Welcome the 2020 Surge Oakland Cohort!

We are proud to announce that 16 leaders from across the Oakland & Bay Area education landscape have been selected for the 2020 Surge Oakland Fellowship program! This year-long cohort-based program focuses on uniting, accelerating, and empowering leaders of color in education and youth-serving organizations.

The Surge Institute officially began serving Oakland & Bay Area communities in January 2018, with the number of our Bay Area Alumni reaching a total of 22 African American, Latinx, and Asian/Pacific Islander education leaders this past July.

Prospective candidates hear from 2019 Surge Oakland Alumna, Dulce Torres-Petty and Surge Oakland Executive Director, Michelle Seijas, Ed.D.

The following is a list of the 2020 Oakland Surge Fellows:

Over the course of the Fellowship program, Surge Fellows will receive executive skill training, a space for connection and community building, and the tools needed to facilitate transformative change within institutions and organizations serving youth and communities of color.

The cohort will also develop their own leadership and advocacy skills, with the culminating final step of the program being the completion of individual capstone projects, which will focus on advancing the work of a new or existing Oakland education initiative. Afterward, graduating Fellows become part of an elite and growing national network of over 100 Surge Fellowship Alumni who are currently leading change in numerous cities across the United States.

2020 Surge Oakland prospective candidates engage in a education and equity dialogue that mirrors aspects of the Surge Fellowship.

The Surge Fellowship began in Chicago in 2015, with the goal of expanding diversity in the education leadership pipeline. Over the past 4 years, the Surge Movement has expanded its reach beyond our imagination! 2.25 million students across the United States have been impacted by the work of Surge Alumni through education and youth-based organizations, and 97% of Surge Alumni say that their experience with the Surge Institute lead to an expansion of their own personal vision!

“The Surge Fellowship is a place for me to stand bold in my convictions, unpack my own identity within the context of the dominant narrative, and build up my own skills and literacy on how to disrupt, reimagine and rebuild oppressive educational systems. For me, I chose Surge because it’s a space to reignite a sense of hope and healing within this work. It is a committed system of care and support that will have a lasting impact as I continue to serve our students and lead the teachers of Oakland,” stated Roxanne Rose, 2020 Surge Fellow and Assistant Principal at Achieve Academy, Education for Change Public Schools.

The Surge Institute Welcomes 3 New Staff Members to the National Leadership Team!

The Surge Institute would like to extend a warm welcome to three new staff members who will be joining the Surge’s national leadership team! The Development and Program departments are key to building Surge’s national education movement, and the organization is proud to bring onboard three additional brilliant minds to aid in the organization’s education efforts.

 

George Deveney has accepted the role of Vice President of New Site Development. Previous to his new role with Surge, Deveney spent the last seventeen years at City Year, an education non-profit organization dedicated to helping students and schools succeed. He worked in recruitment before leading the launch of their second international affiliate in London and went on to work in partnership with local stakeholders and champions to launch new City Year programs in nine cities across the United States. In his new role, Deveney will lead the charge of ensuring that Surge’s vision and impact continues to extend across the national education landscape by leading the charge towards setting the groundwork for new locations where there is a need for Surge’s programming. “This is an exciting time to be joining Surge Institute as we continue to empower leaders and elevate voices in the cities we currently serve while being responsive to cities across the country who are seeking to bring our powerful and unique model to their communities,” said Deveney. “The impact that Surge Institute has already had provides a strong foundation to build on, and I look forward to being part of the future.”

 

 

 

Next, Surge welcomes Noemí Cortés as the new Program Director for the Surge Academy. Cortés joined the  Surge team in July of 2018 as a consultant Program Manager for Surge Academy in Kansas City and comes with a breadth of experience as a classroom educator, pre-service teacher professor, and school administrator. Cortés brings a critical consciousness to leadership development and understands the critical tenets of adult learning needed to lead the Surge Academy to the next level. “I’m excited to bring the powerful, healing work of the Surge movement to more folks of Color across the country. I am even more excited to be heading back to Kansas City to continue the work we started just one year ago,” said Cortés.

 

 

Lastly, Sam Wong will be joining the Surge team as the new part-time Development Coordinator. Wong joins as a staff member who will support Surge’s donor gift operations, playing a pivotal role in ensuring that the organization reaches its national short and long-term fundraising goals. For the past 4 years, Wong has worked as the Database Manager for San Diego LGBT Community Center, five years as a Human Resources consultant for BMO Harris Bank, and over the last 14 years served as a volunteer for both BMO Financial Employee Resource Groups Chicago, Illinois, and the AIDS Walk in San Diego.

