ELITE FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY PROVIDES EMERGING LEADERS OF COLOR TOOLS AND NETWORKS TO TRANSFORM EDUCATION IN CHICAGO

CHICAGO – Tomorrow, July 14, 2015, The Surge Institute is hosting #LeadTheSurge 7.14.15 an after-work reception for leaders and supporters of high-quality education options for Chicago’s youth. The event, from 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM at Nellcôte in Chicago’s West Loop, will showcase the early impact of the Institute’s signature program, the Surge Fellowship – and invite leaders of color within education to apply for the 2015/2016 Fellowship.

Surge Institute is a non-profit organization founded by Carmita Semaan in response to a dearth of diverse leaders at the decision-making tables within education: The lack of a critical mass of diverse leaders in positions of influence often results in stalemates and substandard outcomes for Chicago children. The Surge Fellowship program prepares, connects and supports high-capacity African-American and Latino leaders across organizations in order to dramatically improve education options and outcomes for low-income children and transform the education landscape in the process.

“Our hope is that this inspiring event will attract a broad spectrum of high-performing education leaders curious about or interested in applying for the 2015/2016 Fellowship. The diversity of the Surge Fellowship cohorts adds to the richness and impact of the program because together fellows learn how to more effectively lead, negotiate and influence in order to achieve desired outcomes that impact Chicago children and our communities.” says Surge founder and President Carmita Semaan. The fellowship’s inaugural cohort admitted in April of this year is comprised of African American and Latino leaders from the Chicago Public Schools, high-performing charter schools and charter networks, non-profit advocacy agencies, higher education and justice reform.

The Surge Fellowship welcomes a unique population of leaders; men and women with backgrounds and experiences similar to those of Chicago’s most underserved children. “Surge Fellowship prepares and supports new leaders that come FROM minority and underserved communities and return TO these communities, which provides significantly higher levels of authenticity. This will accelerate impact and unlock opportunities: opportunities that lead to jobs, home ownership and positive economic impact where it matters most,” opines Surge board member Nneka Rimmer, SVP Corporate Strategy and Development for McCormick & Company.

#LeadTheSurge 7.14.15 commemorates the three week 2015/2016 fellowship application period, which opened on July 6, 2015 and ends on August 1, 2015 when all applications are due. The evening will feature insights shared by current Surge Fellows, networking with Chicago education powerbrokers and thought-leaders, as well as hosted wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres.

#LeadTheSurge 7.14.15 at Nellcôte, 833 West Randolph, 5:30 – 8:30 PM, RSVP Required

About the Surge Fellowship

The Surge Fellowship develops high-potential talent within education to create the pipeline of influential education leaders of color. This network transforms status quo systems and approaches in education by sharing ownership of the change efforts, engaging communities in defining and working toward success, serving as role models for young people to pursue roles with influence and risk, and accessing financial capital and power brokers to develop new solutions. Contact info@surginstitute.org or (312) 768-8139 for more information.

Elite Chicago Leadership Development program admits first class with promise to keep Black and Brown leaders in education

CHICAGO – April 15, 2015 – Surge Institute, Chicago’s newest premier education leadership development organization, announced the twelve (12) elite individuals in the Surge Fellowship 2015 Inaugural cohort. Surge Institute prepares, supports and connects emerging leaders of color to accelerate their growth as trailblazers within education.

Surge Institute was founded in 2014, in response to a dearth of leadership of color at the decision-making tables within education reform.  The Surge Fellowship, the Institute’s signature program, is 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. By preparing, connecting, and supporting high-capacity African-American and Latino leaders across organizations, Surge aims to dramatically improve education options and outcomes for low-income children.

A host of exceptional candidates applied for the fellowship, inspired by the promise to receive skills, networks, tools, and support necessary to deepen their impact. The diverse inaugural cohort is comprised of African American and Latino men and women from the Chicago Public Schools, high-performing charter schools and networks, non-profit advocacy agencies, higher education and justice reform.

