Opportunity 180 Partners with Surge Institute to Launch Program in Southern Nevada

The Surge Academy, a national program that develops, elevates, and unites leaders of color within the education and youth-serving space, will be expanding to two new cities in 2022: Las Vegas and Philadelphia.

Designed by the Surge Institute, the Surge Academy program provides an intensive leadership experience, packed with powerful content that explores executive skills such as finance, strategic planning, and change management. In addition, throughout the program, fellows engage in a deep and unflinching dialogue about personal growth, trauma, and the true state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the United States.

Mathew Mauricio Rojas (IND ‘21), an alum of the program and Assistant Professor of Practice at Relay Graduate School of Education, shares what he gained.

“Because of my experience with the Surge Academy, I now am a fuller version of myself,” Rojas said. “I feel confident in my leadership and don’t feel like I am asking for permission to be who I am becoming. I am now surrounded by people who believe in me and see me for who I was, am, and hope to be and know they will be there to support me.”

In September, thanks to a partnership with Opportunity 180, Surge will also start recruitment for a Las Vegas Surge Academy, which will develop, elevate and unite leaders in the city, as well as all of Clark County, Nevada.

“In an ongoing effort to strengthen and accelerate the pipeline of education leaders who represent the diversity of Southern Nevada, we are thrilled to partner with the Surge Institute team to provide the opportunity to launch the Las Vegas Surge Academy,” said Jana Wilcox Lavin, CEO of Opportunity 180. “The Academy is a momentous step forward in building out the region’s educational ecosystem to better reflect that diversity, and will have a significant impact on students, families, and our community.”

Originally launched in Kansas City, the six-month fellowship has grown into a signature program of the Surge Institute. To date, the Surge Academy has graduated three cohorts, two in Kansas City and one in Indianapolis respectively, totaling 44 leaders who have transitioned into Surge’s National Alumni Network of more than 200 leaders of color. More recently the Academy has kicked off a new cohort in Indianapolis and launched a new fellowship experience in Washington D.C.

Upon graduating from the Surge Academy, fellows maintain a deep connection to the Surge national movement, united in the purpose of building an equitable future for communities of color.

To learn more about applying to the Surge Academy, visit the Surge Academy homepage. Applications for the Las Vegas cohort will open in the fall.

Sign up for the Surge Institute’s Quarterly Newsletter and follow the Surge Institute and Surge Academy on social media to stay informed about upcoming events, news, and related developments.

About The Surge Institute:

The Surge Institute is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established with a simple but important mission to develop and elevate leaders of color who create transformative change for children, families, and communities. Founded by Carmita Semaan in 2014, the organization was designed to empower emerging diverse leaders to change the landscape of education by providing them with a unique, authentic leadership development experience. To learn more about The Surge Institute, please visit: www.surgeinstitute.org

Design, found & lead a charter school of uncompromising excellence in Las Vegas.

Apply today or nominate an aspiring charter school leader to BES!

Follow the links below to apply, nominate, connect, or learn more about launching a charter school through The BES Fellowship.

Building Excellent Schools (BES) is committed to improving academic achievement by training leaders to take on the demanding and urgent work of leading high-achieving, urban public charter schools.

Through The BES Fellowship, highly motivated individuals participate in a rigorous, yearlong training that prepares them to design, found, and lead a high-performing public charter school. At the end of The Fellowship year, BES Fellows apply to establish their own independent charter school—customized to the needs of its community.

Fellows receive a stipend, benefits, extensive training, and support throughout the intensive first year. After The Fellowship year, they receive additional assistance and coaching as they guide their schools through startup and early operation.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. BES offers a $5,000 finder’s fee for nominated candidates who receive and accept an offer to join The Fellowship. 

Connect with a recruiter

Nominate a Fellow

Learn more about The Fellowship


Building Excellent School Charter School Leader with Student

“During the Fellowship year with BES, we visited and studied 40 schools in 10 regions across the country. These school studies played an instrumental role in refining our vision for academics and school culture. The Fellowship also provided training and support in critical areas such as building a strong school board, writing a winning charter application, and hiring teachers who will prepare all our students for high school, college, and life.”

-David Blodgett, 2016 Nevada BES Fellow & Founder of The Nevada Prep Charter School

To see the full list of Opportunity 180 teacher leader development pathways, click here.

Ryan Fellows are the nation’s next generation of highly-effective school principals.

Want to be a School Leader? Apply to The Ryan Fellowship!

Accelerate Institute’s Ryan Fellowship is a 3-year leadership development program for new principals. Ryan Fellows undergo a rigorous selection process and complete a Fellowship year which includes a 4-week Accelerate Summer Institute (in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University) and a Field Study at a charter school in their region.

The Fellowship year is followed by ongoing training and advisory support during the first two years of principalship.

Next deadline to apply is March 31.
Final deadline is April 27



Quick Links
To hear from Ryan Fellows, click here.
For a detailed fellowship timeline, click here.
For questions about the fellowship, contact Stephanie Shear.
For a full list of Opportunity 180’s talent partnerships, click here.