The Surge Institute is blessed to have these leaders joining the team and looks forward to working and collaborating all in the effort of expanding and fulfilling Surge’s mission!

Surge Founder & President on MIB’s List of Chicago Black Women of Impact

Carmita Semaan was recently featured on Make it Better Magazine’s list showcasing 38 of Chicago’s TOP Black Women of Impact for 2019. In honor of Black History Month, each woman was asked to talk about the women who have inspired them the most in their lives. The list features leaders who work in fields such as education, politics, and business.

MIB strives to be a community resource that helps others make their life and the lives of others better — online, in print and in person. MIB accomplishes this by providing high-quality lifestyle content and connecting others to the businesses and nonprofits they support.

Learn more by clicking HERE!

Surge Alumni Make Negocios Now 2018 40 Under 40 List

Two alumni of the Surge Fellowship were recently awarded as recipients for the Negocios Now 2018 Latinos 40 Under 40 List. Paul Morgan (2018 Surge Alumnus) and LeShonne Segura (2015 Surge Alumna) were selected after an over four-month nominations period and record participation with more than 120 nominations.

The list features 40 young Latinx leaders in the Chicago area who work in fields such as education, fashion, and business, just to name a few. Negocios Now is a national award-winning publication and launched the 40 Under 40 list in 2016.

Click here to learn more!

2019 Surge Fellow Awarded Field Leader Award

As the 2019 Surge Fellowship program began, The Field Foundation announced 2019 Surge Fellow, Steven Rosado, as the recipient of their Field Leader Award.

The Field Leader Award is a highly-selective honor given to an individual leader working at a Field Foundation grantee organization. It is designed to promote visionaries across Chicago by building social capital, skillsets, networks, and exposure.

Steven is the Senior Program Director, Citywide Youth Councils at Mikva Challenge and was selected as a Surge fellow in September of this year. With over 10 years of experience in the field, a focus on social justice, youth development, and policy – Steven is a strong candidate to receive the award.

“It is an honor to be selected as the Surge Field Leader by the Field Foundation, and I am looking forward to learning with and from other Field Leaders in addition to my Surge Family, shared Steven Rosado, “As a Field Leader, I hope to leverage this opportunity to continue to be an ally to young people in Chicago who are challenging the inequitable institutions that impact their lives every day.” 

A native Chicago resident and staff member at Mikva Challenge since July 2014, Steven’s experience includes strengthening youth participation in the formation, implementation, and evaluation of public policy in city government around a variety of issue areas such as education, health and wellness, housing, juvenile justice, and youth safety.

Steven at Surge Chicago 2019 Fellowship selection days.

About The Field Foundation

Founded in 1940 by Marshall Field III, the Field Foundation is a private, independent foundation that has been dedicated to the promise of Chicago for over 80 years. The Field Foundation aims its grantmaking toward the goal of Community Empowerment through Justice, Art and Leadership Investment. With racial equity at the center of its giving, it directs dollars to critical organizations working to address systemic issues in Chicago and aims to directly benefit some of our city’s most divested communities

Featured Fellow: Joanna Vazquez Zelaya on the Journey to Belonging

Joanna Vazquez Zelaya is a 2018 Surge Alumna, a graduate of the inaugural Oakland Surge Cohort, the Alchemists. Joanna Vazquez is an advocate for students who find themselves at the intersection of identities and is leading Oakland’s charge in designing Linked Learning high schools across the city in order transform the experience of students within the classroom to engage students in contextualized and relevant learning.

Joanna’s Work

Joanna is committed to fulfilling Oakland’s hope of preparing students for college, career, and community in more intentional and responsive manner that is conscious of the complex interests of young people.  Her passion for social justice, educational equity, and holistic development of young people stems from upbringing in Fullerton, CA as a first generation high school and college graduate.

“I believe every child can learn when they are given the right supports,” Randy says his personal mission. “The reason I’m in this work is because that belief is strong. It’s not going away.”

Joanna’s Background

The oldest of four siblings, Joanna took the role of educator, mentor, translator, and connector between the world and her family as she helped them navigate and translate systems and experiences from a very young age. As a first-generation high school graduate and a product of the public education system, Joanna has first-hand knowledge and experience of what it is like to be an underserved student with high aspirations and immense cultural and aspirational wealth and capital. Subsequently, as a first generation college graduate, Joanna has first-hand knowledge and experience of navigating complex systems and structures.

