Staff

Michelle Palmer, Executive Director

Michelle Palmer has recently been named Director of the Breakthrough Program at GFS. Michelle has been a devoted leader in the GFS community, serving as a teacher, administrator, and practitioner, for the past 12 years. She has worked closely with students, families, faculty, staff, and neighbors on various strategic initiatives, particularly in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In addition to her work in the school’s Advancement office, Michelle serves as a certified facilitator for the Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (S.E.E.D.) staff-development project, and formerly managed the GFS Alumni of Color program. She has presented on engaging diverse communities at the 2018 CASE Conference in Philadelphia, the 2019 MCRC ADVIS conference, the 2019 People of Color Conference in Seattle and the upcoming 2020 New York State of Independent Schools.
Michelle is passionate about social justice issues and in 2020 co-taught a Social Justice class with GFS Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Angela Campbell and Director of Community Engagement Kathy Paulmier. She has also organized dialogues and events designed to bring people together, celebrate, and educate. Michelle has worked in independent schools for over 16 years. She has a Master of Science in Education in Instructional Technology from Arcadia University, a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from New School University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Temple University. Michelle has been married to Conrad Waldron for ten years and is the mother to Jaden, Dean, and Paige.

Debra Stevens, Recruitment Manager

Debra Stevens is the Recruitment Coordinator 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.

Sakina Parks, Program Manager

Sakina Parks currently serves as Program Manager for Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia at Germantown Friends School. Sakina has been in the field of education since in 2001. Her roles have included classroom teacher for grades K-6 for various independent schools in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. In 2012, Sakina was named Teacher of the Year at The Lotus Academy where she served as an elementary classroom instructor.  In addition, Sakina has been named Program Director for Out of School Programming within the non-profit sector as well as Program Director for a local community service children’s organization.  Most recently, she has worked as a Special Instructor for children with developmental delays providing intervention to assist in their educational abilities. Sakina has dedicated her career to ensuring that all children have access to quality education and that they have the tools needed to succeed.  She is a true advocate for all students.

Sakina is a proud graduate of Spelman College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a minor in Education.  She is the mother of three and married to Drew Parks.

Dominque Davenport, Program Communications and Database Manager

Dominique Davenport is a Philadelphia native that graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, VA with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management. Dominique has been working in digital marketing and communications for a decade and also has a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry serving previously in the classroom and as a coach in the Pennsylvania Independent school systems.

Breakthrough Collaborative

180 Grand Ave #1225, Oakland, CA 94612, USA