High School Program Coordinator
Dora grew up locally then attended high school in San Benito County. While at the University of California Santa Cruz, she developed a passion for working with youth on their personal growth and college achievement, advising high school students from Watsonville, CA. Upon graduating with a B.A in Latin American & Latino Studies and a B.A in Politics, she continued her work in education through the Student Opportunity & Access Program (Cal-SOAP) of San Jose. Her experience ranges from tutoring and academic advising to financial aid and career planning, including facilitation of summer and scholarship programs. As the first member of her family to attend college, she remains dedicated to the long-term success of low-income and underrepresented youth in higher education through the mission of Breakthrough Silicon Valley.
Tina grew up in a predominantly Latino, low-income community and attended pubic schools in Southern California. Since high school she has studied cultural competency and has immersed herself in working in different communities outside her comfort zone. While in college Tina worked as a Breakthrough teacher and upon graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Sociology and minor in Education, Tina directed an afterschool program for Making Waves in Marin, CA. Tina moved on to become Program Director for City Year San Jose for five years. In 2002, Tina was hired by the San Jose Unified School District to establish a Breakthrough site in San Jose.
Development and Communications Coordinator
Prior to joining Breakthrough Silicon Valley, Christina worked as a Reading Partners’ Site Coordinator responsible for training and supporting over 160 community volunteers, who provided one-on-one literacy instruction to 110 struggling readers. In an effort to maximize student achievement and guarantee that the program was successfully supporting each child’s academic development, she facilitated communication and maintained meaningful relationships with tutors, teachers, students’ families and community partners. Working for an education non-profit in a low-performing, under-funded public school reaffirmed her desire to work for an organization dedicated to closing the opportunity gap, especially in Silicon Valley where the gap is startlingly evident. Christina earned an M.A. in Hispanic Studies, a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in Spanish Language and Literature from Villanova University.
Melissa Johns has dedicated her professional career to creating educational opportunities for underserved youth. After earning a Bachelor’s of Science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Melissa joined the development team at Eastside College Preparatory School in East Palo Alto. Her time at Eastside cemented her belief that all kids deserve access to a quality college preparatory education, regardless of their background or family’s socioeconomic level. After leaving Eastside, she held the position of Director of Development at The Girls’ Middle School in Palo Alto, where she led a successful fundraising program, including the school’s ambitious commitment to offering full scholarships to low-income students. A native of California’s central valley, Melissa grew up in the rural community of Le Grand, California. She now resides in San Jose with her husband and daughter.
Middle School Program Coordinator
Jia is a committed educator who began his career as a summer teacher at Breakthrough Silicon Valley. The son of college-educated immigrants, Jia strongly believes in the transformative effect that education has on students, families and their communities. He earned his BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley. Since then, he has worked as a science teacher in several of San Jose’s public high schools, including W.C. Overfelt, Leland and Santa Teresa high schools. Serving as Breakthrough Silicon Valley’s science mentor teacher for two summers, Jia has returned as Dean of Faculty during the summer program and then as the Middle School Program Coordinator during the school year.
Assistant Program Coordinator
Arlan first joined Breakthrough Silicon Vally in September 2011 through the Public Allies apprenticeship program. He is a first generation college graduate, earning a BS in Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology from University of California, Santa Cruz. Before coming to Breakthrough Silicon Valley, Arlan interned at the Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center (AA/PIRC), where he worked on raising awareness of Asian American/Pacific Islander issues pertaining to health and higher education. He has also organized extensively within the student of color community at UCSC, primarily working with student of color cultural productions. Arlan brings his passion for social justice and his commitment to improving the quality of education to Breakthrough Silicon Valley.
High School Program Director
Jessica was a summer teacher and school year program volunteer at Breakthrough Silicon Valley for three years. Prior to joining Breakthrough, Jessica was a College Advisor for EAOP, a college access program based at Oakland Technical High School. Jessica was a motivated student who did have many resources to go to college, but persevered. She says, “The socioeconomic and racial tracking in my high school was clear. Many minority students were not encouraged to do well in school and pursue college.” Jessica went on to graduate from UC Berkeley with a BA in Spanish and a minor in education where she studied “Chicanos in Education.” In addition to her full time duties with Breakthrough Silicon Valley, Jessica serves on the Directors Council and the High School Advisory Group for the Breakthrough Collaborative.