Featured Fellow: Andrea Black on the Culture of Confidence

When Andrea Black assumed leadership of Schmid Elementary in 2013, the school was classified as underperforming. As principal, Andrea’s efforts changed that classification and brought in more than $1 million in grants for campus beautification.

She also fostered an interstate relationship with Auburn University, one of the South’s most premier educational institutions, which has committed to establishing a scholarship fund solely for Schmid scholars.

Andrea’s Work

As a 2017 Surge Fellow, Andrea has shown an unstoppable spirit and passion for positively impacting the lives of inner-city African-American youth through education. Their story is her story — and she wants them to have a better ending than anyone can imagine.

In February 2017, the Schmid Elementary community was tragically impacted by gun violence in Chicago as it claimed the life of 11-year-old student Takiya Holmes.  In response to this heartbreaking event, Andrea rallied the community to send a powerful message toward ending gun violence. On National Gun Violence Awareness Day, the Schmid community marched the neighborhoods around the school wearing orange and celebrating Takiya’s life, cut too short.

This is just one powerful example of the work Andrea has done, living in her authentic self and working to empower her community.

Andrea’s Story

Andrea was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, and the city — good, bad and great — has shaped how she defines her life’s work. Andrea’s career began in Atlanta, GA, in 2005, as a Teach for America corps member. Her content knowledge, instructional aptitude, leadership dexterity and commitment to excellence for all scholars, regardless of perceived deficits, quickly led her to aspirations beyond the classroom. She yearned to impact schools that serve low-income African-American youth in large urban cities, and so began her leadership journey.

This zeal for enhancing the quality of education for African-American youth led Andrea to serve as an intern principal working for Boston Public Schools as she completed her master’s coursework. She then transitioned to the third largest urban district in the country, Chicago Public Schools, and served as a resident principal and assistant principal before taking the helm as principal at Schmid.

Andrea holds a Master of Education degree from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fisk University. She was selected as a TFA/Harvard Leadership Fellow in 2010 by Teach for America and Chicago Public Schools.

#LeadTheSurge 6.6.17 Reception

On June 6th, 2017, the Surge community packed Nellcôte for an inspiring night in support of expanding diversity in Chicago’s education leadership pipeline. Among the guests were prospective Surge Fellows, partner organizations, and a broad community of education leaders connected to the Surge movement.

Speakers included Senior Vice President of Community Investment for United Way Jose Rico, 2016 Surge Fellow Khadeejah Lasuc-Lewis, 2017 Surge Fellow Andres Avila, Surge Board Chair Darryl Cobb and Surge Chicago Executive Director Tamara Prather.

Watch the video below to see highlights from the evening!