Kala Stepter

Kala Stepter is an 8th Grade Math Teacher at East Bay Innovation Academy.

“As leaders of color in the education field, we have faith in our students and our communities. We see the beauty and strength that already exists within them and have hope that we – educators, students, families, our communities – can build toward a more equitable nation that not just recognizes but appreciates all that we are. The Surge Fellowship allows us the space to celebrate, connect, and build with a heart toward social justice. As a classroom teacher, I am excited to collaborate and be inspired by my cohort; I am prepared to learn and be equipped with tools that I can pass on to my students. We are most powerful all together, and I’m honored to be a part of a movement working for systemic change in our schools.”


Brianna Winn

Brianna Winn is the Director of Alder Bay Teacher Residency at Alder Graduate School of Education at Envision Education.

“I’m looking for lifelong connection and collaboration with educators who are just as committed as I am to securing the best educational outcomes for the students in our communities. I have never been a part of a cohort composed solely of Black and Brown educators. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend a full year unpacking issues related to educational equity and building my capacity as a Black woman organizational leader. Investing time, money, and space in the growth and development of Black and Brown leaders is one of the best ways to empower members of my community. I am excited to get this kind of support through Surge’s executive coaching team a 360 degree feedback process.”


Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams is the Assistant Director of Admissions and Outreach Coordinator at Urban School.

“My teachers throughout grade school were amazing, strong, intelligent people of color. I admired them, wanted to be them. High school and college provided me with lots of guidance and other (non-POC) adults I could rely on, but through all of their teaching, I realized a common theme: everyone has a story to tell. My vision of education equality is to give all students the opportunity to share their stories and use their experience to guide learning. The Surge Fellowship will give me the tools to continue lifting up stories in and out of the classroom. Surge will strengthen my passions for creating change by focusing inward and striving for excellence, not perfection. I want to be able to lead with others to solve real-world problems and shift my leadership mindset. I think Surge is my opportunity to truly give something great to the world.”


Alicia Torres

Alicia Torres is the Education Director at Felton Institute.

“Surge means opportunity. Education equality entails providing different needs for different people, and meeting individuals where they are at, this is how I view educational equity, which goes beyond equality. “The pursuit of full humanity, however, cannot be carried out in isolation or individualism, but in fellowship and solidarity; therefore, it cannot unfold in the antagonistic relations between oppressors and oppressed. No one can be authentically human while he prevents others from being so.” (Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Freire, 85). The Surge Institute is a community and movement for people who have chosen to go deeper in combating oppression experienced by students of African American, Latinx, or Asian Pacific Islander descent. I see this opportunity at Surge Institute to help my development in areas of leadership to strengthen my current vision and to manifest more dreams about what else could be possible in reaching equity across an unjust early childhood education system.

My hope is to strengthen the field of early childhood education and increase equity as an essential service for our community and to provide our children with a high-quality experience through their first moments of community socialization. I hope to provide more for my community and pass forward new knowledge to others and continue a cycle of pouring into people in order to steward strong communities.”


Mary Thomas

Mary Thomas is a Program Manager, School Enrollment at SMART.

“Surge is an opportunity to be a part of a movement that is transforming education by developing and supporting leaders of color. I want to be a part of this movement so that I can better serve my students, continue to fight for equity and disrupt the systems that I work in, and work towards our collective liberation. We are in a critical moment right now, and have the opportunity to radically reimagine what education looks like – and I hope the fellowship will help me be effective in this change and create sustainable systems centered in values of equity, justice, and joy.”


John Tamrat

John Tamrat is the College Financial Coach & Partnership Coordinator at Moneythink.

“As a community, representation in leadership is vital in our journey for equity, especially in regards to education. I see Surge as a collective movement to liberate and empower the leaders within us, the leader within me.”

Leslye Salinas

Leslye Salinas is the Business Manager at Roses in Concrete Community School.

“I want to be part of the Surge Fellowship because I want to be in a space with likeminded individuals who want to make a difference in the community and with the next generation. I believe that my participation in Surge will allow me to expand my toolkit and create connections with people that otherwise I might not cross paths with due to limited representation. That is the current status quo, and we need to dismantle that and create spaces where educators that reflect the communities we serve.”

Adam Quintero

Adam Quintero is the Assistant Principal at Achieve Academy: Education for Change Public Schools.

“The Surge Fellowship is not a typical educational leadership program for many reasons that I admire it for. It is a movement because it empowers leaders of color to rethink and redesign education. Surge does not focus solely on the technical pieces of being a school leader; it puts a tremendous emphasis on mindset and equity. Its mission is to change the face of leadership in urban education, and I am eager to learn how to do that. It excites me that 87% of Surge Alumni report changing policies/ practices and/or creating system-level change, as I do not just want to live in theory. Especially now in a time where we can disconnect from brick and mortar and take a step back to truly reflect on systems that exist and maintain the status quo at schools, I want to be a part of a collective that fosters action. I want to be prepared to dismantle systems of oppression that exist in education.”


Amaya Noguera

Amaya Noguera is the Lead of Afro-Latinx Programming at the Latinx Racial Equity Project.

“It would be a great honor to be included in the next cohort of Surge Fellows. I would be so proud to share with my community this opportunity for my personal growth, and for the implications, it will have for all of those currently building with me. Various mentors of mine have encouraged me to apply over the years. This is the first time that I have been able to apply and would be able to accommodate the level of engagement needed to have a truly impactful experience. As I move on my career path, opportunities to enrich my skills, enhance my learning and professional development can be increasingly more and more difficult to navigate. Especially as a full-time working mom. I know that being a Surge Fellow will significantly help me by providing the kind of professional development and learning environment that can help my ideas thrive. Where I can plan, and strategize and learn and analyze and reflect with people who share similar values, and who are doing their own very important work. That kind of community is powerful. That kind of community is transformative.”


Lauren Horton

Lauren Horton is the Dean of Culture at Lighthouse Community Public Schools.

“When I first heard of the Surge Fellowship, I felt that this community was exactly what I’ve been missing. What draws me to Surge is the commitment, development, and celebration of Black and Brown Leadership in education. I am excited to work in collaboration with other educational leaders to create healing and transformative impact, in order to disrupt the ills that plague our communities. Surge will allow me to grow within this work and sharpen my vision as a Black leader. I look forward to utilizing the resources, tools, and skills learned to network, advocate for equitable ideas, practices, and structures for the Black and Brown youth that I serve.”