Joanna is committed to fulfilling Oakland’s hope of preparing students for college, career, and community in more intentional and responsive manner that is conscious of the complex interests of young people. She continues to use her strengths to work with school and district leaders to challenge themselves to reimagine and redesign the high school experience of Oakland youth. Joanna continues to hone her skills and abilities to discuss complex educational theories and concepts and translate them to into tangible strategies and process that can be operationalized.

Joanna holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles in Psychology and Chicana/o Studies with minors in Education, Gender Studies, and Labor Studies. Joanna currently serves as a mentor through the East Bay College Fund and is a member of the Surge Institute’s Inaugural Oakland Fellowship (2018). Joanna embodies her cultural traditions as a storyteller who shares her journey and experiences within her intersectional identities and is currently working on a podcast to do just that with a larger audience.

#SurgeForMore Giving Event Brings in Largest Total Ever!

Our 2018 #SurgeForMore seven-days of online giving has come to a close, and once again, we saw an inspiring flood of support from our growing community of change agents. Through your generosity, we surpassed our lofty goal of $75,000 in support of programming to develop, elevate and unite emerging education leaders of color, who impact our communities.

With an incredible grand total of $104,137, we blew that goal out of the water and raised more than double our 2017 #SurgeForMore total, all while gaining a multitude of new donors across the nation.

This record-breaking achievement could not have been possible without such generous donations from you, our passionate supporters! We are thrilled to share our appreciation for the loud voices and valiant efforts of our Surge Fellow and Alumni family, who raised more than $15,000 toward the grand total.

We would also like to give special thanks to our generous match donors: two anonymous supporters provided $20,000 and $5,000, respectively, and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund provided $5,000!

Finally, we want to acknowledge an amazing $35,000 donation from an anonymous donor, a deeply heartwarming show of love and passion for our movement and mission!

We are greatly appreciative to all who donated during our #SurgeForMore seven-days of giving, and thank you for your love and support of this work. We could not do it without you. If you haven’t had a chance to give, it’s never too late! In fact, you can join our Impact Community of investors, who have committed to supporting this movement with a monthly reoccurring donation.

Thank you for being a part of this movement, and have a wonderful holiday season!

Surge Fellowship Alumnus Joins Leadership Team

The Surge Institute is proud to announce that 2017 Surge Fellowship Alumnus William J. Collins has joined our leadership team as Vice President of Development and External Affairs.

In this role, William will serve the Surge mission by leading our fundraising and partnership-building strategies, overseeing a team focused on securing the future sustainability and growth of our movement. William will work closely with Founder and President Carmita Semaan, as well as the Surge national team to achieve these needs.

As an alumnus of the Surge Fellowship, William brings a special connection to the Surge mission, which he elaborates on in his statement about his new role:

“I am so excited to join the Surge team because this movement is permanently apart of my heart and soul. The Surge Fellowship experience was so deeply transformational for me as a black man in education, and I see my work now as a staff member being the ultimate way to pay it forward.  I am deeply honored to serve alongside Carmita and the rest of the Surge team as an energetic champion for this life changing and historic work.  I am incredibly energized by our plans to #LeadThe Surge across this country as more leaders of color deserve the chance to develop the skills they need to be seen and heard wherever decisions are made on behalf of the students they serve.  Surge is home for me – I’m so happy to be here.”

We are honored and proud to call William a member of the team.

Will’s Background

William previously served as Vice President of External Affairs for OneGoal-Chicago, a college access and persistence organization working towards closing the college divide for young people across the country.

In this role, William’s mission was to ensure OneGoal-Chicago maintained its financial stability by maintaining and growing a diversified and sustainable investor base, building efficiencies of scale to keep the revenue goal manageable and increase awareness and the sense of urgency to close the college degree divide within the Chicago as well as build OneGoal’s reputation as a leader in the college access and success movement and elevate the voices and stories of the OneGoal community.

Beginning his career in corporate America, William’s business acumen, strategic thinking and financial prowess allowed him to climb the ranks at several Fortune 500 companies, including Target and The Home Depot. Despite his corporate success, William constantly sought to fill a void in his life. It was in his decision to become an educator, following in the footsteps of his mother — an educator serving Chicago Public Schools for over three decades — when William knew he had found his calling.

William has always believed that life’s most important and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?” To that end, William left a lucrative career in the corporate world in 2009 and pursued a career in teaching. For six years, William taught economics and finance at the award-winning Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, of which he is an alumnus. While there, he made lifelong connections with his students through education and mentoring. In 2013, William received the Chicago Public Schools’ Exemplary Teacher Award from the Office of College and Career Success, which recognized him for his demonstrated excellence in teaching and learning and for exceptional contributions to the profession.

