Director of College Access Programs (Cambridge)

Breakthrough Greater Boston

Posted: 2/28/2020

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Education/Training

Primary domain: Education

City: Cambridge

Postal code: 02138

State: Massachusetts

Country: United States

Organization Information:


$1M - $3M


Mission statement:

Our mission at Breakthrough Greater Boston 

is to inspire excitement for learning, create paths to college and promote careers in education.

Breakthrough Greater Boston prepares low-income students for success in college and trains the next generation of urban teachers using a unique Students Teaching Students model. Through our six-year program, students gain a passion for learning and the perseverance and tools to succeed in college and beyond. Teaching Fellows gain intensive in-classroom experience, expert training and 1:1 coaching.

Through six years of intensive, tuition-free, out of school time programming, we change students’ academic trajectories and support them along the path to college. We are building the next generation of teachers through competitive recruitment, research-based training, and coaching from master teachers.

Founded by MacArthur Genius Award winner Angela Duckworth in 1992 in Cambridge, we expanded into Boston in 2013, followed by Somerville in 2018. With the 2024 completion of our growth plan, Breakthrough will serve 900 students and 200 teachers annually.

Position Details:

Job Description:


About Us and Our Philosophy 

Breakthrough Greater Boston (BTGB) is a transformative college access and teacher training program. BTGB offers six years of academic enrichment and college preparation to middle school and high school students with high potential but limited opportunities. Simultaneously, BTGB recruits, trains and inspires a diverse cohort of high achieving college students to become the next generation of urban teachers. Leveraging a Students Teaching Students model, BTGB provides engaging, tuition-free academic programming during the summer and after school. Our students gain the skills and motivation to succeed in rigorous high school courses and, ultimately, in college. Meanwhile, our teachers gain hands-on experience, research-based training and coaching from professional educators. 

Over the past eight years, 97% of our graduating students have matriculated to college, and 82% of them have persisted through their undergraduate years. On average, more than 70% of our graduating teachers have gone on to pursue careers in education. After two decades of success at our original Cambridge site, BTGB embarked upon a significant program expansion and opened a second site in Boston in the summer of 2013 and a third site in Somerville in 2018.  As an independent 501c3 nonprofit, Breakthrough Greater Boston is part of The Breakthrough Collaborative, a national educational movement working to improve educational outcomes for youth across 25 U.S. cities.  


With a deep commitment to our mission, BTGB operates with the highest standards of integrity and best practices, while also enjoying the ability to be innovative and flexible to meet the evolving needs of our students, families and teachers.  Our team is diverse, high-performing and dedicated.  We continue to build an organizational culture that emphasizes our core values for every member of our community:


·       Spirit: We cherish and embody the youthful energy and spirit of our students and teachers 

·       Continual Learning: Everyone in our community has something to learn and something to teach 

·       Team Together: We all chip in to accomplish whatever is needed for our teammates and the broader organization 

·       Student Centered: Our students are our first priority and our decisions center around what benefits our students 

·       Equity and Opportunity: We value diversity of identity, background and thought. We treat everyone with dignity and respect 

·       Excellence in Everything: We maintain high expectations for ourselves 


Breakthrough Greater Boston encourages individuals of all backgrounds to apply for this position, and we do not discriminate on any basis prohibited by applicable law. We celebrate the diversity of our world and our community, and we seek to build a team that reflects that diversity in every way. We welcome and encourage all qualified applicants who share that same vision, as we wish to engage all those who can contribute to our work and this mission.


Breakthrough Greater Boston is currently seeking a highly motivated and talented Director of College Access Programs (DCAP) for our Cambridge campus to support students during years 5 and 6 of their 6-year experience within the BTGB community. The DCAP helps ensure that BTGB’s 11th and 12th grade students at our Cambridge campus are fully supported as they apply and matriculate to college by offering intentional programming, individualized resources, and advocacy. The DCAP also plays a lead role in designing, overseeing, and evaluating post-secondary planning offerings across the organization.  The DCAP works closely with other members of the Program Team and reports directly to the Senior Director of High School Programs.


A successful Director of College Access Programs will:

  • Develop and maintain meaningful relationships with 11th-12th grade students at BTGB’s Cambridge campus, supporting their academic and social emotional growth while supporting their post-secondary planning
  • Maintain positive, regular communication with students’ families and other important adults, nurturing trusting relationships and collaboratively ensuring students’ success
  • Oversee development of innovative, responsive college access programming across the organization
  • Collaborate with other Program Team members to create a seamless layer of support for students and families during Breakthrough’s six-year program


In this role you will be responsible for a combination of direct service and program oversight responsibilities including:

Student and Family Support

  • Directly support students at our Cambridge campus through existing 11th and 12th grade school year programming, including course counseling, test prep, college visits, and the College Access Coach program
  • Champion students by nurturing individual student strengths and providing holistic advocacy, interventions, and resources as needed
  • Provide students with connections to supplemental career and enrichment opportunities during the summer and school year
  • Maintain regular communication with students’ families, including annual family check-ins, relevant family workshops, and individualized support with college and financial aid processes as needed

Program Management

  • Create new programming as appropriate to further our vision of every Breakthrough student having the skills and knowledge needed to attend – and be successful in – college; collaborate with team members at other campuses to ensure thoughtful, site-specific implementation of this programming
  • Recruit and supervise a team of dedicated volunteer College Access Coaches to work one-on-one with juniors and seniors across all campuses on various components of the college application process
  • Plan and lead the 10-day College Prep Institute for rising 12th grade students
  • Support students in our College Transition Program through summer workshops, panels, and other modes of outreach as appropriate
  • Ensure accurate and effective data collection to inform programmatic decision making and advance students’ eventual success
  • Collaborate with Senior Director of High School Programs on components of Breakthrough’s College Success Program pilot and any subsequent permanent programming

Partnership Management

  • In collaboration with other Program Directors, maintain positive, frequent communication with school staff members, representatives from local community-based organizations, and target colleges
  • Oversee collection and analysis of 11th and 12th grade student academic records including report cards, progress reports and Individualized Education Plans
  • Conduct semesterly guidance counselor check-ins to further inform individual supports for students and identify additional enrichment opportunities



As the incoming Director of College Access Programs, you will possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • Passion for Breakthrough Greater Boston’s mission
  • At least three years of related work experience with underserved students (preferably in grades 10 - 12) or in college admissions
  • Knowledgeable about college admissions and financial aid processes
  • Team player who demonstrates a positive attitude, energy and dedication to collaboration
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills with students, families and educators, including a great sense of humor
  • High level of comfort with organizational growth and programmatic change
  • Desire to become part of Breakthrough’s three-city community and to immerse oneself in the Cambridge Campus
  • Commitment to the use of data to inform practice with young people; strong organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Flexible schedule that allows for the ability to meet with students and families, including Saturdays and evenings
  • Candidates of color and those from low-income backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply as are those with fluency in Amharic, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Somali, and/or Spanish
  • Familiarity with Cambridge Public Schools a plus
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required


Not Specified


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:


If you are interested in learning more about how your passion and experience can help Breakthrough meet its mission and grow its impact, please submit your resume and a thoughtful and targeted cover letter outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position and stating how you heard about this opportunity.  Applications can be submitted to Amee Naik, Senior Director of High School Programs, at [email protected].

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Learn more about Breakthrough Greater Boston at


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