But what a beginning it has been.
Fresh off the heels of graduating our third class of emerging Chicago education leaders of color, we have now launched our largest and most diverse cohort yet. We are thrilled that 60 percent of our 2017 Surge Fellows stepped into new leadership roles and alumni from all cohorts are successfully scaling the ladders of leadership—and crediting Surge for catalyzing or aiding them in their journey. It is indescribable to begin to realize the vision of impact that brought Surge to fruition.
Surge is more than a program. Surge is a sprawling movement. This movement is not isolated to any one space. Not just non-profit organizations. Not just charter or traditional schools. This work transcends those categories. We are everywhere, forming a collective bond with the singular mission of transforming the service to students and communities who deserve nothing but the best and have been too long underserved.
As you navigate this narrative of fiscal year 2017 and absorb the stories of our fellows and alumni, we invite you to see the connective tissue. See the thread and shared mission. We avoid silos. We are many, yet we are one. And this is only the beginning.
Her leadership role allows her to impact children every day, crafting high-quality legislation that reaches 63,000 students across the state.
Serving as a political director, Johnson creates strategy around legislative and municipal elections through targeted campaign support. She also works to build coalitions among parents, community members, school leaders, and allied organizations to help create and maintain high quality education in our most underserved communities.
Johnson attributes her ability to navigate political environments to lessons she learned at Surge. “I learned to use my seat at the table to move the room,” Johnson said. “Every encounter is as an opportunity to influence outcomes for black and brown children. Prior to my time in Surge, I would never have had to the confidence to walk into a room of funders and explain my work and results with accuracy and certainty.”
The 2017 Surge Fellowship introduced a large and diverse collective of dreamers and doers. Natalie Neris and William Collins are two powerful examples of this sprawling movement in action.
As assistant principal of Muchin College Prep and a 2017 Surge Alumnus, Green takes this charge seriously. He has taken the skills, insights and connections he gained through the Surge Fellowship and poured them into the future leaders of this country... the students.
“Time is finite in my role and as a high school administrator, I can tell you exactly how much time I have to make an impact: four years,” Green said. “My work has shifted through my involvement in the Surge movement because I realize it’s more important now than ever, to tell my scholars the truth.”
D. Nigel says Surge has inspired him to lead beyond his work at Muchin as well. He is now a volunteer mentor for iMentor Chicago and contributed to an op-ed voicing his support for DACA to Education Post.
A third-party research firm performed an empirical evaluation of the fellowship. The results will be released in November 2017. They reveal a transformative impact on our fellows and their communities.
In October, the Chicago Surge Fellowship successfully launched its largest and most diverse cohort of 25 fellows.
Surge is excited to announce we will soon launch a new Fellowship, unifying and empowering education leaders of color in
How do we best serve our communities? By evolving to fit the need. Stay tuned! Surge’s next steps include new extensions of our programming, such as expanded alumni services and professional development, pilot opportunities in smaller markets, and support for prospective entrepreneurs.
But, as Elisa Botello notes, the journey does not end when the fellowship does. “Although I completed the program in October 2016, the Surge experience for me is one that has just begun,” Botello said. Alumni continue to receive executive coaching and developmental support from the Surge family after graduating. In 2017, Surge alumni participated in several Surge community events, including a fireside chat with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
“Authenticity, excellence, and humility are front and center in my leadership growth,” Botello added, relating the movement to her work at Chicago Public Schools. “It is because of the Surge Fellowship that I continue to draw from these anchors, my fellows and the Surge network for support, consultation and community as I do my part to ensure that high quality educational options exist in Chicago.”
This movement is powered by passion for the work. If you feel strongly about bringing more diversity to education leadership, please volunteer. If you’ve achieved great success, made it to the mountaintop, and are looking to support an effort that lifts up others, please donate. We appreciate your support.