Our Team

Jason Colon

AmeriCorps*VISTA College Bound Coordinator

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Jason is the BTP College Bound Coordinator, where he works to build Breakthrough Providence’s capacity to promote high school and college success for low-income, first generation college-bound students. Jason currently is a student at the University of Rhode Island, where he is studying English and secondary education in hopes of becoming an educator. He was born and raised in the city of Providence, where he has served the community through various mentoring and community outreach projects. Jason believes education’s purpose is to help replace an empty mind with an open one. To show that education brings inspiration, love, and knowledge amongst us all.

Nicholas Bernardo

Program Director for Student & Family Engagement

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In 2008, Nick left Dartmouth, Massachusetts for Rhode Island College, where he eventually earned his teaching degree. Accompanying his studies, he worked with RIC’s Student Community Government, Inc., tutored writing, and served as a Feinstein School of Education Dean’s Fellow. It was also in during his college years that Nick first encountered Breakthrough Providence. Upon graduating, Nick was presented with the Katherine Murray Prize honoring his commitment to education and critical issues within the field. With this experience, Nick taught 7th grade social studies in Fall River, MA and returned to Breakthrough in consecutive summers as the Ninth Grade Fellows Mentor and a Mentor Teacher. As an educator, Nick is driven by John Dewey’s belief that beyond preparation for life, education is life itself.

Marisa Chock

Program Director for Teacher Education

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Marisa’s first introduction to the Breakthrough Collaborative was as a teacher at Summerbridge San Francisco in 2006. It was there that Marisa began to develop her commitment to urban education and social justice, and she is excited to return to the Breakthrough community. Originally hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, Marisa has spent most of the past decade in Providence. She received a B.A. in Education Studies and an MAT in Secondary History/Social Studies Education from Brown University. Following graduate school, Marisa taught 7th and 8th grade social studies in Central Falls. Marisa also worked at Brown, where she recruited and supported graduate students in the Master of Arts in Teaching and Urban Education Policy programs and organized leadership institutes for international teachers and school administrators. As an educator, Marisa works toward developing holistic teaching and learning environments that support both students and teachers as collaborative learners. She continues to be energized by her fellow educators and the empowered young people around her. Outside of Breakthrough, Marisa is an avid photographer, baker, hiker, snacker, and hula dancer.

Carlon Howard

Executive Director

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Carlon is the executive director of Breakthrough Providence where he oversees program strategy and implementation. He is a social entrepreneur dedicated to exploring innovative ways to solve some of our country’s most pressing problems. He helped found the Fellowship for Educators for Equity and Diversity – an initiative aimed at recruiting and retaining teachers from historically under-served communities – and EduLeaders of Color R.I. which hosts monthly meetups designed to support education leaders from underrepresented backgrounds. Before entering his current role with Breakthrough Providence, Carlon served as a City Year AmeriCorps member and Impact Manager, was a classroom teacher, and was a policy fellow for Colorado State Senator Mike Johnston.  He graduated from the University of Georgia with undergraduate degrees in criminal justice and political science and completed his graduate degree in education from Rhode Island College.  Carlon is an avid reader and lifelong learner who spends much of his time exploring topics related to world history, financial literacy, and management and leadership.