INAUGURAL CLASS OF EMERGING BLACK AND LATINO EDUCATION LEADERS COMPLETE ELITE LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM DESIGNED TO TRANSFORM CHICAGO EDUCATION

CHICAGO – On Saturday, September 26, 2015, the Inaugural Surge Fellowship Cohort, comprised of twelve emerging African American and Latino leaders in Chicago, will complete the 2015 Surge Fellowship program. Between April and September of this year, The Surge Institute piloted a condensed program, which modeled the Surge Fellowship’s rigorous 12-month leadership development program to be delivered to the 2016 cohort and beyond.

The Surge Fellowship was designed to identify and groom emerging education leaders, accelerating their trajectory so that they may bring new ideas, perspectives, and solutions that change the landscape of education. Surge Fellowship is the flagship program of The Surge Institute, a Chicago-based non-profit that exists to broadly address issues of race and class in urban education through leadership development, technical assistance and advocacy.

To commemorate the completion of the 2015 Inaugural Fellowship, Surge is hosting a Capstone Project Showcase “Gallery Walk” and Graduation Luncheon for graduating Fellows, their employers and their families. Speakers at the invitation only event include Kaya Henderson, Surge Executive Board Member and Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools, and 2015 Surge Fellow, Melissa Connelly. “I am beyond grateful that my peers chose me to speak in honor of the profound and life-changing six months our cohort has spent together. I have no words to describe how humbling it was to be selected by this group of incredibly brilliant leaders,” says Connelly, Senior Director of Regional Persistence for OneGoal – Chicago.

“Upon graduation, our first generation of Surge Fellows is better prepared to take on the sizable challenges of Chicago’s public education system with conviction in their beliefs, understanding of the players in the education ecosystem, and a network of peers and support to help them improve conditions for our children,” remarks Surge Founder and President, Carmita Semaan.

The 2016 Surge Fellowship Cohort was announced on September 9, 2015 and their program will conclude in August, 2016.

About the Surge Fellowship

The Surge Fellowship develops high-potential talent within education to create a 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.

LEADERSHIP ACCELERATOR ADMITS SECOND COHORT OF BLACK AND LATINO FELLOWS COMMITTED TO IMPROVING EDUCATION OPTIONS AND OUTCOMES FOR LOW-INCOME CHILDREN IN CHICAGO

CHICAGO – September 9, 2015 – The Surge Institute, a Chicago-based education leadership accelerator founded in 2014 in response to a dearth of leadership of color at the decision-making tables within education, announces the thirteen (13) individuals awarded the opportunity to participate in the 2015-2016 Surge Fellowship cohort.  The 2016 Surge Fellows are the second cohort of emerging leaders of color that Surge Institute will prepare, support and connect in order to accelerate their growth as trailblazers within education.

The Surge Fellowship, Surge Institute’s signature program, identifies high-capacity African-American and Latino leaders in education and provides them with leadership development and access to networks and visibility, empowering them to bring new ideas, perspectives, and solutions that change the landscape of education.  The Fellowship’s 2015 Inaugural Cohort, which concludes on September 26, 2015, has been an overwhelming success. The inaugural cohort piloted Surge Fellowship’s rigorous 12-month leadership development program that will be delivered to the 2016 Cohort and beyond.

“My position at UEI has the potential to get substantially more Chicago students to and through college.  Being a Fellow has given me cultural insights, enhanced my understanding of the overall education landscape, taught me valuable leadership skills and allowed me to build stronger networks – all tools I need to transform potential opportunity into reality,” opines 2015 Surge Fellow Grisel Maldonado, UChicago Impact’s Director of College Success at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute.

A host of exceptional candidates applied for the fellowship, inspired by the promise to develop skills, networks, and tools, and receive the support necessary to deepen their impact.  The diverse 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 and higher education.  “We are expecting the 2015-2016 Fellowship Program to have an even greater impact on Chicago by funneling more prepared elite talent of color into the leadership pipeline where their presence is sorely missed and desperately needed,” says Kaya Henderson, Surge board member and Chancellor of DC Public Schools.

“Each applicant had a highly impressive background and passion for education – selecting the best of the best was a formidable task for us.  Ultimately the signature elements of candidates selected for the 2016 Fellowship include: unbridled passion for better serving Chicago youth; deep connection to the communities in which they serve; and evidence of a readiness to immediately use the Surge experience to have tremendous impact on urban education in Chicago.” shares Carmita Semaan, Founder and President of The Surge Institute.

2016 Surge Fellowship Awardees

Nicole Beechum Doctoral Candidate and Research Assistant, University of Chicago
Michelle Bess Talent Recruitment Manager, OneGoal
Elisa Botello Director, New School Development, Office of Innovation and Incubation, CPS
Christopher Goins Founding Principal, Butler College Prep
Ceddrick Hunter Assistant Dean of Culture, Johnson College Prep
Michael Johns Director of Mentors, Volunteers and Interns, Chicago Scholars
Ariel Johnson Legislative Affairs Manager, The Illinois Network of Charter Schools
Khadeejah Lasuc Program Manager, Center for College Access and Success, NEIU
Nche Onyema Manager of External Affairs and Engagement, OneGoal
Bianca Paiz Director of Alumni Counseling, Rauner College Prep
Marilyn Rhames Manager of Alumni Relations, Namaste Charter School
TaMikka Sykes Founding Principal, LEARN Charter School
Erica Thompson High School Success Program Manager, LINK Unlimited Scholars

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, and accessing financial capital and power brokers to develop new solutions. surgeinstitute.org

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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