Breakthrough New York announced today that Nikki Thompson will be its new Executive Director. 

Nikki started in her new role on May 15, 2024 and brings with her an extensive background in the social sector in NYC, with a focus on K-16 education. She started her career as an admissions officer at Barnard College and from there, spent time as a 7th grade social studies teacher in East New York, a senior leader at the New York City Department of Education, and then at Teach For America. The majority of her career was spent at One Goal, a national college access and success organization where she served first as the founding Executive Director of the New York region and then as the first Chief Regional Operations Officer, overseeing six regions across the country. Nikki joins Breakthrough New York from NYC KIDS Rise where she served as the first-ever Head of Development. 

Nikki expressed her deep personal connection to Breakthrough New York’s mission, stating,

“As a first-generation college student, Breakthrough New York’s mission to provide students from low-income backgrounds with the opportunities, resources, and relationships to succeed in rigorous schools and careers deeply resonates with my personal experience and my conviction that young people can accomplish anything, with the right support in their corner.”

Nikki succeeds Beth E. Onofry as Executive Director, who will be stepping down at the end of June after six years in the role as her family moves to Buffalo, New York. During Beth’s tenure as Executive Director, Breakthrough New York has continued to be a leader in access to higher education. Under Beth’s leadership, the organization continued to roll out its expansion to three sites in NYC and its evolution as a 10-year college access and success program, including providing services to students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Beth will end her tenure celebrating the college graduation of the first cohort of students who signed up for and completed the full 10-year program, launched in 2014.

Expressing gratitude for her time as Executive Director, Beth remarked, “It has been such an honor to lead this amazing organization over the last six years. We have lived through a time of incredible change and I am proud of how we have endured and what we have accomplished together. I am also excited about what the future holds for our organization and our students.”

David Sherman, Chair of the Board of Directors, commented,

“On behalf of the Board, we want to thank Beth for everything she has done for Breakthrough New York over the past six years, and we wish her all the best in Buffalo. I also want to share how excited members of the Board are to welcome Nikki. With her deep experience and demonstrated track record of leadership, we are confident that Breakthrough New York will be in an excellent position to continue to enhance and strengthen the program.”

About Breakthrough New York

Breakthrough New York empowers motivated students from low-income backgrounds to graduate from college and pursue a fulfilling career. Our ten-year, tuition-free program provides students with the opportunities, resources, and relationships to succeed in rigorous schools and careers. The Breakthrough New York community annually serves 500+ students from 7th grade through college.

39 Broadway, Suite 820
New York, NY 10006
[email protected]
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