September 2019 Bridget Lee

2018 Surge Fellowship Alum, Bridget Lee, has been promoted to the role of Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives for Chicago Public Schools.

September 2019 Michael Johns

September 2019

Michael Johns, Director of Student Activities at Kennedy-King College and 2016 Surge Chicago Alum was recently a part of an initiative that started a food pantry for the college’s community and students. Read more HERE.

September 2019 Katie Boody and Edgar Palacios

LEANLAB Education, an organization co-founded by 2019 Surge Academy Alumna, Katie Boody, recently welcomed ten companies to their latest fellowship who will be met with real-world classroom partners from nine school systems in the Kansas City metro and Colorado to create breakthroughs in a variety of instructional areas. 2019 Surge Academy Alumnus, Edgar Palacios and the Latinx Education Collaborative were also selected as one of the organizations for this fellowship. Click HERE to learn more.

September 2019 Nina Smith

September 2019

2019 Surge Alumna, Nina Smith was selected to join the Barbara Bowman Leadership Fellows Program 2019-2020 cohort. Now in its fourth year, the program bridges the early childhood knowledge of leaders in the field with tools for assessing public policy levers, and hands-on application that leads to action. Learn more HERE.

September 2019 Dominique McKoy

2018 Surge Alumnus, Dominique McKoy will be pursuing his MA in Public Policy through the University of Chicago Harris School Evening Masters Program. Designed for working professionals, the Harris Evening Masters Program provides a broader perspective on public policy and a fundamental understanding of analytics to complement emerging leaders’ professional experience.

September 2019 Charles King

2019 Surge Academy Alumnus, Charles King currently serves as President and Executive Director for the Kansas City Teacher Residency, an organization that has just been selected as a new partner for 100Kin10. This final round of growth specifically focuses on 100Kin10’s latest project: tackling the root causes of the STEM teacher shortage. If solved, these ‘catalysts’ – which include bonuses, scholarships or loan forgiveness for STEM teachers, increasing professional development and state tracking of STEM teacher supply and demand – would more sustainably end the teacher shortage. Click HERE to learn more.

September 2019 Grisel Maldonado

2015 Surge Alumna, Grisel Maldonado will be starting her Executive MBA at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University this Fall. She decided to pursue an MBA to continue building her education consulting firm, Avanza Strategies, as well as to build a strong foundation for EdPower, a 501c3 she started last year as a result of winning first place for the Surge Angels pitch competition.

Welcome the 2020 Surge Chicago Cohort!

We are proud to announce that 25 leaders who currently serve within the Chicago education landscape have been selected for the 2020 Surge Chicago Fellowship!

The Surge Institute first began serving Chicago communities in 2015, and the total number of our Surge Chicago Alumni reached nearly 100 education leaders of color this past August. Each of our new family members will be welcomed into a space that aims to ignite their inner strengths and leverage their stories and experiences in order to shift the landscape of education for Black and Brown communities. Throughout this transformational experience, Surge will aim to elevate and invest in the genius already present within these emerging leaders of color. Overall, Surge seeks to be a mirror for each of these change-makers.

The following is a list of the 2020 Chicago Surge Fellows:

Founder and President of the Surge Institute, Carmita Semaan, shares some words to open the space for the 2020 fellowship candidates.

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. The cohort will also develop their own leadership and advocacy skills, with a culminating step of the program being the completion of individual capstone projects, which will focus on advancing the work of a new or existing Chicago education initiative.

2020 Surge Chicago Fellow, Ulric Shannon, engages with Surge alumni members.

After completion of the program, graduating Fellows become part of an elite and growing national network of Surge Alumni who are currently leading equitable change in numerous cities across the United States. The inaugural Surge Fellowship cohort joined the Surge family in 2015, with the initial goal of expanding diversity in the education leadership pipeline at the forefront. Now, this vision has taken a life of its own, beyond the organization’s imagination! “As an educator with a history of organizing, I have always felt a sense of struggle and a desire for transformation at my core,” said Emilia Chico, 2020 Surge Fellow and Principal Consultant for the Chico Consulting Group. “However, after spending far too long in academia, my courageous, radical voice has been stifled, and I am looking for a community to assist me in forging a new path of self-discovery and collective action. More than ever, I know that I am capable of creating the spaces necessary for young people to thrive. I am ready to reclaim my voice and build with powerful individuals who are also ready to imagine the possibilities of educational reform!”

If you would like to learn more about the Surge Institute and join this movement, visit us at and follow us on social media @SurgeFellowship! Once again, congratulations to our 25 new family members!

September 2019 Andrea Black

2017 Surge Alumna, Andrea Black was recently featured in an article for Teach for America. The article titled, “How One Principal Is Building Student and Teacher Confidence,” highlights Andrea’s 6+ years as Principal for Schmid Elementary in Chicago, IL and how she is working with and supporting the school community and its student leaders. Click HERE to read the article.

September 2019 Michelle Kemp

2018 Surge Alumna, Michelle Kemp founded MK Consulting Group, a new consulting firm that focuses on diversity recruitment, human capital management, and project management.