Jennie Vazquez-Garcia

Jennie Vazquez-Garcia is a Dual Language Educator at Talcott Fine Arts and Museum Academy

“The global pandemic has brought on a need for me to live with intentionality and with being my true imperfectly authentic self. It has awakened this urge in me to be in community with folks that will help me connect to myself even more and live a life of gratitude; owning and being proud of my journey. I yearn to be in Surge, as it is a space that will allow me to do this surrounded by folks that embody similar ideals.”

Juleny Santa Cruz

Juleny Santa Cruz is the Neighborhood Leadership Initiative Council and Special Projects Manager at Mikva Challenge

“As a lifelong Chicagoan from the Little Village community, Surge will allow me to continue to grow and expand my mind and capability as to how I can be of service to improving the quality of life for Black and Brown youth and communities in the city that I love dearly. Being an Afro-Latinx woman navigating through different systems that were not built for our success, it is important to me, now more than ever, to be a part of a larger community that can provide critical support for ideating and pushing forward true racially equitable and just changes for youth to be able to experience both joy and success. It shouldn’t be this difficult for Black and Brown youth to thrive and live fearlessly in their passion and dreams.”

Jose Rodriguez

Jose Rodriguez is the Dean of Restorative Practice at Roosevelt High School

“My work feels incomplete right now. There are adults that are causing harm to our BIPOC students in spaces that should be safe and healing. I’m not going to allow this any more and I’m invested in creating a system in which these adults are held accountable for causing harm to our BIPOC students. I feel I have the assets to work effectively with our youth but lack the skills needed to work with certain adults. I feel SURGE can help me grow in this area. In addition, I have been on my own journey of healing and doing the mirror work so that I strengthen my emotional resilience. I would love to be in more spaces that allow educational leaders of color to reflect, share, and heal together. I’ve been in spaces with SURGE alums and I love the vibe, it’s inspirational and that’s what I need right now.”

Nayesha A. Pruitt

Nayesha A. Pruitt is the Co-Founder, Chief Operations Officer & Consultant at Project Restore Initiative

“We’ve all had front-row seats to what’s happening in our world. The institutions that some believe were built to serve and protect our humanity have consistently communicated to us that our dignity and well-being are tertiary line items on their agenda. My dreams of creating healing-centered spaces for BIPOC leadership and youth are built on the implicit understanding that the youth shall lead — by unapologetically changing the face of leadership, purposefully building a community of leaders, and lovingly pushing leaders of color to acknowledge the power in personal stories, and diligently fighting for leadership to reflect the communities in which they serve. I am but a vessel through which our youth flourish, and Surge can provide the needed support and community to ensure I am pursuing this dream in a way that centers my own well-being and dignity while allowing me to remain connected to the collective genius of the Surge Family. “

Carissa Moorehead

Carissa Moorehead is the Assistant Principal at KIPP Academy Chicago

“I believe that the Surge experience will grant me the development needed to enhance my impact as a Black woman in educational leadership. Our youth deserve individuals who are constantly pressing toward transformative change. They deserve humble leaders who are committed, and who will never stop learning how to best serve them. No matter how far I get in my career, I am forever a student to my children. I believe contributing humility, curiosity, and passion to this experience will help me take in all that Surge has to offer.”

Ceily Moore

Ceily Moore is the Program Manager at Community Youth Development Institute 

“Being part of the Surge Fellowship means being in community with Black and Latinx leaders in education who believe in the brilliance of our young people and our communities. The fellowship provides a necessary space to learn from, and with, like-minded educators while also encouraging us to critically challenge the systems and policies that were intentionally created to work against us. I am excited for the opportunity to be in community as we reimagine ways to dismantle systems and look forward to utilizing the resources and skills I learn to become a better advocate, evaluator, and leader in education.”

Iliana Miranda

Iliana Miranda is the Assistant Director of Advising and Student Retention, Latin American Recruitment and Educational Services at the University of Illinois at Chicago

“I choose Surge because fighting for equity in schools has always been and will always be the right work. I want to be in a community of people that believe this too. Surge comes at a crucial time in my career; in my roles, I have primarily worked with and supported youth at the individual level, however, I am now in a role where I can advocate for institution-level change that supports BIPOC communities. Through Surge, I will strengthen my leadership and grow in my confidence to lead with intentionality and a sense of accountability. I’ve aspired to be a part of the Surge movement because it is a community where I don’t have to figure it out alone, a movement where my identities are seen and celebrated, and where I will be poured into and build capacity in others. I find myself in a season where I am actively unlearning what does not serve me and my community and reclaiming individual and collective strengths, I look forward to continuing to grow in this way with the Surge community.”


Liddell-Jegen McGuire

Liddell-Jegen McGuire the Assistant Principal at Kelly College Prep

“I choose Surge because fighting for equity in schools has always been and will always be the right work. I want to be in a community of people that believe this too.”


Sara Martinez

Sara Martinez is a Family and Community Engagement in Education Specialist at Chicago Public Schools

“This is happening at the exact time it is supposed to. I’ve waited 6 years for this opportunity and I know that Surge will be the space that my soul needs to heal and prepare me to serve others. I hope to ground myself, meet other individuals who are trying to make a positive change in our communities and tap into my full potential and creativity. It is an honor to be accepted into this fellowship and I cannot wait to see the impact that our cohort will have in our communities.”


Candace Kyles

Candace Kyles is the Senior Director of the College Graduation Office, UC Woodlawn Campus at UChicago Charter School

“The opportunity to be a fellow in the Surge community and learn from individuals who deeply believe in our young people and their futures would be an honor. I see the Surge Fellowship as the space where my ideas and values about education can be challenged, validated, and expanded upon. Surge brings together professionals who see this work not as a means to an end, but as their purpose work. As someone who has spent much time reflecting on my purpose (my impact on this world), I know Surge will be a guiding light in my journey. As I consider how much I benefited from the care and wisdom of counselors, advisors and mentors, my desire is to use what I learn in this space to pay it forward. ”