CEO Announcement

September 14, 2021

To the Families, Staff, Alumni, and Supporters of Breakthrough:

We are thrilled to announce that Ralph Johnson has been selected as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Breakthrough Public Schools. He will begin in this role on October 18, 2021.

We are grateful to the CEO Search Task Force for their important contribution to the selection process. The Task Force--consisting of a diverse group of Breakthrough teachers, administrators, parents, and alumni --provided invaluable counsel as we reached this decision. In addition, dozens of people across our Breakthrough community provided the Task Force valuable input throughout the six-month search process.


Ralph Johnson

New Chief Executive Officer
Breakthrough Public Schools

Ralph Johnson is an accomplished leader with experience helping organizations fulfill their mission and develop strong teams. For two decades, Ralph has been a senior people leader and team builder at McKinsey Company, a global management consulting firm. Most recently, Ralph served as one of McKinsey Firm Ombuds, where he was responsible for strengthening workplace culture and addressing issues impacting staff satisfaction for 12,000 employees in North and South America. Earlier in his McKinsey career, Ralph was a consultant, and a Director of Professional Development. Ralph previously served as General Manager of the Cuyahoga County Welfare Reform Agency where he led a staff of 750 and was responsible for workforce development programs.

Beyond his leadership experience, Ralph has a long history in Cleveland and with Breakthrough. He has lived in Cleveland for years with his wife, Lisa, and their two children, Janae and Cameron. Ralph is currently a member of The Word Church in Cleveland. For over twenty years he was an Ordained Deacon and Associate Minister at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Cleveland’s Mt. Pleasant neighborhood. He served as an advisor to the leadership team that originally created Entrepreneurship Prep. Ralph also brings the perspective of a Breakthrough parent, as his son, Cameron, attended Breakthrough as a student.

We also want to express our deep respect and admiration for our founding CEO, Alan Rossskamm. Alan worked for over a decade to build the Breakthrough network, strengthen systems and connections across our schools, and provide families with high-quality public school options across the city.

We are making this transition at a time when Breakthrough has strong momentum. Because of our dedicated team of teachers, staff, and school leaders, we continue to provide students a school environment where they feel a sense of belonging and are challenged to reach their academic potential. We are confident that Ralph will build on this strong foundation and lead Breakthrough Schools to greater heights in its second decade.

In Partnership,   


Danielle Eisenberg
Chair, CEO Search Task Force


Jennifer Howard
Chair, Board of Directors