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Michelle Palmer

Executive Director

Michelle Palmer became Executive Director of Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia in February 2021, the culmination of decades of work in the field of education. As a teacher and administrator at Germantown Friends School and other independent schools, Michelle works closely with students, faculty and staff on strategic initiatives to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in education.


Michelle is deeply committed to making education fair and accessible. To that end, she facilitates the Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity (SEED) staff development project, and currently teaches a Social Justice course at GFS’s Upper School. She is co-founder of the GFS Alumni of Color program and served as its first manager until 2020. In recent years, Michelle has shared her expertise and experience in this area by presenting at several prestigious education conferences around the country.


Michelle 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. 

Why Breakthrough

Breakthrough programs fill a gap in education for so many children, it provides them with a singular opportunity to learn and surround themselves with others focused on taking charge of their future. I grew up in a single-parent household and I know my mom would have signed me up to a program like Breakthrough. I always loved learning, but the experience of having peers and teachers supporting me would have been an extraordinary boost to my confidence.

Fun Fact

I love to roller skate and have a pair of white skates with pink wheels.


Michelle Palmer
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