Meet our Team
Julie Witten, Executive Director
I remember when Breakthrough Cincinnati was founded as Summerbridge back in 1993. Some friends of mine worked as teachers and my grandfather served as a member of the Board of Trustees that founded the organization. Little did I know at the time that my career would lead me back to Breakthrough Cincinnati. Following my undergraduate studies at The University of New Hampshire, I led outdoor education programs in rural Michigan, facilitated teen drug prevention programs in Detroit, and directed after school programs in seven Cincinnati school districts. These opportunities helped me figure out that I care very deeply about the experiences that young people have outside of school. My desire to help families and children equip themselves for success took me to early childhood education hub 4C for Children where, for 13 years, I led teacher training programs and later served as the Vice President of Programs. I joined the team at Breakthrough Cincinnati in 2017 and I am energized every day as I work alongside our Board of Trustees, my excellent colleagues, our smart and innovative partners, and of course students and their families!
Elana Elmore, Program Director
I hope to connect with families, build community partnerships, and provide a safe space for youth to grow, develop, and learn at Breakthrough Cincinnati! I am a native of Dayton, Ohio, and have served youth in multiple capacities for over ten years. I earned a B.A. in Music Vocal Performance with an emphasis in Operatic Studies from Hampton University. After graduating, I performed extensively and in my spare time I still enjoy taking the stage as often as possible. In 2013, I joined Teach for America in Jacksonville, Florida, and taught high school for two years. With the desire to reach more students, I returned to the Dayton region to lead student programs with the Muse Machine, an arts education organization that serves 72,000 students throughout the Miami Valley. I am currently working toward a Master’s in Public Administration from Regent University. Student engagement is my passion and my goal is to help each student explore a productive struggle in a place where they know success is attainable.
Tiffany Dolder-Holland, Program Director
I am driven by a passion for establishing a caring community in my work with the youth and teachers at Breakthrough Cincinnati. A native of California, I came to Cincinnati in 2011 after teaching middle and high school math and science in the U.S. and abroad. I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University in International Comparative Education, Educational Leadership, and Curriculum Studies. I have been with Breakthrough Cincinnati since 2016. I am very proud of the partnership between Breakthrough Cincinnati and the University of Cincinnati to create academic enrichment opportunities on campus for students from nearby communities. I am excited to continue to listen to the needs of our students and teachers to make their experience one of tremendous growth.
Allison Lester, Evaluation and Curriculum Specialist
I bring my love for learning and teaching into the classroom and the variety of settings where I have taught, including teacher education, early childhood, special education, English as a second language (ESL) in Israel, and professional development workshops for veteran teachers. After teaching special education in rural North Carolina as a 2011 Teach For America corps member, I saw firsthand the inequity that exists in our schools. Motivated to make a difference, I joined the Breakthrough Cincinnati team after earning my master’s in Educational Studies for Social Change with a concentration in project-based curricula and human-centered evaluation at the University of Cincinnati. My goal is to create holistic, hands-on, minds-on learning experiences for Breakthrough Cincinnati’s 6th-9th graders that challenge, stimulate, and engage students in a way that is culturally relevant, meaningful, and transformative. I am currently completing my Ph.D. in Educational and Community-based Action Research at The University of Cincinnati with a focus on developing student-centered curricula.
Martina Pineda, Program Advancement Specialist (Americorps VISTA)
I am a new graduate from the University of Cincinnati, go Bearcats! I received my Bachelor of Science in Health Education and Promotion back in May. I loved campus life and took on leadership roles in a variety of student organizations like the UC Multicultural Greek Council and the UC Pinoy-American Student Organization. I recently became a Certified Health Education Specialist and I continue to work in the Student Wellness Center on campus. I am so passionate about community engagement, health & wellness, and minority advocacy.
Last summer I was a Teaching Fellow with Breakthrough Cincinnati and it holds such a special place in my heart. I am really looking forward to serving in an AmeriCorps VISTA position for Breakthrough Cincinnati as a Program Advancement Specialist, where I will help build capacity in the organization's evaluation, fundraising, and program systems. I'm bring critical thinking and growth-mindset, and a whole lot of creativity and enthusiasm, to Breakthrough Cincinnati. I can't wait to help the organization expand its impact in the community.