“I believe humans and myself thrive when we understand why we do our work and find ways to continue to be inspired. I am passionate about seeking a diverse and critical body of teachers and leaders who look like the students we work and grow alongside. As students and leaders of color, we continue to face the historical systems of oppression that has tried to kept us down and buried. Yet the Surge Fellowship embodies a movement and to me is reflected in the Mexican Proverb – “Quisieron enterrarnos, pero se les olvido que somos semillas” or “They tried to bury us, but they forgot we are seeds.” No matter what new laws, new orders, or removal of healthcare, more budget cuts, less pay; we continue to rise up, unite, and empower our communities.”

Bernadette Pilar Zermeño is a movement maker, community mobilizer, and early childhood educator.  With over fifteen years of experience in early education, she remains passionate about working alongside adults and children to facilitate lifelong learning beginning at the earliest ages. 

As the inaugural TK teacher at ASCEND in Oakland, Bernadette Pilar has a determination and passion for early education and developmentally appropriate practices. Bernadette was also a founding dual immersion Transitional Kindergarten (TK) teacher in Oakland Unified School District. She is an Adjunct Professor of Early Childhood at Chabot College in Hayward, a literacy specialist and Preschool and TK professional development provider. As an advocate for children of Oakland, she is a member of Oakland Rising and Lead East Bay. She serves on the California Kindergarten Association Board of Directors. Bernadette Pilar is National Board Certified as an Early Childhood Generalist.  She holds an MA in Education with a bilingual multiple subject teaching credential and a BA in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Learn more about Bernadette.