Kathy Heinzerling, Executive Director
Kathy came to Breakthrough Houston in 2009 after 31 years as co-director at Chinquapin Preparatory School. Her background working with economically disadvantaged students, as well as her experience with education and administration, makes Kathy uniquely qualified for her role. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Barat College and a Masters of Science in Biology from the University of St. Louis. A tireless volunteer for various civic organizations, she has won numerous honors and recognitions, including the keys to the City of Houston in recognition of her educational leadership. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling to spend time with her four sons and five grandchildren.
Twenewaa Adu-Oppong, College Bound Program Director
Kurchi Basu, College Completion Program Director
Kurchi is a Teach for America alumna with over a decade of experience supporting FGLI college-bound students in over 60 high schools around Houston. She builds curriculum and programming to prepare high school students to matriculate and successfully graduate from college. She earned a B.A. in Sociology from Carleton College, and an M.Ed from University of St. Thomas. Her current passion project is helping break generational wealth gaps by increasing students’ access to financial literacy.
Joy Boakye, College Bound Program Manager
Coming to Breakthrough, Joy (she/her) is excited to support students as future leaders of our country and world. After graduating from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Joy moved to Houston to teach 5th and 6th grade Social Studies and earn her Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) from the Relay Graduate School of Education. In her free time, Joy likes to sing, watch YouTube videos, take care of her 24 houseplants, and chat with her niblings. Passionate about anti-oppression work, Joy is committed to working to end education inequity with Breakthrough Houston.
Maryfer Rodriguez, AmeriCorps Service Member (College Bound Program)
Maryfer first started her journey with Breakthrough Houston in 2015 as a middle school student. Maryfer participated and volunteered at Breakthrough until Summer 2021 when she worked as a Teaching Fellow with the HISD site. She now joins Breakthrough for the 2021-2022 school year as an AmeriCorps Member for the College Bound Program before she starts college in Fall of 2022. Maryfer has seen the impact that Breakthrough had on her, and is excited to be part of that journey with current Breakthrough students. During her free time, Maryfer enjoys reading, watching movies, and spending time with her pets.
Nolan Julien, Program Director (HISD-Gregory Lincoln)
Nolan started her Breakthrough Houston journey in 2017 as a teaching fellow for the St. John’s site. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in English and Sociology, she taught for YES Prep Public Schools with Teach For America as an English teacher. In the summers during her time with YES Prep Public Schools, she served as Dean of Students for the St. John’s site and is now continuing in her new role as Program Director for the Gregory Lincoln site. Nolan is passionate about social justice and a large proponent of liberation through education.
Jarvis Lundy, Program Director (BTH at Connect)
Jarvis Lundy joins Breakthrough Houston as Program Director at the Connect Community. Originally from South Florida, he earned his B.A. in Africana Studies from the University of Miami. He rejoins the Breakthrough family after working as a school year and summer teacher with Breakthrough Miami while in college. Jarvis has spent over a decade working to ensure that our most underserved students receive a high-quality education. He has worked to successfully turnaround some of the most challenging schools in New Orleans as a school teacher, founding leader, and principal for 8 years. Most recently, he transitioned to Texas in 2018 as a founding principal to lay the groundwork for a new elementary school here in Houston. When not at work, Jarvis is cooking, spending time outdoors, or cheering on his Miami Hurricanes.
Linda Francis, Program Director (BTH at SJS)
Linda joins Breakthrough Houston as the Program Director at the St. John’s School. She has been connected to Breakthrough since 2011 as a summer teacher, volunteer, and instructional coach. Linda earned her B.A in Mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘em) and her Masters in Educational Leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University. She has worked in Aldine ISD and most recently in SBISD at a school for the highly gifted. In her free time, she enjoys morning walks, traveling, brunch, and spending time with her amazing family.
Kelsey Julien, AmeriCorps Service Member (Middle School Program)
Kelsey became a part of the Breakthrough Houston family in 2018 as a teaching fellow for the St. John’s site, and taught for three consecutive summers. She graduated from Washington & Jefferson College with a B.A. in English and concentration in professional writing. The summer after graduating college, she returned to the St. John’s site to serve as the Dean of Students and continues her role with Breakthrough now as an AmeriCorps Member for the middle school team. In her free time, Kelsey enjoys running, reading, and writing short stories.
Melinda Guthrie, Development Director
While Melinda comes to Breakthrough Houston from another Houston nonprofit organization, she has worked in both the nonprofit and business sectors here in the U.S. and abroad, in fields as diverse as oil and gas, finance and leadership training. She has a natural ability to develop strong, long-term relationships and a deep and genuine passion for providing equitable educational opportunities for all students.
Eileen Wolfowicz, Operations Manager
Eileen joined Breakthrough Houston in 2020 as Operations Manager. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin with her B.A. in Latin American Studies, Eileen worked in Program Management with the Hillel Foundation of Orange County. Most recently, she was the Volunteer and Operations Coordinator with the Partnership for the Advancement and Immersion of Refugees. She is deeply committed to Breakthrough Houston’s mission, and is thrilled to play a part in helping BTH’s students achieve academic success. When she’s not working, Eileen enjoys reading, spending time with her friends and family, and exploring different coffee shops around town.
Catherine Cain, Student Recruitment Liaison
Catherine joins Breakthrough Houston as the Student Recruitment Liaison. Originally from South Carolina, she became familiar with Breakthrough Houston in the summer of 2013 as a Teaching Fellow. After graduating from Clemson University, Catherine moved to Houston where she taught 2nd – 4th grades at KIPP Texas Public Schools; she then moved into administration as a Dean. When not working, Catherine enjoys playing with her two dogs, cooking, working out, and trying new restaurants across the city!