Surge Welcomes 2023 Kansas City Academy Cohort

(Kansas City – July 13, 2022) In 2018 the Surge Institute launched its traveling program, the Surge Academy in Kansas City and since graduated two cohorts in 2019 and 2020. On July 13, 2022, Surge announced its third Kansas City cohort of educational leaders who will begin programming in August 2022 and conclude with the induction into Surge’s national alumni network in February of 2023.

“Kansas City continues to be a fertile ground for cultivating a community of leaders committed to the work of equity and excellence for Black and Brown children. I am elated to be engaging our third cohort in the journey towards change and culture building.  Ella Baker encapsulates the essence of why this work is so vital when she states, ‘One of the things that has to be faced is the process of waiting to change the system, how much we have got to do to find out who we are, where we have come from and where we are going.’ ‘Strong people don’t need strong leaders.’ ‘Give light and people will find the way.’ Looking forward to giving light to our fellows as they find their way together,” shared Andrea Black Evans, Executive Director, Surge Academy.

Meet the Surge Academy 2023 Kansas City cohort:

Travanna Alexander-Toney – Director of Behavioral Health at Kansas City Public Schools

Cecilia-Ananya Belser-Patton – Founder, Cultural Curator; Director, Leadership Development at JUST Systems; Alive & Well Communities

Rashawn Caruthers – Director of Educator Engagement at Getting Smart

Chelsea Conwell – Dean of Culture at Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy

Aryiel Everett – Communications and Operations Coordinator at Kansas City Teacher Residency

Jason Gines – Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Pembroke Hill School

Marquis Hall – Manager of Student Diversity & Inclusion Programs at Kansas City Public Schools

Tara Haskins – Founding School Leader at Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy

Harrison Neal Sr. – Principal, Kansas City Public Schools

Joel Nkusi Rwabera – Manager, Accelerate Program with Teach For America

Edward Perry – Advisor at Centriq Training

Jade Smith – Speech Language Pathologist at Kansas City Public Schools

Aisha Truss-Williams – Impact & Evaluation Director at City Year

Jessica Woodson – Elementary School Educator at Kansas City Kansas Public Schools

During the seven-month program, Surge Academy Fellows will develop competency in organizational management, relationship management, strategic planning and problem-solving, navigating complex environments, and expertise in the history and structure of public education.

“A space where African American and Latinx leaders can connect, learn, grow, and be their authentic selves means more to me than words can express. As an Afro-Latina School Leader, I often believe I am in this work alone. Surge is a beautiful reminder that I am not alone and that I have a community to support me through all things. By taking time to connect with myself and others, I am able to lead from a place of love. Love of self and love of the community that I serve,” stated 2023 Fellow, Tara Haskins, Founding School Leader at Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy.

The Surge Academy in Kansas City is made possible thanks to the partnership and support from Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Hall Family Foundation.

Marisa Muñoz
c: 773-251-7475

About The Surge Institute:

The Surge Institute is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established with a simple but important mission to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. To learn more about The Surge Institute, please visit: