Welcome to Surge Oakland.

Empowering and connecting
leaders of color in the Bay Area.

The Oakland Surge Fellowship identifies and cultivates promising African-American, Latinx and Asian/Pacific Islander talent to enhance their expertise and aptitude while empowering them to transform the education ecosystem. Fellows hone:

  • Executive Skills

  • Problem Solving

  • Team-Building Techniques

  • Navigating Education History & Politics

  • Proclaiming Your Authentic Story/Background

  • Strategic Relationship Management

The fellowship encompasses a combination of content areas and learning experiences to broaden exposure and accelerate skill and leadership development. High-profile leaders in education and other industries are faculty members and informal advisers to the network of Surge Fellows.

This experience is curated to generate both individual and collective transformation through healing and a reclamation of our leadership narratives, centered on the power and strength of our racial and ethnic identities and how they supremely qualify us to impact the communities and students we serve.

Surge Oakland Leadership

Michelle Seijas

Executive Director


A passionate career educator, Michelle Seijas, Ed.D, served as a school leader for more than a decade before joining the Surge leadership team as the Oakland Executive Director. Michelle has previously served as a school principal and as a district-level administrator. She has earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of California-Davis. Michelle is passionate about serving youth and communities of color and carries that passion with her into elevating and empowering Oakland’s emerging education leaders.

Learn more about Michelle

Yvonne Rodriguez, Ph.D.

Program Director, Oakland


Yvonne started her education as a first generation, re-entry student with three children. Back then, she had dreams of becoming a world-famous Chicana poet.  Instead, she ended up with a doctorate degree in physics.  Although trained as a physicist, Yvonne has extensive experience in nonprofit leadership and programming and is committed to creating pathways for advancement for People of Color that are free of obstacles and full of support. Yvonne chose to join Surge in its commitment to strengthening the educational leadership landscape by supporting Leaders of Color from the community.  She is happy to work with Surge Fellows and Alumni as they take their skills to the next level on behalf of the youth of Oakland and the bay area.

Hazel Gutierrez

Operations Coordinator


Hazel Gutierrez serves as the Operations Coordinator of the Surge Institute in Oakland. She has significant talent and experience in event planning in the hospitality industry and in higher education. Born and raised in San Francisco, California she is extremely aware of the disparities of wealth in her city. As a woman of color born to immigrant parents, giving back to marginalized populations is especially important to her. While in college, Hazel understood the importance of completing her education. She valued her education as a way to create positive change for her community.During her time at Cal State East Bay, Hazel worked in Student Affairs for 4 years and soon after she began working in the hospitality industry, where her passion for events grew immensely. Working at Surge enables her to combine her commitment to the community, her passion for education and her strengths in event management.

To learn more about Surge Oakland, send us an email at oakland@surgeinstitute.org. We look forward to hearing from you!