Staff & Board

Join the Breakthrough Team!

Executive Team

Nikki Thompson

Nikki Thompson

Executive Director

Meet Nikki

Nikki (she/her) brings 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.

Shawna Rodgers

Shawna Rodgers

Chief Development Officer

Meet Shawna

Shawna (she/hers) is a seasoned fundraising professional with more than decade of demonstrated success in raising millions for universities, healthcare facilities, and other non-profit organizations. Her experience includes leading staff during organizational change, non-profit board development, and capital campaigns. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). 

Beth E. Onofry

Beth E. Onofry

Executive Director

Meet Beth

Beth (she/hers) brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in both the higher education and nonprofit sectors. She spent 11 years at the TEAK Fellowship, a college access and success nonprofit in New York City that helps bright and motivated students from low-income families. Prior to joining TEAK, Beth worked in Admissions at Dartmouth College. She earned her BA from Dartmouth, her Master’s degree in Education from Harvard, and a Master’s degree in School Counseling from Long Island University.

Middle School Team

Paola Hernandez

Paola Hernandez

Middle School Program Manager - Bronx

Meet Paola

Paola (she/her) has recently worked with City Year New York as a volunteer member and then a Team Leader. She started her career by working in the UConn Collegiate Awareness and Preparation Program (ConnCAP), a program she herself was in during high school. She earned her BS in Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Connecticut. She looks forward to building relationships with students, their families, and her peers to better serve Breakthrough New York in meeting its mission.

Tiye Roberts

Tiye Roberts

High School Placement Director

Meet Tiye

Tiye’s (she/her) dedication to youth empowerment spans over 8 years, beginning with her undergraduate role as a tutor through Mount Holyoke’s Community Fellow’s program in Holyoke, MA. Upon graduating, Tiye received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College in Media Literacy. From there, her unwavering commitment led her to serve as a Senior AmeriCorps member with City Year New York, where she significantly impacted the lives of a cohort of students and the team she led in East New York, Brooklyn. Building on this impactful experience, Tiye dedicated three years as a Program Manager with Breakthrough New York, fostering academic excellence and personal growth in her students during her tenure. Following her tenure, she contributed her expertise to Teachers Pay Teachers, supporting their marketplace’s policies to ensure educational equity. Now, returning as Breakthrough New York’s High School Placement Director, Tiye is eager to guide and support students on their transformative journey to and through college, embodying the organization’s mission with passion and expertise.

Adriana Meza

Adriana Meza

Senior Director of Middle School Programs

Meet Adriana

Adriana (she/her) loves working with Breakthrough New York as she is able to work closely with and in service of NYC youth. She is a middle school ally and advocate who loves finding ways for learning and leadership to exist in all child-related spaces. As a former teacher, dean of students, school leader, and instructional consultant, she approaches this work with intention and great excitement. Adriana received her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies from Seattle University and her master’s in Education from Pepperdine University.

Anita Norman

Anita Norman

Middle School Program Manager - Brooklyn

Meet Anita

Anita (she/her) is interested in helping students see their most indomitable selves in the classroom and beyond. From education programs in national and international contexts, Anita has built and led curricula that challenges the status quo and invites students to use creativity when addressing community needs. She is motivated to ensure students have the support and information they need to thrive in diverse educational contexts. Anita received her Bachelor of Science in psychology from Yale University.

High School Team

Scott Gannis

Scott Gannis

Senior Director of High School Program

Meet Scott

Scott (he/him) has spent the last decade guiding students through the college admissions process and advising them once they arrive on campuses. With stops at Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, NYU, The New School, CUNY, and various college access nonprofits (including as a seasonal staff member of BTNY), he has assisted thousands of students, and their families, cultivate post-secondary education goals—and accomplish them—through deeper understanding of the systems/practices underlying both the high school and college side of the admissions journey. As a first-generation student himself with degrees from Macalester College and NYU, he is eager to grow alongside, and learn from, the BTNY community in building college access strategies grounded in humility, multiculturalism, empathy, and passion for social mobility. 

Jonathan Lim

Jonathan Lim

College Guidance Manager

Meet Jonathan

Jonathan (he/him) is a college advisor with over 3 years of experience helping students access and persist in college. He graduated from CUNY Hunter College and initially pursued a career in civics education before shifting focus into postsecondary access. His goal is to help as many students as possible access a quality education in a manner that highlights their individual journeys. Jonathan joined Breakthrough New York to expand his ability to support students through the college access process.

