Nationally Recognized Executive Fellowship for Education Leaders of Color Welcomes 2022 Cohorts Across Chicago and Oakland

32 Black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander education leaders selected for Surge Institute cohorts across Chicago and Oakland

Chicago, Illinois, UNITED STATES

Chicago, IL, Sept. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Surge Institute, a nationally recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, announced its Chicago and Oakland classes for the 2022 Surge Fellowship program. This year across Chicago and Oakland, 32 leaders of color will join a vast network of mission-driven leaders who work within the education and youth-serving space, united by the goal to transform systems and secure a future where youth and communities of color in the United States can thrive.

The Surge Fellowship is a signature program of the Surge Institute and serves as a best-in-class, cohort-based experience that unites, accelerates and empowers emerging leaders of color in education. Each year, the Surge Institute identifies and selects promising education leaders to engage in a collaborative learning environment guided by Surge’s four programmatic objectives: Dream Big, Focus Inward, Know the Landscape, and Make an Impact. This year’s class of fellows hold a plethora of experience in sectors ranging from philanthropic to youth development and from nonprofit to traditional school administration.

“Throughout the recruitment season, we put out a call for leaders of color who are ready and able to do the work of clarifying and strengthening their leadership. I am so grateful for all of the strong leaders who applied, and I am eager to get this year’s fellowship off the ground, said Yvonne Rodriguez, Ph.D., Executive Director for the Surge Institute in Oakland. “In this season of the continuing impact and evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and white supremacy rage, we know that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by these added burdens. Our people need and deserve leaders they can trust now,” she continued.

In their 2020 Annual Report, the Surge Institute reported that its network of alumni currently work and lead organizations that collectively serve more than 3.39 million students across the United States.

See below for a full list of 2022 Surge Fellows (by city):



Throughout the Surge Fellowship, the cohorts center each other’s lived experiences and personal talents as Black, Latinx, Asian and Pacific-Islander leaders in order to fully realize the impact and equitable change they envision for their communities. After completion of the program, graduating fellows become part of an elite and growing alumni network of leaders who are currently leading equity and education initiatives in Chicago, Oakland, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Washington, DC amongst other cities.

“Historically, systemic marginalization has played a role in the plight of Black and Latinx individuals and families,” said 2022 Surge Fellow Ugochukwu Ukasoanya. “Racism, bias, and oppression has contributed to divided communities, segregated public schools, resource inequities, broken public trust, and called integrity into question. This fellowship will allow me to challenge, disrupt, and dismantle all forms of systemic inequities and champion those who are ignored and unfairly vilified,” he continued.

In 2020, the world experienced a drastic shift in daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing protests against police brutality, and the injustices deeply rooted within education policies and youth-serving practices became exacerbated as a result. Though the equity-based shifts in education that Surge Fellows seek to realize will not occur overnight, the Surge Institute remains dedicated to its vision to address the dearth of leadership of color at the decision-making tables within education reform. Surge Fellows are education leaders of color ready to reimagine their work and the future.

The Surge Fellowship program is made possible by Surge Institute’s community partners, funders, supporters and allies who believe in the genius and talent that exists in communities and leaders of color.

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, 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, please visit: or contact us at 


2022 Chicago Surge Fellowship Cohort 2022 Oakland Surge Fellowship Cohort

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