StaffWho We Are
Breakthrough Central Texas is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity in every aspect of its relations with its applicants, staff members, and families, without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender identity and gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age, marital status, military status, pregnancy, or parenthood. People of diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply.
Michael joined Breakthrough as the Director of Programs in 2008. During his six-year tenure as Director of Programs, Michael managed a three-fold increase in students served, the organization’s expansions in Manor ISD and Austin ISD, the buildout of its college completion programs, and the creation of a customized Salesforce database to monitor the progress of students on their path to college graduation. In 2011, Michael was honored by Bank of America with the distinction of Emerging Leader.
In 2014, Michael took on the role of Executive Director at Breakthrough. Since that time, he has supported Breakthrough as it has expanded extensively to serve more students in multiple school districts in Central Texas and at colleges and universities across the country. Michael has expertise in educational best practices, partnership development, research and reporting, project planning, strategy formation, organizational leadership, and nonprofit governance. Michael is a founding member of the Austin College Access Network and is widely respected in the Central Texas nonprofit community.
As a career fundraiser, nonprofit leader, and philanthropist, Holly finds joy in building authentic connections between people and organizations that inspire generosity, fuel impact, and create change. Having benefited from philanthropy and experienced the transformative impact of higher education on her own family, Holly is grateful for the opportunity to pay forward those gifts every day at Breakthrough. She first joined the Breakthrough team in 2013 and has served in multiple roles, helping to grow the individual giving program from $500,000 to $3.5 million annually. In her current role as Chief Development & Communications Officer, Holly provides vision and direction for Breakthrough’s fundraising and communications strategy, resourcing our partnership with nearly 3,000 students on their path to becoming first-generation college graduates. Trusting, long-term relationships are critical to the success and sustainability of both fundraising and student services at Breakthrough, and that human connection is what has kept her in the profession for more than 17 years.
Before joining the Breakthrough family, Holly served as the Associate Director of Development for ZACH Theatre, where she was on the team responsible for the Topfer Theatre Capital Campaign. A proud graduate of The University of Texas at Austin and Terry Scholar alumna, she holds a BBA in Marketing and BA in Theatre and Dance. Holly is a longtime, active member and volunteer for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and currently serves as Immediate Past President for the Greater Austin Chapter, as well as a board member for the Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association of Greater Austin. In her personal time, she is involved with East Austin-based, AZTLAN Dance Company, her artistic home for 18 years, and loves spending time with her partner, Fabian, and their fur and reptile babies, Xochi, Xico, and Ivan.
DEVELOPMENT, COMMUNICATIONS & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Kelly is a Texas State alum with a degree in Geography & History. Her background has been youth-centered since her early career as an afterschool program director and later a program manager for a mentoring program. She’s also worked as a child advocate for children in foster care and directed charitable giving for a media group. Most recently, she supported volunteers and planned fundraising campaigns as the Communications and Engagement Manager at Partnerships for Children. Kelly is passionate about education equity and excited to be working alongside the Breakthrough community.
Meredith Ware Morrow, Ph.D. has more than twelve years of experience in grant writing and fundraising in Central Texas. Prior to joining the team at Breakthrough Central Texas, Meredith served as the Foundation and Corporate Relations Manager for Meals on Wheels Central Texas (MOWCTX), where she worked on their fundraising team for more than eight years to raise support for homebound seniors. Before joining the fundraising team at MOWCTX in 2014, she served the Institutional Gifts Manager at Austin Opera for more than three years. Meredith graduated from Texas Tech University with a Doctorate of Philosophy in Fine Arts Administration and a Master of Music degree. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Houston. Meredith is an active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Greater Austin Chapter, and the Austin-Central Texas Chapter of the Grant Professionals Association (GPA).
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As the director of philanthropy at Breakthrough Central Texas, Kimberly brings a unique and varied background in both the nonprofit and private sectors. As a development and marketing leader, Kimberly’s focus is on driving systems level, positive, and progressive social change. Her background, specific to education, includes her recent role as chief of growth and impact for a start-up educational game company addressing disparities in literacy outcomes. Prior to this as senior director of partnership development for a social justice organization, her work focused on dismantling racism in education systems.
However, it was her tenure as a major gifts officer for a national nonprofit organization in the disability space, where she discovered her love for engagement fundraising. In the private sector, she was a public relations executive for companies including Williams Sonoma and Nordstrom. She was also the founder and principal at two start-up PR and marketing agencies. Her personal journey as a woman of multiple, marginalized and layered identities, overcoming internalized mental barriers has been core to her life’s journey focused on equity and access.