Shatyra Wilkerson

Shatyra Wilkerson

High School Academic Success Coordinator

Meet Shatyra

Shatyra (She/Her) is a recent graduate from College of the Holy Cross with a BA in Sociology and Education. She has been an active seasonal staff member since Spring of 2022 at BTNY with previous roles as a Teaching Assistant, and High School Placement Assistant. Committed to education and social equity for youth and families, she is also an advocate for social justice. Shatyra is dedicated to helping students transition from High School to Higher Education because her belief is all youth deserve resources to fulfill their own destinies, and need to be given the opportunities that cater to students’ overall well-being. Taking pride as a first-generation college student, she is dedicated to ensuring BTNY students are prepped, and supported on their academic journeys. Her philosophy is “Knowledge is Power” and advocates for education that can take any person far in life. With future plans to pursue her Masters degree in Art Education, and Museum Studies, Shatyra is committed to the BTNY mission and believes being a resourceful HS Coordinator to families and students will have great outcomes for the future.

College & Career Success

Finance & Operations

Sofia Anjum

Sofia Anjum

College Coordinator

Meet Sofia

Sofia has loved education since she was very young. She believes education is more than a tool to overcome ignorance and circumstance — it is freedom itself. She graduated from Fordham University in 2022 with a degree in philosophy and creative writing. While in college, she started mentoring. She mentored in BTNY’s high school program for 5 years and formed deep connections in the community. She further developed her understanding of the higher education landscape by working in Let’s Get Ready’s college program. Sofia is very happy to be College Coordinator because she gets to continue working with her long-time mentees, as well as all of the BTNY college students and the lovely BTNY team!

Jomar Lopez

Jomar Lopez

Talent Acquisition Director

Meet Jomar

Jomar (he/him) has had a passion for working within the education space ever since his SYEP internship at a childcare center back in the summer of 2012. After graduating college, Jomar continued his work in after school programs throughout the city. He eventually joined the Breakthrough community as the Manhattan Program Manager in 2019, where he continued engaging with students and their families on their academic journeys. He is excited to step into the role of Talent Acquisition Director to recruit and cultivate the talent that surrounds Breakthrough’s students. He is currently earning his MPA in Policy Analysis from CUNY Baruch College.

Lisbeth Valerio

Lisbeth Valerio

Operations Coordinator

Meet Lisbeth

A graduate with a BA in Marketing and a minor in Psychology, Lisbeth (she/her) is not just a professional; she is an advocate for collective success and well-being. Her passion for community empowerment is evident in her hands-on experience with nonprofit educational organizations. Lisbeth is dedicated to breaking down barriers and enhancing resource accessibility to foster sustainable growth within these communities. Her mission goes beyond survival; she envisions communities thriving by connecting them to meaningful resources.

External Relations Team

Max Haigney

Max Haigney

Development Coordinator

Meet Max

Max (he/him) is a recent college graduate with a passion for educational equity and community-driven social justice initiatives. He has previously worked in fundraising for nonprofits dedicated to refugee empowerment, emergency response, and food insecurity. He earned his BA from Brown University in Education Studies and International & Public Affairs in May of 2023. He is excited to utilize his experience in fundraising and education to support the external relations team and Breakthrough New York’s mission.

Adron Carter

Adron Carter

External Relations Manager

Meet Adron

Adron graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a minor in Media Analysis. He comes to Breakthrough New York with experience in political fundraising and research. Adron’s passion for education access came as he navigated her college experience as a first-generation college student. Adron is most excited to meet with families and help them share their Breakthrough stories.

Board of Directors

David M. ShermanChair
Senior Advisor and Co-Founder, BGO Strategic Capital Partners

Gautam RanjiVice Chair
Chief Financial Officer, MSG Sphere

Mona Shah – Treasurer
Head of North America Business Development, PayPal

William Clark – Secretary

Daniel Botoff (Dan)
Managing Director, RBC Capital Markets

Anne C. Buehl
Principal, Rocaton Investment Advisors

Jennifer A. Coyle

Peter Croncota
Director of School and Program Partnerships, KIPP Infinity Charter School

Gerald Cooper
Partner, Campbell Lutyens

Laura Drumm

Nora Elish Program & Outcomes Chair
Mentor, Students for Justice

Jed Feldman
Partner and Chief Legal Officer, Thrive Capital

Gregory K. Gale
Partner, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

Maria G. Hackley
Global Co-Head Industrials Group, Citi

Jean-Pierre (J.P.) Jacquet
Director of Financial Aid, Assistant Director of Middle and Upper School Admission, Riverdale Country School

Kimberly Johns
Managing Director & Associate General Counsel, Goldman Sachs & Co.

Drew Phillips
Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Atalaya Capital Management

Sarah Rappoport

Associates Board

Shannon McDonald – Chair

Pamela Aquino
Executive Assistant, Salesforce

Jamin Bennett
Vice President of Business Development, Sunkeeper Solar

Kristin Clarke-Cole
Special Assistant, Ford Foundation

Juliana Merola
Director, Debt Capital Markets, Short Term Fixed Income, Bank of America

Rosa Salinas
Community PR, Amazon Web Services

Sebastian Sanchez – Vice Chair
Equity, Debt, and Structured Finance Associate, Cushman & Wakefield

Christopher Kenny Development Chair
Director, RBC Capital Markets

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