Surge Academy Welcomes First Cohort in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – November 1, 2022—In partnership with Comcast & Spring Point, please join us in welcoming our inaugural Philadelphia Academy cohort of 14 brilliant leaders of color!

The Surge Institute continues to expand its Academy fellowship program, and today, the organization officially welcomes its seventh Academy cohort.

The Surge Academy is a best-in-class program for emerging leaders of color in education. For this program, Surge identifies and accelerates promising education talent of color to enhance their expertise and aptitude, empowering them to transform the education ecosystem. Philadelphia Academy Program Director Janeen Lee shares what this moment means for the Surge movement and for communities of color in the area.

“Coordinated efforts by collectives of passionate change-makers are what truly drive lasting change. I am honored and excited to facilitate this cohort of leaders in leaning into our collective genius and continuing to shift the tide in education and bring about equitable change.”

Meet the 2023 Surge Academy Philadelphia Fellows:

The fellowship encompasses a combination of content areas and learning experiences to broaden exposure and accelerate skill and leadership development. Faculty members and informal advisors include high-profile leaders in education and other industries who facilitate and guide fellows’ learning. Throughout the seven-month program, Surge Fellows also 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.

“The opportunity to be named a Surge Fellow is both humbling and rewarding,” shared Shannon Ellis, Director of Climate Implementation & Innovation at The School District of Philadelphia. “I am looking forward to participating in this transformative experience alongside other Black and Brown educational leaders in Philadelphia working to protect, support, and liberate Philadelphia’s youth in their learning, growth, and development. Surge’s cohort model intentionally creates spaces for me to be my authentic self while growing and acquiring new skills to lead in education. I am excited to join the Surge Family, especially this inaugural Philadelphia cohort of dedicated and committed educational trailblazers!”

Upon completing this one-of-a-kind program, Surge Fellows have the skills necessary to accelerate their trajectory in leadership, along with a new understanding of the authenticity and power they bring to the education leadership table.

About the Surge Institute

The Surge Institute was established in 2014 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, the organization’s signature program, the Surge Fellowship, was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. In 2018, the Surge Academy launched in Kansas City, bringing together a cohort of 11 African-American and Latinx emerging leaders to explore how to transform education to best serve all youth and communities. 

To learn more about The Surge Institute, please contact Surge’s Vice President of Marketing, Chris Paicely at