Allison Tarr, Operations Manager
Allison joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in November 2012 after graduating with a M.B.A. from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. Prior to business school, Allison worked in the foodservice industry as a manager and sales event planner, focusing on managing personnel, developing operational procedures and building client relationships. Her intimate knowledge of operations and logistics in growing small businesses brings a unique perspective to the education sector. Allison’s formal introduction into the education space was as an Education Pioneer Fellow at E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., where she was able to apply her past experience and recently honed business skills to a variety of projects supporting the operations of the school. As the Operations Manager at BTGB, Allison plays a key role in coordinating and managing organizational systems and functions, including finance, human resources, technology, and administration. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, running, cooking, reading and spending time with her pug, Thadeus.
Amee Naik, High School Program Director
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 High School Program Director, she supports all BTC 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.
Anita Roberson, Boston Site Director
Anita joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in October 2012 as the founding Boston Site Director. In her role, Anita will have broad responsibility for successfully launching the new Boston site, including operations, student recruitment and admissions, teacher hiring, and building relationships with the new students, families and partner organizations. Committed to the belief that ‘education is the great equalizer’, Anita has held a variety of posts in which she has worked to ensure that traditionally underserved youth receive a quality education. In May 2007, Anita founded Delaware’s first college preparatory charter school for urban children. She served as the Executive Director until the school’s reauthorization in June 2011. Prior to opening the charter school, Anita served as the Director of Education and the Director of Enrollment for a workforce development agency in Philadelphia, PA. Anita also has corporate leadership experience and is a graduate of Cornell University where she earned her B.S. degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. Anita is an avid reader and enjoys discussing current events, playing sports, traveling and shopping.
Danny Hikes, Manager of Student Services
Danny taught in the Breakthrough Greater Boston Summer Program for three consecutive summers during college, sparking a career in education and youth services. Danny has worked for the Gately Youth Center as the Family Liaison managing the homework center, supporting the youth's academic improvement and running fun after school activities. He also worked at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School as a swim instructor for elementary through high school students. As Manager of Student Services, Danny is responsible for the overall success of our students. He oversees a range of support services that we provide to our students and maintains regular communication with their families and school year teachers. Danny manages our Tutoring Program and Family Advisory Board. Danny holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Relations and Educational Program Development from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During his free time, Danny enjoys spending time with family, cooking and biking.
David Forte, Development Associate
David joined Breakthrough Greater Boston in July 2012. Prior to joining the Breakthrough team, David worked as the Program Evaluation and Database Coordinator for The Mockingbird Society, a Seattle-based organization dedicated to improving the foster care system, and as a volunteer consultant with NuSol Capacity Fund, a start-up specializing in solar energy installation in the developing world. In these roles, David gained several years of development experience, supporting fundraising, reporting, program evaluation, and event planning efforts. At Breakthrough, David manages the organization’s grants portfolio, supports individual and corporate giving efforts and works on communications. David received his Master of Public Administration from the University of Washington and his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. In his personal time, David enjoys rooting for Boston sports teams, riding his bicycle, and taking his dog Lance to the park.
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.
Rupal Jain, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
Rupal first entered the Breakthrough Greater Boston community as a Summer Program Teacher and has been connected ever since. Over the last decade Rupal has worked as a classroom teacher, curriculum developer, and teacher trainer in public and private schools, in the US and abroad. While teaching on the west coast, she made a point to remain involved with Breakthrough, serving as a Mentor Teacher at the San Francisco site. Rupal was named Teacher of the Year by her school in 2009. In 2011, Rupal returned to Breakthrough Cambridge to share her expertise as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. In this role, Rupal 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. Rupal received her M.A. and B.S. in Education from the University of Connecticut. Outside of Breakthrough, Rupal enjoys traveling with family, cheering on Boston sports teams, and exploring local bookstores and libraries.