Remembering Nancy Tessier
A new twist on Are You Smarter than a Breakthrough Student?!
Catch the Spirit this summer!
Celebrating 30 Years of Breakthroughs!

Remembering Nancy Tessier:

A hero, a mentor, a
critical friend to, and
builder of Breakthrough!

“I've been waiting my whole life for a program like this!”
- Nancy on the Founding of Summerbridge (Breakthrough) Manchester in 1991

Breakthrough Manchester was humbled and honored to be chosen as one of the recipients of memorial gifts in Nancy Tessier's obituary (1941-2021). With the passing of Nancy, Breakthrough and the world of Education lost a shining star. She was a true advocate for equitable education, as shared in her obituary, “Nancy was deeply devoted to educating Manchester's children, but also to cultivating and mentoring the next generation of teachers. As a colleague, union negotiator, assistant principal, and principal, and later as assistant superintendent and a school board member, Nancy's advocacy for both students and teachers influenced the Manchester School District at every level.”

Her goals and Breakthrough’s dual mission align perfectly! As Marc Hurlbut shared in the story of Breakthrough's founding, Nancy saw Breakthrough as a potential lifesaver and exceptional gift to the Manchester community. She offered compelling recollections of students who had been stars in her class only to move on to an over-crowded “junior high school” where they got totally lost in the shuffle and in some cases, eventually dropped out of school altogether. Nancy was one of Breakthrough’s most loyal champions as she took the time to understand the program and help identify kids she felt would thrive. There were many skeptics and Nancy played an integral role in helping get the support to launch Summerbridge. Without Nancy’s advocacy, who knows if Breakthrough would have ever gained the momentum to succeed? 

When founding director, Lynn Sorenson visited Beech Street School after that first summer, Nancy came out of her office to say, “I hear only great things, I want you to talk me about the goals and long term commitment of the program.” She felt strongly that every educator in the city should know about Summerbridge, so Nancy brought Lynn to a meeting with the superintendent and all the principals where Lynn shared the vision and power of the program. That would never have happened in most cities - Nancy just made it happen! “I credit her vision of understanding what the communities’ problems were that I was so new to.” Nancy helped Lynn crack those pretty quickly. Lynn’s favorite moments with Nancy were just talking about families and what she knew as an educator and the challenges of educating children in Manchester. Nancy recognized malnutrition among Manchester students and partnered with Lynn to help educate our students and families. Nancy would even personally bring food in for students to promote healthy eating. “Nancy was so unique, I was shocked how open and honest and caring she was, it was amazing!”

From the beginning, Nancy made it clear there needed to be a commitment that Breakthrough would be around for a while. Her sentiment was, “we need to make sure this is still here when we’re all gone.” What a testament to Nancy and Breakthrough’s legacy that Breakthrough continues to grow and thrive thirty years later. Thank you Nancy for making this possible. Rest in peace.

“If we would have allowed ourselves to dream about what the program might become someday, it would have been for it to be embedded in the community and seen as one of Manchester’s crown jewels. Nancy’s obituary makes me believe we’re there.” - Marc Hurlbut, Head of The Derryfield School (1982-1994) and Founder of Breakthrough Manchester
A new twist on our
5th Annual
Are You Smarter than a Breakthrough Student?
Join us for our asynchronous trivia competition launching on March 16. Details here!

Catch the Spirit!
Join us as a Student or Teaching Fellow this summer!
“Breakthrough is a school that helps prepare you for college. You meet a lot of amazing teachers, students, and the beautiful campus. It helps you academically and also prepares you for your future!”    
- Madyson, BTM Student

“My favorite part of teaching at Breakthrough Manchester was being part of a safe environment for both faculty and students to teach and learn from each other. I feel very lucky to have been able to develop my academic and professional skills while being part of such a diverse, driven community.”   
- Griffin Antle, 2017 BTM Teaching Fellow, High School English Teacher, Chicago, Illinois

Click here to apply as a student!
Click here to apply as a Teaching Fellow!
The application deadline is February 24, 2022.