2015 Surge Fellowship Awardees

Adrian DeLeon Data Strategist, Chicago Public Schools
Melissa Connelly Senior Director of Regional College Persistence, OneGoal
Adria Husband Director of School Financial Support, AUSL
Angela Layne Instructor, Noble Network
Grisel Maldanado Impact Director of College Success, UC Urban Education Institute
Ana Martinez Founding Principal, Rowe Elementary School
Stacey Mitchell Senior Managing Director, Staff Diversity and Inclusiveness, Teach for America
Candace Moore Staff Attorney, Chicago Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Khair Sadrud-Din College Years Counselor, LINK Unlimited Scholars
LeShonne Segura College Seminar Teacher, Bulls College Prep
DuJuan Smith Assistant Dean of Students, UIC
Cassie Williams Director or High School Curriculum, Civitas Education Partners

“The outstanding quality of all of the applicants made the selection process challenging. Surge is very fortunate to have an incoming cohort that represents some of the best up and coming minds on education in Chicago,” said Sarah Duncan, Co-Director at the University of Chicago Network for College Success and member of the selection committee.

Surge Institute is part of a new wave of organizations that focus on diversifying the education leadership pipeline.

Founder Carmita Semaan captured the attention of large, prominent foundations and secured over $1 million of funding for Surge from The Walton Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, NewSchools Venture Fund, and Schusterman Family Foundation.

Education is often referred to as the “civil rights issue of our time.” The most glaring disparity between past social justice movements and the current education reform movement is that the most visible and active leadership “heroes” in education reform typically do not represent the socio-economic or racial diversity of the populations it seeks to serve. 48% of K-12 students nationwide, and significantly more in urban areas, are non-white; while only 17% of teachers, 6% of superintendents, and 11% of board members represent these populations.

The most overlooked talent pools of people of color within the education sector are found within schools, advocacy and civil rights organizations, policy and philanthropy partners, and central administration offices at districts and CMOs. These talented individuals with deep community connections and shared experiences with the students and families served, often lack access to high-level opportunities for a variety of reasons. Surge is unique because it taps and develops these already high-performing individuals.

“Existing excellent programs like The Broad Residency in Urban Education and Ed Pioneers bring new private-sector talent into education. It is also critically important to engage talent that is already deeply committed to the education sector,” says founder and president, Carmita Semaan. “I believe this untapped group of high-potential individuals will become influential education leaders over the next decade.”

“Our efforts to transform urban public school systems will not succeed without diverse, talented leaders who possess a deep understanding of the challenges facing low-income students of color because they have experienced those challenges themselves. While many leadership development opportunities exist in the education sector, the Surge Fellowship brings a critical focus on the development of strong African-American and Latino leaders, who are woefully underrepresented in educational leadership,” says Becca Bracy Knight, executive director of The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems.

Darryl Cobb, partner at the Charter School Growth Fund and member of Surge’s board of directors says, “Through Surge, Carmita brings vision and her extensive leadership experience to solving a critical problem for the education sector – building a pipeline of high quality diverse talent.   This effort is a heavy lift, but one that is critical to our ability as a sector and a reform movement to ensuring that we have great leaders serving our children in every capacity.  I am extremely proud of Carmita’s tenacity in making the Surge Fellowship a reality.”

“I am honored to have this opportunity. It will give me access to spaces and people with whom I can build relationships to deepen the impact of our work within the community,” says Ana Martinez, Surge Fellow and the founding principal of Rowe Elementary, Chicago’s highest performing single-site charter school. Khair Sadrud-Din, College Years Counselor at LINK Unlimited and product of Chicago Public Schools adds, “I relish the opportunity to learn from so many leaders, professionals and my peers in the education space, and further invest in the students that are following in my footsteps.”

The inaugural cohort will receive 6-months of accelerated professional development including leadership courses and executive coaching. A second cohort will be admitted in September 2015 for a longer, 12-month fellowship program.

About Surge

The Surge Institute broadly addresses issues of race and class in urban education through leadership development, technical assistance and advocacy. The Surge Fellowship develops high-potential talent within education to create the pipeline of influential education leaders of color. This network transforms status quo systems and approaches in education by sharing ownership of the change efforts, engaging communities in defining and working toward success, serving as role models for young people to pursue roles with influence and risk