Each year, City Awake and the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce honor ten of the region’s current and emerging young leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the civic and business environment and the quality of life in Greater Boston. We are thrilled to share that Breakthrough Greater Boston’s Executive Director, Elissa Spelman is honored to receive the award this year.

For nearly a decade, Breakthrough has thrived under the leadership of Executive Director, Elissa Spelman. During this time the organization has seen significant growth, expanding from a one-city organization to three cities, now serving over 500 students and training 100 Teaching Fellows annually. With continued growth on the horizon, once all three campuses have enrolled students at each of the six grade levels Breakthrough serves, they will work with as many as 900 students and 200 teachers each year. Spelman brings deep experience in the field of education, beginning her career as a third grade teacher in Dorchester and, prior to joining Breakthrough, supporting dozens of programs serving low-income youth while leading the Wellington Management Foundation.

“On behalf of Breakthrough Greater Boston’s staff and board, we are thrilled to have Elissa recognized for her commitment to educational equity and her inspiring leadership of the organization,” said Board Chair Melanie Goins. “Elissa is a quiet force behind Breakthrough’s success in creating paths to college and promoting careers in education for thousands of students and teachers. Her work at Breakthrough is essential to keeping Greater Boston at the vanguard of communities that are tackling inequities at both the individual and systemic level.”

Breakthrough Greater Boston prepares low-income students for success in college and trains the next generation of urban teachers using a unique Students Teaching Students model. Through our six-year program, students gain a passion for learning and the perseverance and tools to succeed in college and beyond. Teaching Fellows gain intensive in-classroom experience, expert training and 1:1 coaching.

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