Debra McLoud, Executive Director DSC_0916

Deb joined Breakthrough Manchester as Executive Director in 2018 when she moved from Rhode Island to her home state of New Hampshire. Deb was with The Gordon School in Rhode Island for 25 years where she served in a variety of capacities from Director of Technology and Robotics coach to classroom teacher and President of the Gordon Community Association. She has taught at every grade level from nursery to eighth grade and coached many activities from robotics to basketball.  Deb has been active with the school’s Diversity and Social Justice initiatives for which Gordon School is recognized as a leader among Independent Schools. As a fundraiser for the school, Deb was a member of the founding team of an endowment to support after school programs, co-chaired a major gala and auction event and has solicited support for the Annual Fund. She was also a committee chair for the school’s last two strategic plans and AISNE re-accreditation.

 Before pursuing a career in education, Deb worked in the financial services field. She worked on a corporate and government bond desk in Boston before serving individuals as an Investment Advisor. Later, as a Field Representative for Merrill Lynch, Deb hired, trained, supervised and evaluated Registered Representatives in northeast and mid-west offices.

Deb has also served on non-profit boards throughout Rhode Island including St. Mary’s Home for Children. She has held several leadership positions including President of the Junior League of Rhode Island and Treasurer of the Rhode Island Antiques Show. She has led committees for many fundraising events, and volunteered at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, The Tomorrow Fund, and other organizations that support women’s and children’s health.

 “I am thrilled to be able to bring my varied skills and experiences to Breakthrough Manchester where we truly make a difference in the lives of underserved Manchester students and help them along the path to college. I am also passionate about inspiring bright young teachers to pursue careers in education. From the day I walked onto the Derryfield campus, Breakthrough Manchester felt like a perfect fit!”

Chau Ngo, Program Director


Chau Ngo has been involved with Breakthrough Manchester since 2006 as a student, Super Saturday Teaching Intern, and Teaching Fellow. Chau is a graduate of Massachusetts College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in Art Education and is excited to share her vision as Program Director.

Prior to joining Breakthrough, Chau completed the U.S. Fulbright Program teaching English to high school students and serving as an U.S. Cultural Ambassador in Vietnam. During her time at MassArt, she completed a year-long internship teaching grades 9-12 at Boston Arts Academy, assisted/substitute taught in k-12 public schools in Boston, MA and Manchester, NH, and worked as a resident assistant and housing program coordinator.

Her identity as a first generation, Vietnamese-American from a low-income family plays a significant role in shaping who she is, the work that she does, and her professional goals – to cultivate an environment where students are given equal opportunity in education, and are able to celebrate their background and experiences. As Program Director, she expresses that “Breakthrough is a program whose mission is to increase academic opportunity for motivated students by preparing them for college. It supported my family and me in areas where there were gaps. I discovered that with the right resources, students with backgrounds similar to my own can meet their goals. Working at Breakthrough in the past has afforded me the opportunity to better understand the significance of education equity and I am honored to contribute to this work.”

Alice Handwerk, Director of Philanthropy & Communications

Alice Handwerk serves as Breakthrough Manchester’s Director of Philanthropy and Communications. Alice joined Breakthrough in December 2019 after 16 years in The Derryfield School’s (Breakthrough’s host site) Philanthropy and Engagement Office. Prior to her tenure at Derryfield, Alice worked at Sheridan School in Washington, DC where she was in the development office for six years, four as director. She began her development career at The League of Women Voters and also worked at The George Washington University.

Alice is a Derryfield mom of two daughters, Lilly in the eighth grade and Phoebe in the sixth. Originally from Philadelphia, Alice lives in Amherst with her daughters, husband Brian, and their two dogs Greta and Guthrie. She loves life in New Hampshire where she can embrace outdoor activities year round particularly skiing, hiking, and mountain biking. When not outdoors, she enjoys cooking and reading.