Dr. Robbin Smart is honored and excited to be the Executive Director of Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia. Her life's work has been devoted to a career in the leadership of educational institutions, in addition to having years of experience as a classroom educator. She is personally committed to the lifelong learning and advancement of all students in an atmosphere that is dedicated to achieving excellence. As the challenges facing first-generation college students in this country deepen and the need for qualified, committed educators grows, I am proud to be part of an organization that has developed a bold new vision to support students to and through college, and to establish the organization as a key element within the teacher pipeline and certification process.
Prior to joining Breakthrough, Dr. Smart served in several leadership capacities including the Interim Director of Enrollment Management at Girard College, the Principal and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of a charter school, and as a mentor and coach for novice and experienced teachers. She began her career as a teacher at Friends Select School in Philadelphia.
Dr. Smart was awarded a Doctorate in Educational and Organizational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's Degree in Multicultural Education from Eastern University, and Bachelor of Arts, with a major in Political Science, from Swarthmore College. She also has principal certifications in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Her focus on education extends outside the classroom. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Eastern University Charter School in Philadelphia and on the Board of Directors for A Better Chance, Strath Haven.
Miriam Leisman joined the staff of Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia full time as the Director of Programs in 2015 after supporting Teaching Fellows for multiple summer programs since 2010. An experienced educator with background in both information technology and curriculum development, Miriam brings a decade of experience as an educator and eighteen years of experience in the workforce.
Before joining Breakthrough, Miriam taught multiple subjects -- primarily Mathematics -- to middle and high school students in the Philadelphia area. She earned her Masters of Education in Secondary Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania, her Bachelor of Arts in Jewish Studies from Scripps College in Claremont, California, and her Associate of Science in Computer Science from Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.
Jamika Porter graduated from Eastern University with a BA in Organizational Leadership and Development and an MBA in Business Management. As the Program Manager for Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia, she oversees all aspects of our programs with students, families, and teaching fellows. With such love for what Breakthrough does for students, she has a true desire to be a part of positive change.
Debra Stevens is the Executive Administrative Assistant at Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia. In joining Breakthrough she was excited to be a part of a program that provides academic enrichment to the students of Philadelphia.
Debra is a native of Philadelphia and attended Community College of Philadelphia, where she received an Associate's degree in Information Technology and then attended Saint Joseph's University, where she received a Bachelor's of Science degree in Healthcare Administration.
Prior to joining Breakthrough Debra was a practice manager of a primary care office and also a software analyst and training consultant for ten years at a large company.
Ilana Lipowicz graduated from SUNY Binghamton in 2015 where she studied Creative Writing and minored in Russian and Film. As the Test Prep Instructor for Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia, she teaches the Saturday program Test Prep course for ACT and SAT readiness for grades 9 – 11. She loves how Breakthrough helps motivated kids get the head start they need to make the most out of their lives and is excited to continue working with Breakthrough.