The Surge Institute is the home of the Black Principals Network (BPN)

Launched by Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Black Principals Network was designed to curate space for black principals from across the country in pursuit of community, professional growth, and collective liberation. Since the program’s original launch in 2021, more than 350 principals have joined the online platform, participating in shared learning and community building. As the brainchild of Schusterman’s Education Grantmaking team Heather Harding, Senior Director, and Cheryl Thompson, Director, the hope since inception has been that BPN would find a home with an aligned organization.


The Black Principals Network is dedicated to the community, restoration, professional development, and liberation of Black principals across the country. The overarching goal of BPN is to co-create a community of Black principals in pursuit of the career-bolstering and self-sustaining practices that are often not prioritized in this impactful yet demanding role.


BPN envisions a nation where the brilliance, well-being, and success of Black principals are prioritized and nourished. For Black principals to successfully lead, educate, and inspire the communities they serve, there must be an active resistance against the professional burnout, isolation, trauma, and repression commonly experienced within this role. Black principals need a safe, nutritive space to connect with and learn alongside peers near and far. Through individual programming focused on self-discovery, sustainability, and radical self-care combined with collective programming that centers on problem-solving, access to high-quality resources, and critical reflection, BPN will help further equip Black principals in their roles as leaders and educators, and add to their well-roundedness as human beings.

Our Principles of Practice

Community is the gathering of hearts, minds, and resources for the co-creation of knowledge, connection, and healing for the collective.

Restoration is the intentional prioritization of rest and renewal for ourselves so that we can navigate our daily lives from a place of groundedness and abundance.

Professional Growth is the examination and development of our own areas of refinement so that we can best support the growing needs of our current school communities.

Liberation is the expansion of the mindset, resources, and autonomy of individuals in service of collective healing.

Members of the Black Principals Network Are Individuals Who:

  • Currently serve as a principal in a district, charter, independent, virtual, or parochial school in the United States
  • Have weathered challenges, either professionally or personally, and demonstrated tenacity, perseverance, and maturity, and are
    willing to share their expertise
  • Commit to deepening or expanding their leadership in community with others
  • Demonstrate an individual commitment to advancing racial equity and pursuing liberation
  • Possess a resilient and ambitious attitude that believes change is possible

Want to join or partner with BPN?

The Leadership Collaborative

The Leadership Collaborative is a more intimate cohort immersive learning experience created out of feedback from BPN members. While gathering data about what school leaders really need during this time, the repeat request was for an opportunity for leaders who share collective cultural backgrounds, experiences, and goals across the nation to gather, connect, innovate, and share solution-based strategies while building community.

The Leadership Collaborative is a monthly, community space consisting of seven sessions of which include 4 virtual and 3 in-person connection points that will provide a deeper sense of connection through programming. The program includes an intentional professional learner series, individual principal coaching, self-care strategies/practices, and a problem of practice that selected leaders nationwide will collectively work on together to take back to their school communities. Our goal is to support Black principals in their quest to proactively and effectively address the problems of practice germane to the school communities they serve.

TLC '24 Dates

April 4-6, 2024 | New Orleans
Community-Restoration-Liberation-Professional Growth

In-person Onboarding & Opening Retreat

How Do You Show Up?: The power of authentic leadership

May 8, 2024 | Virtual
Professional Growth-Restoration

All Hands on Deck: The role of distributive leadership in identifying, developing and retaining your staff

June 12, 2024 | Virtual
Professional Growth-Community

Picking Up the Pieces: Leading through Disruption and Reuniting your Culture and Climate

July 11-13, 2024 | Washington  D.C.
Community-Restoration-Liberation-Professional Growth

The Core Vs the Root: Addressing Implicit and Conscious Biases with Courageous Conversations

August 7, 2024 | Virtual
Professional Growth-Community

It Takes a Village: Leveraging Family and Community Engagement

September 11, 2024 | Virtual
Liberation-Professional Growth

Liberating Student Voices: Using qualitative and quantitative data to  move students forward

October 3-5, 2024 | Chicago
Community-Restoration-Liberation-Professional Growth

Where Do We Go From Here?: The Path Moving Forward

Final presentation and Closing Celebration

Executive Director
TaraShaun Cain
TaraShaun Cain
Executive Director
An alumnus of Chicago Public Schools from K-12 grade and a first-generation college graduate with a BBA from Tennessee State University, TaraShaun has always known the important role that education plays in shaping the minds and opportunities of the youth. While working in the business field, TaraShaun’s most enriching experiences came from her volunteer work with various community organizations including her work as a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. Her commitment to service led her to leave corporate America and follow her passion to serve students by joining Chicago Teaching Fellows as a middle school math teacher. Driven by her commitment to personal growth and excellence, Ms. Cain achieved National Board Certification in Math, Masters of Arts in Teaching from Dominican University, and a second Master of Arts in Education from National-Louis University. Her systems thinking and ability to build a professional culture of collaboration made her a natural match for educational leadership where she served as a math lead, TAP mentor teacher, assistant principal, and principal in CPS.

TaraShaun is committed to securing enriching opportunities that expand the educational experiences of the communities she serves with a heavy focus on climate, culture, and student agency. This is evident by her work with LEAP innovations in personalized learning, the Fund, the Middle School Project, and various other community-based organizations. Her work has focused on building the capacity of teachers, leaders, and students around high-quality instruction, student advocacy and engagement, personalized learning, student-centered design, and culturally responsive pedagogy. Her passion for liberatory and equitable learning conditions in schools led her to apply for the Surge fellowship in 2020. Empowered by her experiences and growth, TaraShaun continued to work to create affirming, learner-centered experiences within her school community. TaraShaun is a servant leader that is committed to excellence and assisting others in connecting to their own personal greatness through passion, press, productivity, and positivity.

Program Manager
Angia Kincey
Angia Kincey
Program Manager
Angia Kincey uses her background in social work to execute big-picture thinking and innovation. She joined the Surge Institute as The Black Principals Network Program Manager where she is dedicated to member engagement and program expansion. Her passion lies in intervening at state, local, and national levels of social injustices through grant writing, nonprofit management, and data analysis. Angia received her master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Houston in order to cultivate soft and technical skills for a heart-centered leadership practice.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Sacramento in Psychology, she became increasingly interested in personal development and metaphysics. As a result, she enjoys intellectual texts and books on spirituality. Angia’s spirituality is what guides her professional and personal life. She spends her free time outdoors exploring Houston, trying different foods, visiting art exhibits, and open mic nights.

Contact the Black Principals Network at