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Our History and Our Mission

The Breakthrough Collaborative is a network of tuition-free programs in which talented high school and college students teach motivated middle and high school students who are on the path to college. With 24 sites around the country, the Collaborative serves thousands of middle-school students each year with ambitious, tuition-free programs.

Breakthrough Santa Fe welcomed our first students in 2004 on the campus of Santa Fe Prep. The School initiated the Breakthrough program as part of our “Local Ground” initiative, seeking to serve the broader Santa Fe community with what we do best: provide an ambitious course of study in a warm, nurturing environment. Prep supports the program financially and institutionally—we consider Breakthrough an integral part of the School’s mission.

In addition to Breakthrough’s work with Santa Fe students, we provide high school and college students from across the country with a rewarding experience as teachers and mentors. This program component helps inspire talented young people to enter the field of education when they graduate. Breakthrough Santa Fe works in close collaboration with the Santa Fe Public Schools and other groups that serve our city’s youth.

Why is Breakthrough Important in Santa Fe?

 In the 2018 case Martinez and Yazzie v. State of New Mexico, Judge Sarah Singleton ruled that the public education system of New Mexico was not providing adequate education to many of its students, particularly English Language Learners and indigenous students. In 2020, the judge ruled that the state still had yet to comply with measures prescribed to remedy the situation.

We know that these holes in public education put already vulnerable students in positions to be less prepared to succeed in high school and to apply to college. Breakthrough seeks to serve these students by filling academic and advising needs to help them do well in high school and earn a Bachelor’s degree. About 90% of our students are of color, nearly all are drawn from the public school system, and many participate in free or reduced-price lunch programs. English is a second language for a substantial number of our students, and almost all are the first in their families to have the opportunity to attend college. We also serve students from the Cochiti, Kewa, Santa Clara, Pojoaque, and Tesuque pueblos who go to school in Santa Fe. 

With our support, over 90% of our students have graduated high school, and over 90% go to college. Breakthrough provides a valuable opportunity to supplement our students’ traditional education and set them on the path to college. Visit the Breakthrough Santa Fe website to learn more about the program’s history and success.

For more information about Breakthrough Santa Fe, please contact Executive Director Dieu Ho.


Breakthrough Team

Dieu Ho, Executive Director
Yesi Bermejo, Middle School Program Manager
Oscar Loya, Student Support Coordinator


Breakthrough Advisory Board

Susan Matteucci, Chair
Luis Burrola
Andrew Davis
Kenneth Johnson
Hanna Levin
Michael McNeill
Cindy Onore
Alejandra Palos
Anne Pedersen
Sam Ritter
Mitchell Rocha
Dennis Romero
Carol Romero-Wirth
Jenna Scanlan
Harry Shapiro
Leah Swanson