A.J. Watson

“The Surge Fellowship is about being able to take my personal and professional leadership to the next level and create a better run organization, better systems and practices that allow my staff do their jobs more effectively and enhanced advocacy that will accelerate the allocation of resources to put our young men of color on a different trajectory.”

A.J. Watson is the National Director of Youth Guidance evidence-based Becoming A Man (B.A.M.®) program. An innovative, male-to-male, counseling and mentoring program.

Learn more about A.J.


Rudy Lozano

“The Surge Fellowship is an opportunity to grow personally and within a family. I choose to be a part of Surge because I’m interested in working with allies to strengthen our communities of color while improving myself.”

Rudy Lozano is the Vice President, Regional Director for The Fellowship Initiative. Rudy is a leader in the youth development and community organizing fields.

Learn more about Rudy

Paul Morgan

“I seek to be held accountable for my vision and goals. I believe the Surge Fellowship and network of support will help focus my vision and set me up for success with its achievement.”

Paul Morgan is a veteran, volunteer and philanthropy professional focused on providing youth with meaningful experiences, educational access and equity.

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Natalia Torres

“My vision for leadership in education is to be one who uses her resources and networks to connect an educational institution with families and community partners, in order to make that institution an authentic part of the community and therefore a true agent of change for the students that it serves.”

Natalia Torres is an assistant principal at Roosevelt High School.

Learn more about Natalia

Nicole Spicer

“As a Surge Fellow, I will have opportunities to develop my leadership style and voice to infuse culturally sensitive social, emotional and restorative policies and practices. It is my responsibility to take the children that come empty and hardened by a non-supportive system and transform them into successful global citizens, ensuring the perpetuity of the voices of color at the table.”

Nicole Spicer, Principal of Bronzeville Classical School, is a courageous, transformational leader that accepts and embraces the discomfort that comes with learning.

Learn more about Nicole

Michelle Kemp

“This movement is to not only change the trajectory of our youth, but to also become more unified culturally and socially despite social-economic challenges. Through Surge, I look forward to understanding various perspectives, and being challenged that will increase my capacity and knowledge to make a bigger impact in the neighborhoods I serve and live in. From building me, I will build my people.”

Michelle Kemp is the Founder of MK Consulting Group LLC

 Learn more about Michelle

Maraliz Salgado

“To me, Surge is about purposefully and unapologetically endeavoring to right some of the wrongs of the systemic oppression of black and brown people through our education and empowerment. Surge represents an opportunity to build knowledge and network with dynamic leaders of color, who understand that we are uniquely positioned to make impactful change in our communities and that the initial change we must make lies in enhancing ourselves.”

Maraliz Salgado is a Wellness Coach at Libérate Life Coaching

Learn more about Maraliz

Liam Bird

“In Illinois and elsewhere, the system is doing what it was designed to do: reproduce racial and social privilege by perpetuating the legacy of “separate and unequal” in our schools. The bottom line is Black and Latino students receive disproportionately less on a national scale in Chicago. We need to change that from within. In Surge, I see an opportunity to work in affinity with educators of color to come to consensus on non-negotiables for our work centered on equity.”

Passionate about providing transformative learning for educators, Liam Bird is a coach and facilitator bridging research, policy, and practice to disrupt inequity in our school system.

Learn more about Liam

Lildella Douglas

“Great moments and opportunities are rare and must be recognized to be enjoyed. Moments to step up to the plate and hit a home run or moments to glean from the greatest minds, are irreplaceable. The Surge Fellowship presents an opportunity for leaders to both be the participant and facilitator of great moments.”

Lildella Douglas is a capacity builder who leverages her clients’ unique character traits and skills to help awaken and activate the sleeping giant within them.

Learn more about Lildella

Janine Franklin

“As a scholar, it’s often easy to talk about the issue of equity in education conceptually. While some of that is necessary, Surge provides a space for people like myself to do the work.”

Janine Franklin currently serves as the Director of Student Culture and Support at Noble Network.

Learn more about Janine