Breakthrough Collaborative Names Chief Program Officer and Chief Development Officer: National Education Nonprofit Positions Itself for Growth by Adding New Expertise

San Francisco, CA, January 22, 2016 --( Breakthrough Collaborative, a national education nonprofit with an innovative approach to addressing the achievement gap, is proud to announce that Christina Theokas has joined the team as Chief Program Officer and Lauren Weston as Chief Development Officer.

Joshua Lachs, executive director of Breakthrough Collaborative, had this to say about the new hires, “I am thrilled to welcome Christina and Lauren to our already stellar team. Their collective expertise will be critical in advancing Breakthrough’s mission and positioning our organization for greater impact and growth. Christina will draw on her deep experience and excellent reputation in the national education-reform sector as we build on Breakthrough’s 37-year history of successful programming. Lauren will use her extensive expertise to develop new partnerships with the philanthropic community so that we can serve more under-resourced students and potential teachers.”

Prior to joining Breakthrough, Ms. Theokas served for seven years as the director of research at The Education Trust, a large national education advocacy organization that promotes high achievement for all students, but is particularly focused on closing the achievement gap for lower-income students and students of color. Ms. Theokas has authored and co-authored a number of publications focused on school leadership in high-poverty schools, measuring and documenting which students are college- and career-ready, and understanding gaps at the high end of achievement. She has also worked in the research and evaluation office of Alexandria City Public Schools in Virginia, where she evaluated programs and trained principals and teachers on understanding and using data to make instructional decisions. Previously, Ms. Theokas worked for 10 years in schools in various capacities – as a special education teacher; school psychologist; and supervisor of curriculum, assessment, and training. She led the middle school at a special education school in Massachusetts, where her work focused on developing curriculum and programs to meet the social, emotional, and learning needs of diverse students. Ms. Theokas holds a doctorate in child development from Tufts University, a master’s in school psychology from Mount Holyoke College, and a B.A. from Colby College.

Excited to join Breakthrough, Ms. Theokas said, “I find Breakthrough’s approach to advancing education – undergraduates teaching middle- and high-school students with the support of mentor teachers – very compelling. I look forward to working with the team to develop the next generation of scholars and education leaders.”

Ms. Weston, Breakthrough Collaborative’s new chief development officer, is a seasoned professional with a breadth of experience in fundraising, board development, educational program design, financial management, as well as marketing and communications. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Ms. Weston held senior-level development roles with notable Bay Area nonprofit institutions, including the Hiller Aviation Museum, Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the YMCA. She also provided project management for Sacramento-area political campaigns, including school bonds and county supervisor races. She serves on the boards of Family Dog Rescue and Mousesquad California. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UC Davis in international relations and a master's in fundraising from New York University.
Reflecting on this new opportunity, Ms. Weston said, “I am excited to join Breakthrough because the team is incredibly talented, focusing their efforts on impacting education for both teachers and students nationwide. I could not have asked to join a more mindful organization. I am thrilled to bring my skills and experience to a team that understands and encourages growth, development, and true social change.”

About Breakthrough Collaborative: Breakthrough Collaborative is the national office of the Breakthrough network, 24 collaborative affiliates in cities across the U.S. and in Hong Kong. As a pioneer in education reform, Breakthrough is tackling the achievement gap with a groundbreaking approach. Breakthrough increases academic opportunity for highly motivated, low-income middle- and high-school students, putting them on the path to college; provides best-in-class pre-professional training for undergraduate teaching fellows; and offers leadership opportunities for professional educators, who act as instructional coaches. Since its founding in 1978, Breakthrough has served more than 40,000 students and teachers. To learn more, visit
Breakthrough Collaborative
Melanie Wise
(415) 442-0600