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Supporting emerging leaders committed to equity

Education Forward DC
Education Forward DC

We can’t build an education system that results in success for Black and brown students without new leaders who are committed to better outcomes for them.

In 2022, Education Forward DC supported the DC expansion of the Surge Academy as part of our work to develop the next generation of Black and Latinx education leaders. This national program “develops, elevates, and unites leaders of color” in schools and organizations that serve youth and provides them an intensive leadership experience and a deep exploration of personal growth, trauma, and the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the US.

The first cohort completed the program this year, and one fellow is already stepping up as a city leader: Brandon Best, whom voters elected to serve on the DC State Board of Education.

Best had been searching for a leadership fellowship for some time, but other programs didn’t seem like the right fit. Until he heard about Surge and its focus on racial equity for students.

“I would not be here today as a member of the State Board if it weren’t for Surge,”

-Brandon Best, DC State Board of Education Member, Ward 6

“At the core of everything Surge is about equity,” Best said. “It’s innate to my character. That’s why it was a perfect match.”

The commencement address by former DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson inspired Best and he decided he wanted to do more for DC’s students and families. Surge helped connect him to other leaders of color in the city who encouraged him to run and provided the mentorship and resources that were integral to his successful campaign. Not to mention some of his cohort members who were there supporting him throughout the whole process collecting signatures and introducing him to voters.

“I would not be here today as a member of the State Board if it weren’t for Surge,” said Best.

Now he plans to use his time on the Board of Education to advance a system that works best for students.

“The decisions we as adults make do not always align with what students need to be successful after high school,” he said. “Those who are best suited to solve the challenges in our education system are those who experience them daily: our families, our communities, and our students. I want to create a more inclusive state board that is listening to them and incorporating what they are telling us.”

Education Forward DC
Education Forward DC

Every DC student deserves to thrive.