Press Release

For Immediate Release

John Zitzner - / 216-373-7801
Steve Mancini - / 415-531-5396

Ralph Johnson Joins Breakthrough Public Schools as Chief Executive Officer

--Johnson has experience as a Breakthrough advisor and parent--

CLEVELAND, OH, September 14, 2021 -- The Breakthrough Board of Directors has named Ralph Johnson Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Breakthrough Public Schools. Ralph will begin as CEO on October 18, 2021. He will be replacing longtime CEO Alan Rosskamm who is retiring after more than a decade of service to Breakthrough.

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’s 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. Prior to joining McKinsey, Ralph 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. Ralph brings personal experience with Breakthrough Public Schools, having advised the leadership team that originally created Entrepreneurship Preparatory School and watched his son attend Breakthrough as a student.

“In Ralph Johnson, Breakthrough has found a transformative and strategic leader with the vision and clarity to lead Breakthrough into its second decade,” said Breakthrough Public Schools Board Chair Jennifer Howard. “Ralph brings the lens of not only a leader at one of the world’s most impactful consulting companies, but a parent of a Breakthrough student.”

Breakthrough Public Schools is one of the top-performing networks of public charter schools in Ohio. Breakthrough's mission is to develop a growing network of distinctive school options that prepare Cleveland area students for success in life. Breakthrough currently has 12 schools serving nearly 3,600 students with campuses in Glenville, St Clair - Superior, Lee Harvard, Union Miles, and Cudell.


Ralph Johnson

New Chief Executive Officer
Breakthrough Public Schools

“I have long admired the work of Breakthrough Public Schools here in Cleveland, and I am thrilled and honored to be stepping into the role of CEO,” said Ralph Johnson. “Having experienced the high-quality education at Breakthrough schools as a parent, I look forward to building on the Breakthrough legacy and furthering the organization’s important work.”

The Breakthrough Board selected Ralph through a rigorous, national search process. The Breakthrough Board received valuable input from the CEO Search Task Force, drawn from Breakthrough’s diverse school community. The Task Force members included: Jeff Berlin, Danielle Eisenberg, Musa Hakim, Paul Haris, Jennifer Howard, Quatrice James, Alan Kopit, Stephanie Macek, Andrew McRae, Dick Pace, Lynesha Richardson, Sam Steinhouse, Cynthia Tancer, Khalilah Worley Billy, and John Zitzner.

“We are appreciative of the hard work of everyone on our CEO Search Task Force, as well as our broader Breakthrough community, for their thoughtful feedback throughout the search process,” said Danielle Eisenberg, Board of Directors member and Chair of Breakthrough’s CEO Search Task Force. “We are excited to welcome Ralph to the Breakthrough team and look forward to his leadership in our next stage.”

Schools in the Breakthrough network have long been the highest-performing schools in their respective communities. In a 2017 comprehensive national study by CREDO at Stanford University, among 277 public school networks studied nationwide Breakthrough was ranked #11 nationally in reading, #16 nationally in math, and #1 overall in Ohio.

“Our community and scholars deserve the best during these challenging and important times. As a parent of a Breakthrough scholar and community organizer for education, I want Breakthrough’s new CEO to value our children and lead this network to even greater levels of academic achievement,” said Breakthrough CEO Search Task Force Member Khalilah Worley Billy.” Ralph Johnson is the leader we need to prepare the next generation of leaders in Cleveland.

"As co-founder of Breakthrough, I am absolutely thrilled that the Board of Directors chose Ralph to succeed our terrific CEO and my partner of over ten years—Alan Rosskamm,” said Friends of Breakthrough President John Zitzner. “Ralph’s history with Breakthrough, his experience as a builder of effective teams, and his deep commitment to making Cleveland a better place to live makes him an outstanding choice to lead Breakthrough into our next chapter.”

About Breakthrough

Breakthrough Public Schools is a network of free, public charter schools in Cleveland, Ohio. With 12 schools throughout the city, Breakthrough is seeking to further Greater Cleveland’s transformation by providing distinctive school options to thousands of Cleveland's K-8 students. As the third-largest network of K-8 schools in Cuyahoga County, Breakthrough has been recognized as a top-performing network of K-8 schools in Cleveland, honored by local, state, and national organizations for excellence in teaching, leadership, and student achievement. For more information, go to