children and deeply valued education. He is excited about the role he played in launching Breakthrough’s high school program as well as BTGB’s continued growth and looks forward to being part of BTGB’s continued success. 

As a first-generation college student himself, Edwin’s passion for creating paths to college keeps him involved in Breakthrough and he is overjoyed at how much the program has grown in its ability to support young people through college entry. A native of Dorchester, he is excited about BTGB’s expansion into Boston and looks forward to being part of BTGB’s continued success.

Jonathan Piskorowski

Director, Portfolio Manager and Senior Research Analyst, Mellon 

Jonathan is a Director, Senior Research Analyst in Financials, Fintech, and Payments and a Portfolio Manager of BNY Mellon Small Cap Value Fund. He has a decades-long career as an analyst and has previously worked at Commonfund Capital Inc. and UBS Investment Bank in investment banking, private equity, and venture capital investing. 

Jonathan desires to improve educational outcomes through his service on Breakthrough’s Board of Directors. He received his B.A. in Economics from Dartmouth College and his MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. 

Lisa Fiering

Senior Learning and Development Consultant, Claria Partners

Lisa is a Senior Human Resources Leader in the Life Science industry with demonstrated success aligning People Strategies with Corporate Objectives. She brings more than 25 years’ experience in innovative science-based companies, along with a passion for unleashing employee potential by driving individual development, team and organizational effectiveness. In addition to her consulting work, Lisa has served as SVP, Human Resources for Trillium Therapeutics, a clinical stage immune-oncology company. Prior to Trillium, Lisa started and led the HR functions at both Kintai Therapeutics and Keryx Biopharmaceuticals; she honed her HR skills in Director roles with Genzyme and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, working as HR Business Partner for Commercial Business Units and Development organizations including Regulatory, Clinical Research, BioMed Ops, and Pharmacovigilance. Lisa holds a B.A. degree in Sociology, and is a Certified Insights Practitioner.

Lisa has always been politically active in support of her passion for social justice. She cares deeply about making the world a better place and is excited to be a part of Breakthrough’s board to work towards more equitable education outcomes for students throughout greater Boston

Rutherford Pascal

Head Of Sales at Sanofi Genzyme

Rutherford began his pharmaceutical career in 1993 at Westwood Squibb in the Dermatology Division where he launched Dovonex for Psoriasis. He was promoted to the National Sales Training lead and 10 months later he became a District Manager in the San Francisco Bay area covering 11 states. He then moved to Novartis and Bone Care International where he held positions with increasing leadership responsibilities.

Rutherford joined Sanofi Genzyme in 2005 as Senior Regional Business Director in the Northwest Region with the renal team. He was then appointed the National Field Sales Director for the Hectorol IV/PD team and then in 2017 was appointed as the Head of Sales for Dupixent where he is in charge of three separate sales teams.  

Rutherford and his wife, Laura, have four children (two sets of twins) and Laura’s dog Simba.

Trudi Veldman

Executive Director Biologics, AbbVie Bioresearch Center 

Trudi Veldman Ph.D. is Executive Director Biologics at AbbVie in Worcester, MA heading up a group of 30+ scientists responsible for the production of therapeutic antibodies and protein reagents in support of biologics drug discovery across all therapeutic areas of AbbVie. Prior to joining AbbVie/Abbott in 2003, Trudi worked for 20 years at Genetics Institute/Wyeth (now Pfizer) in Cambridge. At AbbVie and Genetics Institute she has coordinated science outreach programs for elementary and middle school students. Trudi was born and raised in The Netherlands and is a first-generation college student. She earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the Free University in Amsterdam and moved to Boston in 1982 to join the biotechnology industry.

Trudi is passionate about education and hunger issues. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Boston Food Bank for many years and works with an organization that supports middle school science teachers in rural villages in Malawi. Trudi first learned about Breakthrough through her son Daniel (a Breakthrough Teaching Fellow alum) and joined the BTGB Board in 2014. She is proud to be part of a program that prepares students not only for academic success but also for life.