A former West Coast native, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, three teen daughters, and two vertically challenged doxie pups, Ollie and Lola. In her free time, Kimberly is a competitive runner, avid hiker, and prolific reader.
OPERATIONS & TALENT
Matt has a B.A. in English from Florida A&M University and brings a wealth of REDI experience from developing a DEI curriculum within his Ethnic Studies classroom at Austin Achieve High School, founding community support groups like Black Professionals of Austin Achieve (BPAA), to creating adult professional development sessions rooted in DEI in the form of literary series surrounding antiracist texts.
In his role as REDI Manager, Matt combines his background and experience in DEI with his background as a Google Certified Project Manager and Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master to lead projects and initiatives rooted in DEI, framed in Agile principles, and implemented with a people-centric approach. All of this is in service to change the organization’s psychology around how we work with and for people.
When Matt isn’t working on REDI initiatives, you can find him hiking trails on the Greenbelt or rock climbing at a local bouldering gym.
Alicia is a first-generation college graduate and brings more than 13 years of nonprofit experience. Alicia most recently served as the Program Director for 4H Capital where she managed their AmeriCorps program. 4H Capital is a partner organization with AmeriCorps Central Texas, and Alicia served as the liaison for 4H Capital. Alicia also brings experience from her time as a Club Director at the Boys & Girls Club.
POLICY & DATA
NORTH EAST AUSTIN
Brittney holds a Bachelor’s in English Literature and a minor in Spanish from the University of North Texas. She’s passionate about youth education and development and has served in various educational positions in Texas, as an after-school tutor and summer mentor in Texas. Brittney has served as an AmeriCorps Member at Breakthrough Central Texas, after having served two summers as an ELA Middle School Summer Teacher at Breakthrough. Brittney is a part of our Northeast Austin middle school team, which works directly with our Breakthrough students in various middle schools throughout the northeast areas of Austin.
Odyessey Francis is a graduate of Huston-Tillotson University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Grand Canyon University. She has been in the education field for 11 years working on curriculum and student development. Odyessey is honored to be a member of the Breakthrough team in continuing passion to assist students of all ages towards academic, and career success. Her commitment to the community and students aligns with the belief that with a village our students’ education is limitless.
CENTRAL SOUTH AUSTIN
Alicia Flores is an Austin Native, with firsthand experience of Austin’s schools. In addition, she is part of Breakthrough’s alumni network, having joined the program as a student in 2003. Alicia rejoins the Breakthrough community, with several years of experience as a full-time educator in the Las Vegas school district. She holds a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Alicia is excited to bring her ten-plus years of working with students, inside and outside the classroom, back to her Austin community.
Josh is a first-generation college graduate with over fifteen years of experience working to close the opportunity gap for all students through best practices in teaching, learning, and leadership. Prior to joining Breakthrough he served as a middle school teacher, instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal. During that time Josh was selected as Teacher of the Year as he supported Decker Middle School in Manor ISD to earn the distinctions of AVID National Demonstration School and Texas School to Watch. Josh has a passion for designing and developing research-based professional learning and practices that meet the needs of higher education and K-12 students, systems, institutions, districts, and schools. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Texas State University.
Lucy is a native Houstonian who proudly earned her Bachelor’s of Science in Teaching and Learning from the University of Houston. As a first-generation college graduate herself, Lucy knows the value of education and holds tight to the belief that post-secondary education isn’t just about books and grades — post-secondary education serves as a gateway to a more promising financial future. After a few years in the classroom and volunteering to mentor high-school students in higher education, Lucy embraced a full-time opportunity as a Post-Secondary Advisor with Texas A&M University and their partnership with Aldine ISD. Through it all, Lucy carries a resounding belief in the power of supporting first-generation students. She knows that every student, armed with the right tools and unyielding support system, can conquer any challenge and emerge victorious in the realm of post-secondary education.
Brandon Páez, a first-generation American on a lifelong mission to inspire his community to pursue education. He recently earned his Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction at Boston College and taught for two years, specializing in middle school education in Lawrence, MA, affectionately known as “the city of immigrants.” What he’s most proud of is his hardworking family heritage, and he has ambitious plans to elevate their name. If he could teach the world one thing, it would be his favorite quote: “los buenos somos mas,” serving as a constant reminder that there will always be people in this world to stand alongside you in the good fight.
AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOLS
Robert, an Austinite and a member of the Breakthrough alumni network, served as a Breakthrough teaching fellow during the summer of 2019 and as an AmeriCorps leader for the 2022-2023 school year. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from UTSA in 2021 and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Applied Psychology as a student at Texas A&M-Central. Robert’s hobbies include attending live music concerts, practicing yoga, playing chess, and engaging in various sports. He is deeply committed to the cause of equal opportunity and remains dedicated to supporting the Breakthrough student and family communities.
MANOR HIGH SCHOOLS
DEL VALLE HIGH SCHOOLS
Joining the BreakThrough CTX Del Valle High School team as the Associate Director from Chicago, IL, Chanelle holds a Bachelor’s in Sports Administration from Southern Illinois University, class of 2013. With an 8-year background in non-profit youth development work, she takes pleasure in being part of the growth journey with communities and students. Her ability to foster relationships and build trust with students and families through active listening, compassion, challenging, and being her authentic self greatly contributes to making the BreakThrough mission achievable. When she’s not working closely with students to help them reach the next level, Chanelle indulges in her love for sports, music, and plants.
Laura was raised in Idaho and moved to Texas in 2019 to join Breakthrough as an AmeriCorps Summer Teaching Fellow, where she worked closely with the Austin ISD High School team. Laura is a proud first-generation college graduate herself from the University of Idaho. She holds two bachelor’s degrees in International Studies and Spanish. Laura is passionate about giving back to her community and motivating other first-generation college students. Si Se Puede! Go Vandals!
bio in the making…
Randall has a passion for equity, building strong relationships, and fostering a deep sense of community. He has over 20 years of experience in management and education, and he brings his knowledge, compassion, and enthusiasm to serve our Breakthrough students and families. As a first-generation Latino college graduate from Sam Houston State University, Randall infuses his work with his interests in mental health, DEI, and healthy masculinity to provide a holistic approach to serving our community.
First-Gen UT Austin Grad 2022 BA Sociology Minor Education Psychology.
Christina Hillard is a dedicated advocate and catalyst for positive change in the realm of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). With a deep passion for creating meaningful connections within communities, Christina’s journey is driven by her unwavering belief in the power of inclusivity to transform lives. As a community connector, Christina’s innate ability to forge bonds has led to the creation of bridges between individuals of diverse backgrounds. Her empathetic approach and open-hearted attitude have made her an approachable figure for those seeking to engage in conversations about social issues. Christina’s commitment to fostering a sense of belonging has helped diverse groups come together, transcending barriers and creating environments where everyone’s voice is valued. In her free time, Christina indulges in her passions for reading, writing, and the arts, finding inspiration in the world around her. She believes that personal growth is a lifelong journey, and she consistently seeks out new ways to expand her horizons.
COLLEGE & CAREER SUCCESS
Eniitan “Eni” Coker, a proud Nigerian-American, began her academic journey in the vibrant state of Georgia, where she was raised. However, for the past few years, Texas has been her cherished home. Eni’s educational path led her from the University of Georgia to the University of Tennessee, where she is pursuing a Master of Science in Social Work. With nearly a decade of experience in youth and community development, Eni’s work is deeply rooted in her belief in investing in young adults and building stronger communities. Her diverse background and experiences bring a unique perspective to her current role as an advisor with the College and Career Success Team.
Christi is a proud first-generation college graduate, an alumni of the University of Idaho. Go Vandals! She is also first-generation American & daughter of Mexican immigrants, like many of the students she supports. Christi joined Breakthrough in August of 2011 as an AmeriCorps Member. Over the last years, she has been working to grow and develop Breakthrough’s programs and services. She is a champion of student access and success. As Director of College Access, Christi is dedicated to supervising and supporting a team of staff supporting hundreds as they transition from secondary schools into postsecondary education.
Claudia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Bilingual Education from Texas State University and is a certified EC-6 Bilingual Education Teacher. As a first-generation college graduate, Claudia is a proud Breakthrough Austin graduate and former two-time Breakthrough Teaching Fellow. In 2016, Claudia decided to give back to the community that paved her path to college, and is currently serving her second year as a full-time AmeriCorps Member at Breakthrough, giving the support that was given to her to high school and college students.
Breakthrough is a non-profit organization with the mission of providing a path through college for first-generation college graduates. Beginning in sixth grade, AmeriCorps members provide essential support to students who are on this path. Members provide mentoring, academic support, coaching, program planning, and implementation, and other activities to contribute to the success of Breakthrough students. Members will receive extensive training in a variety of areas to prepare them for a rewarding and successful placement with Breakthrough.