Surge Institute: Executive Director, Oakland

Surge Institute - Oakland, CA - Full time

Surge Institute - Oakland, CA - Full time


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The Surge Institute

Founded in 2014, The Surge Institute inspires and increases the trajectory of emerging education leaders of color so they may bring new ideas, perspectives, and solutions that positively impact the communities of color that make up our urban schools. The Surge Fellowship, the flagship program of The Surge Institute, is a one-year cohort-based fellowship program designed for these leaders. The vision of the Fellowship is to dramatically change the face of leadership in education reform by training, supporting, connecting, and elevating high-capacity African-American and Latino leaders across organizations seeking to dramatically improve education options and outcomes for low-income children. Fellows are exposed to role models who help them realize Surge's four objectives: to dream big, focus inward, know the landscape, and make an impact.

As we support our third Chicago fellowship cohort and recognize a rising demand in other cities, Surge is growing and seeking new talent to support its evolution, ensure impact, and maintain a commitment to excellence in execution. Surge’s growth includes an expansion of the current Chicago program and extension into Oakland, CA, a community rich with homegrown talent and commitment to amazing outcomes for students, families, and community. This is an exciting time for Surge and we are seeking motivated, disciplined, mission-driven individuals to join our team! For more information, please visit

Executive Director Opportunity

The founding Executive Director, Oakland will be chiefly responsible for all aspects of successful execution of the Oakland Surge Fellowship program. This includes being the chief brand ambassador for Surge in the Bay Area – building and maintaining relationships with partners and funders – while ensuring delivery of a high-quality Fellowship program. A successful Executive Director will be passionate about closing the opportunity gap for underserved students of color, driven by concrete outcomes and results, obsessive about details and organization, and exceptional in building lasting partnerships with Fellows, partners, connectors, and funders throughout the region.


Setting Vision and Direction

  • Define initial priorities with the President for the Oakland market and leverage support of Surge’s national and local team to execute priorities
  • Anticipate future needs for the Oakland market, adjusting strategies and changing course as needed
  • Establish a culture of quality control and continuous improvement among local staff and partners

Program Execution

  • Monitor the needs of the Fellowship program and ensure operational excellence
  • Act as chief liaison with Surge Faculty and partners
  • Lead and join program staff to deliver high quality sessions and other program activities on time and within program budget

External Relations

  • Lead relationship building for the Surge Fellowship in Oakland, representing the organization to a broad spectrum of stakeholders and inspiring others to understand the transformative power of the Surge experience
  • Build and maintain external relationships with local content and talent partners to ensure future demand for Fellowship
  • Increase Oakland funding partnerships through cultivation of mutually beneficial relationships with committed partners
  • Build and manage local advisory board to support programming and local fundraising

Team Leadership

  • Cultivate an intentional organizational culture representing values of excellence, authenticity, community, urgency, passion, and fun!
  • Recruit, select, support and develop a high-performing and mission-driven team necessary to support excellent Oakland programming


The ideal Executive Director candidate will have the following education and/or experience:

  • Passion for and connection with African-American and Latino communities in Oakland, with history of successful collaboration across many different stakeholder groups
  • A successful history of creating and executing operational plans that have guided organizations or department(s) to great results, complete with budget administration
  • Experience in adult education or professional development
  • At least 10 years work experience in education program administration, business development, business operations, or closely related field
  • Bachelor’s degree required in education, business, or relevant field (Master’s degree preferred)

In addition, s/he will have the following personal qualities:

  • Personal commitment to transforming K-12 public education
  • Executive presence and ability to build authentic relationships with funders and organizational partners
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment and willingness to “roll up their sleeves” to get things done
  • Fervent attention to detail and ability to manage multiple priorities
  • Strong oral and written communications skills
  • A high degree of professionalism and the ability to handle sensitive information with discretion
  • Creative problem-solving acumen with the ability to identify and address issues proactively
  • Humility and ability to build strong teams that support one’s own opportunity areas or weaknesses
  • A good sense of humor, positive attitude, and high degree of flexibility, dedication, resourcefulness, energy, and creativity
  • Ability to understand and LIVE the mission and brand of The Surge Institute

To Apply

Please submit your resume and thoughtful cover letter addressed to Carmita Semaan, President at Contact Serena Moy at or (510) 575-9635 with any questions.

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C Level Executive Leadership

Experience Level

Senior Level

Surge Institute

The Surge Institute was established to broadly address the issues of race and class in urban education through leadership development, technical assistance and advocacy. The Surge Fellowship is the signature program of the Surge Institute.

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