William holds a Master of Education in curriculum studies and administration from DePaul University and a Bachelor of Science in economics from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, to which he received a full academic scholarship. In 2014, he was selected as an Education Pioneers Fellow, where he completed a strategic review of the resource allocation process for the Office of Diverse Learners Supports and Services at the Chicago Public Schools’ Central Office. That same year, he also wrote a full-length essay entitled,“Education, Democracy and Social Discourse: A Contemporary Response to George S. Counts and Boyd H. Bode” in the Schools: Studies in Education journal, published by the University of Chicago.

In 2016, William was named one of Chicago’s Top 35 Under 35 Making an Impact by Chicago Scholars. During this same year, William was welcomed to the third cohort of Fellows for the Surge Institute, an elite leadership accelerator that was designed to identify and groom emerging talent in education and provide them with leadership development as well as access to networks and visibility, empowering them to bring new ideas, perspectives and solutions that change the landscape of education.

William is an authentic and passionate leader who has dedicated his career to moving the needle of college completion for the marginalized and oppressed. As a native of the South Side of Chicago, he saw the value of education as a means to escape adversity. He fundamentally believes that every student deserves the chance to attain a college degree and the life that comes with it. He is also an active member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and a committed mentor to many college students. William is a music enthusiast and an avid international traveler. He currently resides in Chicago, IL.

Surge Welcomes 2019 Chicago Fellows

From an impressive pool of applicants, 25 African American and Latinx leaders were selected for the 2019 Chicago Fellowship program.

In October, the 2019 cohort will begin the year-long program in October, which grooms emerging diverse talent, empowering them to change the landscape of education by providing them with unique leadership and advocacy skills.

“Being a part of the Surge Fellowship will help me to grow as a leader in order to affect change in educational and administrative practices, to empower the growth and achievement of Chicago youth and communities of color,” shared 2019 Surge Fellow Jordan Owens, Speech, Language, and Audiology Coordinator at Chicago Public Schools. “I wholeheartedly believe in the power of collective work and the power of like-minded individuals to affect significant change.”

The following is a list of the 2019 Chicago Surge Fellows:

“I believe that it is important for our African American and Latinx youth to see leaders who look like them, working together and fighting for educational access and advancement in order to cultivate strong leaders and even stronger communities,” concluded Owens.

The Surge Fellowship program provides fellows with executive skill training, leadership development and a space for connection; and in doing so equips fellows with the tools and networks needed to facilitate transformative change within institutions and organizations serving youth and communities of color. Graduating fellows become part of an elite and growing national network of Surge Alumni. As of August 2018, Surge has more than 80 fellowship alumni leading change in cities across the U.S.

Surge Institute Welcomes 2019 Oakland Fellows

Eleven leaders from across the Bay Area education landscape, have been selected for the 2019 Surge Oakland Fellowship program. The year-long cohort based program unites, accelerates and empowers emerging leaders of color in education.

The Surge Institute officially began serving Bay Area communities in January 2018 with the opening of their west coast office and kickoff of an inaugural Oakland Surge Fellowship. Both the inaugural and 2019 cohorts (each) consist of eleven African American, Latinx and Asian/Pacific Islander emerging education leaders.

“What I love about Surge’s vision is that it’s not just focused on developing my capacity in my role, but it’s about equipping me to transform the education ecosystem alongside other educational leaders … equipping us for widespread impact,” shared 2019 Surge Oakland Fellow, Janelle Bailey, Interim Site Director/Academic Affairs Director at College Track.

The following is a list of the 2019 Oakland Surge Fellows:

Program Manager for Surge Oakland, Yvonne Rodriguez and Surge Executive Coach, Brian Gadsden, meet with candidates on selection day.

Over the course of the Fellowship program, fellows will receive executive skill training, leadership development, a space for connection, and the tools and networks needed to facilitate transformative change within institutions and organizations serving youth and communities of color.

The cohort will also develop their own leadership and advocacy skills. As a culminating final step of the program, Fellows will complete individual capstone projects to advance the work of a new or existing Oakland education initiative.

“I’m inspired by Surge’s investment in leaders of color and I’m excited to build on my experience through the intentional, accelerated leadership development of the Surge Fellowship in a network of African American, Latinx, and Asian-Pacific Islander educators,” continued Bailey.

Graduating fellows become part of an elite and growing national network of Surge Alumni. In 2018 there will be over 80 Surge Fellowship Alumni leading change in cities across the US.