(Speaking Engagements, Published Works, etc.)

April 2022 Aijeron Simmons

Aijeron Simmons (OAK’20) will transition into a new role as UTK Coordinator for the 21st Century California School Leadership Academy. (Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education hosts and coordinates the 21CSLA State Center in partnership with UCLA Center X and the California Subject Matter Projects.)

Through this new body of work, she will focus on preparing leaders to roll out Transitional Kindergarten for all of California’s 4-year-olds. Read more about her journey here.

April 2022 Dr. Brandalyn Hayes

“Our students can still get what they need as if they were in a physical classroom,” said Dr. Brandalyn Hayes (IND’22) in the Walton Family Foundation’s highlight of Paramount Online Academy, a new, virtual K-8 school created by Paramount Schools of Excellence, based in Indianapolis.

Paramount Online Academy is an Innovation Partner of Indianapolis Public Schools, one of six school districts nationwide to participate in the Center on Reinventing Public Education’s new effort to foster lasting innovation in a post-COVID landscape. The Walton Family Foundation supports this work, which is driving more equitable, community-driven approaches to learning. Check out the full highlight here.

April 2022 Vanessa Gutiérrez

“For me, the stories of our participants reminded me of the strength, creativity, and persistence that lives in our schools and communities, specifically Black and brown communities. There was an understanding that folks needed to have grace and flexibility for one another.”

Chalkbeat Chicago highlights the recent study from the University of Chicago’s Consortium on School Research, which dove into the strategies and tactics that worked well regarding school-family communication amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. One key finding was that “communicating with families — rather than being haphazard or improvisational — should be governed by a clear plan designed by school leaders.” The report was co-authored by Vanessa Gutiérrez (CHI’20). Read the full article from Chalkbeat Chicago here.

April 2022 TaraShaun Cain

“Nobody really focuses on the leaders,” Cain said. “And if we don’t focus on the leaders, specifically Black leaders who are experiencing stress at rates and levels that are higher than other leaders, based on the communities they serve, we will continue to see the great resignation of leaders because they don’t have the resources or the support needed to continue in this hard work.”

The 19th recently highlighted research and leaders, including Executive Director of the Black Principals Network, TaraShaun Cain (CHI’20), that underscore the importance of supporting Black Principals in the United States. See the full article here.

November 2021 Ashley N. Leonard

Ashley N. Leonard (CHI’17) served as a panelist for Forefront’s monthly Philanthropy Club convening titled “Black Philanthropy: Money, Mentoring, and More” in her role as a co-chair of the South Side Giving Circle at the Chicago Foundation of Women.

This session was an opportunity to hear from Black philanthropists who support people, causes, and institutions through giving circles, donor-advised funds, alumni programs, and other vehicles. Other panelists included: G. Sequane Lawrence – Fathers, Families, and Healthy Communities, Nicole Layton – Chicago Community Trust; and Rodney Reid – President, RLR Associates, Inc., CEO, NXG Youth Motorsports, Inc., and Team Principal, Force Indy, LLC

Watch a replay of the entire session here.

August 2021 Jessica Sullivan-Wilson

Jessica Sullivan-Wilson (CHI’21) has transitioned into her new role as Director, Community Affairs at Teach For America – Greater Chicago – Northwest Indiana.

August 2021 Michelle Bess

Michelle Y. Bess (CHI’16) was quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business‘s recent article on tackling the access/support gap within the technology sector. “I’m thrilled about the work I get to do because it helps me live my passion to connect more people of color to opportunity.” Read what she had to say here.

June 2021 Randal Seriguchi, Jr

For his work in starting Man the Bay, a four-year fellowship program that trains and supports Black men to become teachers, CBS SF Bay Area presented the Jefferson Award for Public Service to Executive Director of Urban Ed Academy to Randal Seriguchi, Jr. (OAK’18). See here for the full highlight of his impactful work.

Jayo Miko Macasaquit

May 2021 Jayo Miko Macasaquit

Jayo Miko Macasaquit (OAK’19) is The 19th’s new Chief People Officer. The 19th is an independent, nonprofit newsroom reporting at the intersection of gender, politics and policy. Learn more about Jayo’s new role here.

April 2021 Diego Báez

On Wednesday, April 14th, Truman College (in partnership with Poetry Foundation & Poetry Magazine) will host a virtual poetry reading with Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley!

This gathering is the final culmination of Surge Alumnus Diego Báez’s (CHI’19) capstone project and is also in celebration of National Poetry Month. Register to attend: https://tinyurl.com/2rj4zzs5

Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York and is an assistant professor of poetry and nonfiction in Old Dominion University’s MFA program. He is most recognized for his collections: Colonize Me and Not Your Mama’s Melting Pot.