National Fellowship for Education Leaders of Color Welcomes 2021 Oakland Cohort

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The Surge Institute, a national non-profit organization, whose mission is to elevate and invest in leaders of color who create transformative change in urban education, has selected 16 leaders for the 2021 cohort of their signature program, the Surge Fellowship, within their Oakland branch.

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"The Surge Institute is a movement because it empowers leaders of color to rethink and redesign education. Surge does not focus solely on the technical pieces of being a school leader; it puts a tremendous emphasis on mindset and equity."

The Surge Institute, a national non-profit organization, whose mission is to elevate and invest in leaders of color who create transformative change in urban education, has selected 16 leaders for the 2021 cohort of their signature program, the Surge Fellowship, within their Oakland branch.

Since its expansion to Oakland, the Surge Institute has had the opportunity to work with 37 Black, Latinx, and Asian/Pacific Islander Bay Area-based education and youth-serving leaders, all of whom have since joined Surge’s nationwide alumni network of mission-driven leaders.

The 16 leaders selected for the 2021 Surge Oakland cohort will engage in fellowship and programming that aims to advance emerging diverse talent, empowering them to change the landscape of education with and for their communities by providing them with unique leadership and advocacy skills.

"I'm so proud of our 2021 cohort and all of our applicants this year. Stepping forward during these unsettled times shows their courage and commitment to making sure that they are ready for what comes next. This is a unique moment in history to be starting a fellowship like this one. The 16 Fellows will do the work of understanding the new landscape and the new possibilities that have emerged. They will strengthen their capacity for leadership by engaging and empowering the community to define what’s needed and to drive real change. This is an exciting time for Surge Oakland!" shared Yvonne Rodriguez, Program Director of the Surge Oakland Fellowship.

The following is a list of the 2021 Oakland Surge Fellows:

The Surge Fellowship is a best-in-class, spirited experience for emerging leaders of color in education. For this program, the Surge Institute identifies and elevates promising education leaders of color to dream big, focus inward, know the landscape, and make an impact to transform the education ecosystem. 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.

Traditionally, the Surge Fellowship has transpired through monthly in-person sessions held at Bay Area-based organization venues focused on generating social impact for the surrounding communities, such as Girls Inc. of Alameda County and the Charles Porter Golden Gate Recreation Center. Due to COVID-19, all sessions will be held virtually to ensure the safety of the Surge community, but these gatherings will remain sacred community spaces for building critical leadership skills, collective and personal healing, and galvanizing the transformative changes in education that Oakland and Bay Area youth and families of color deserve. After completion of the program, graduating fellows become part of an elite and growing nationwide network of Surge Alumni.

The Surge Fellowship began in Chicago in 2015, with the goal of expanding diversity in the education leadership pipeline, and over the past 5 years, this movement has extended its reach far and wide, activating, elevating, and connecting mission-driven education and youth-serving leaders of color across the nation. 2021 Surge Oakland Fellow Adam Quintero explains what this experience will mean for them.

"The Surge Fellowship is not a typical educational leadership program for many reasons that I admire it for. It is a movement because it empowers leaders of color to rethink and redesign education. Surge does not focus solely on the technical pieces of being a school leader; it puts a tremendous emphasis on mindset and equity. Its mission is to change the face of leadership in urban education, and I am eager to learn how to do that. It excites me that 87% of Surge Alumni report changing policies practices and/or creating system-level change, as I do not just want to live in theory. Especially now in a time where we can disconnect from brick and mortar and take a step back to truly reflect on systems that exist and maintain the status quo at schools, I want to be a part of a collective that fosters action. I want to be prepared to dismantle systems of oppression that exist in education," shared Adam Quintero, Assistant Principal, Achieve Academy: Education for Change Public Schools.

Surge’s belief is that the justice-based shifts this community seeks to generate cannot come to fruition through silos; it takes a village. And over the course of the 2021 Oakland Surge Fellowship, the cohort will center each other’s lived experiences and personal talents to realize the multi-generational impact that each fellow envisions. It is through investing in the genius that already exists in our communities and sharing that with the world that Surge Fellows accelerate forward as authentic, heartfelt champions of their work.

About the Surge Institute
The Surge Institute was established in 2014 with a simple but important mission to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization’s signature program, the Surge Fellowship, was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience.

To learn more about The Surge Institute.

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