Jacqueline Pickens

Jacqueline Pickens is a Juvenile Justice Re-Engagement Specialist at Chicago Public Schools.

“Participating in Surge will give me the space to learn from other leaders of color in Chicago. Many times, I doubt my ability to communicate my vision and don’t follow through because I find it difficult to articulate my ideas. I often hold back because I have a fear of failure and of not being good enough. I feel like I am finally in a place where I am not afraid to be challenged, to be vulnerable, or fail. I am hopeful that participating in Surge will allow me to work on communication and sharpen my skills. Overall, I want to be in spaces where the ideas of African-American and Latinx people are honored, and where we are encouraged to flourish.”


Scott Tillman

Scott Tillman is a High School College Counselor at Butler College Prep High School – Noble Schools.

“Surge to me is an opportunity to be in community with other leaders in education. In community we learn and grow together and from each other.”


Julian Williams

Julian Williams, Ph.D., is the Senior Partnerships Manager at Partnership for College Completion.

“The Surge Fellowship provides an opportunity for me to connect with like-minded Black and Latinx educators. Engaging in equity-centered work is important, meaningful, and necessary. But it can also be isolating, uncomfortable, and stressful. The Surge Fellowship means that I will have an opportunity to not only extend my network of Black and Latinx educators in Chicago, but it also means that I will have another avenue to expand my village to thought-partners, supporters, and teachers.”


Lucy Weatherly

Lucy Weatherly is a Director of Communication and Community Development at Intrinsic Schools.

“The Surge Fellowship creates an opportunity for me to listen and learn from inspiring peers in a safe space. It will encourage me to peel away layers to create room for healing and growth to pay forward.”


Ugochukwu Ukasoanya

Ugochukwu Ukasoanya is an Equity Policy Fellow at Chicago Public Schools.

“Historically, systemic marginalization has played a role in the plight of Black and Latinx individuals and families. Racism, bias, and oppression has contributed to divided communities, segregated public schools, resource inequities, broken public trust, and called integrity into question. This fellowship will allow me to challenge, disrupt, and dismantle all forms of systemic inequities and champion those who are ignored and unfairly vilified.”


Tierionna Pinkston

Tierionna Pinkston is an Instructional Leadership Coach at Noble Schools.

“The pandemic has changed both the world and education landscape as we know it. I’m looking forward to learning alongside other leaders of color, as we redesign education so that it heals and liberates those families and communities we serve.”


Tiara Jordan

Tiara Jordan is a Principal at Intrinsic Schools.

” ‘You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.’- Maya Angelou. I am passionate about being a Surge Fellow because of the testimonies I have heard/witnessed from others who went through the program. We are all enough, and there is power in being surrounded by that energy as a daily reminder. The pandemic opened my eyes to a lot of lies I have been comfortable living with, it’s time to walk in my full unfiltered truth. I know I have so much more to offer this world, and I’m excited at the opportunity to be a part of a community that will help me to fearlessly Surge!”


Martiaè Jenkins-Alexander

Martiaè Jenkins-Alexander is a Resident Principal – Chicago Leadership Collaborative at Chicago Public Schools.

“Surge means operationalizing the principle of Ujima. This happens by bringing my gifts as a strategist and servant leader to a community of talented education leaders with a collective clear purpose in standing firmly in our commitment to serving Black and Brown communities. As a person that identifies as Womanist, Black, and a daughter of Mississippi for all its historical implications that have permeated through my family, it has become ever clear that the solutions Black and Brown communities need are within us. From this lens, my daily intention is to show up as I am, valuing the specific perspective I bring from my experiences, and building the table instead of waiting for a seat at one.”


Stephanie Hernandez

Stephanie Hernandez is the Teacher Leadership Operations Manager, Distributed Leadership Specialist at Chicago Public Schools.

“To me, Surge is a collective of like-minded people of Color serving youth in Chicago who are striving to create and improve organizations so that kids and families of Color receive nothing less than they deserve, which is access to every opportunity. Surge is a safe space where I am accepted by others and celebrated because of who I am and where my family comes from. I am excited about the possibilities in growth for our entire cohort as a result of radical acceptance and safe space.”


Sameka Gates

Sameka Gates is a 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher at KIPP Chicago.

“Surge means an opportunity to continue to grow as a person and as a leader. To be surrounded by driven individuals who will support me while I support them and to be in an environment where growth and authenticity are the norm.”