Who We Are

We are a group of private-sector leaders coming from local companies, nonprofits, higher education, and philanthropy working to ensure educational success for Greater Hartford students from high school through post-secondary degree-completion.

Our Mission

To close the opportunity gap in Greater Hartford and build a viable talent pipeline for our region and state.

Our Vision

We envision Hartford as the state’s leading talent hub, with our city’s young people well placed in careers and the cycle of poverty ended. 

What We Do

We work with public-private sector partners to identify gaps in services and provide support where it’s needed.

Chris Marcelli

Executive Director 

Chris Marcelli, the executive director, joined Achieve Hartford in 2016, taking on increasing levels of responsibility and leadership. Marcelli has served as Achieve Hartford’s program director since June 2020, and before that, as program manager. In those roles, he helped create, launch and oversee the expansion of programs that provide peer mentors to help first-generation students start and persist in community college.

Marcelli earned a Master of Public Administration from UConn and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Economics from Central Connecticut State University. A first-gen student, he began his higher education at a community college while serving in the Connecticut National Guard.

He has worked in Institutional Effectiveness, where he built and implemented a new system for the assessment of co-curricular programs, conducted financial projections and peer institution analysis, and administered a $10,000 mini-grant fund. He worked in Performance Management at the Department of Children and Families.

Tim Goodwin

Coalition Organizer Lead

Tim has worked in education for over 20 years, including 18 years as a teacher and administrator, and 8 years as an Executive Director leading education non-profit organizations in the Hartford area.

Under his leadership Hartford Youth Scholars and Community Farm of Simsbury were founded and developed into strong and sustainable non-profit organizations. Currently they have provided educational access to thousands of Hartford children, improving the lives of countless families.

Most recently, Timothy was the Executive Director of Hartford City Mission, a non-profit organization serving North Hartford families. As the Principal at the Culinary Arts Academy at Weaver High School (CAA Weaver) from September 2013 through June 2015, Timothy oversaw several school wide improvement initiatives, including an enrollment increase of 19%, MAP participation rate increase of 102%, the average student RIT score in reading up 300%, the average student RIT score in math up 250%, behavioral referrals down 70%, attendance up 8%, and chronic absenteeism down 16%.

Timothy has his M.Ed. from Springfield College and his 6th Year Degree in Educational Leadership from Quinnipiac University. His consistent work on behalf of Hartford children has established him as a leader in understanding the city’s persistent achievement gap and developing improvement initiatives to address it.

Theresa Sullivan Barger

Grant Writer / Communications Manager

Theresa is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Hartford Courant, Family Circle, and several national business, health and higher education magazines.

In her early years as a Courant staff writer, she covered crime in Hartford and got to know the city’s neighborhoods. She has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2007. She has provided writing services as a consultant to Achieve Hartford! since its beginning.

Theresa has a B.A. in English literature from Marist College.

Who Backs Us

Board Chair

  • Ted Fleming
  • VP Talent Development
  • CVS Health


Board Treasurer

  • Jim Bedard
  • CFO
  • UnitedHealthcare Northeast Region
  • Niasia Williams
  • Mechanical Systems Engineer
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • Melissa Melonson
  • Co-Founder and President
  • Lumi Luxe Agency
  • Eric Stone
  • Founder, CEO
  • Clear Path Ventures
  • Thom Cranley
  • Principal
  • Ernst & Young
  • Ellen Last
  • Co-Founder
  • Sprint 52
  • Stefanie Chambers
  • Professor of Political Science
  • Department Chair
  • Trinity College
  • Courtney Kunzelmann
  • Secretary, VP Head, Retirement Strategic Marketing
  • Prudential
We Value
  • Action

  • Results

  • Systemic Change

  • Bold leaders who force hard conversations

  • Putting kids first when reconciling different interests

  • Leaders who collaborate to the point of interdependence

  • Using data to understand what really works and drive decisions

  • “Test and Learn” approaches

  • Leveraging best practices from anywhere

  • Community voices

Contact Us

Achieve Hartford!
1429 Park St., Unit 114
Hartford, CT 06106


(860) 244-3333


[email protected]


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