Carmita Semaan is Founder and President of The Surge Institute. Surge is transforming education by training, supporting, connecting and elevating emerging education leaders of color. Surge unapologetically seeks to change the face of decision-making in education reform and equity efforts to reflect the communities served.
Encouraging leaders to bridge their heads and hearts in their daily work is the essence of Surge. Fellows are challenged to walk fully and authentically in their experiences and their purpose - to dramatically and sustainably impact systems that serve young people, families, and communities through fresh ideas and innovative perspectives.
Though an adopted Chicagoan after 15+ years, Carmita was raised in Birmingham, AL. Birmingham’s history and legacy has greatly shaped who she is and what she feels called to do - to elevate the genius that lives within communities and shine a light on the brilliance and ingenuity that is too often overlooked and untapped in solving systemic issues.
Carmita holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan. She received a 2016 Chicago Business Journal’s Women of Influence Award and was selected as a 2013 Marshall Memorial Fellow by the German Marshall Fund. She was also a 2010 Pahara Aspen Fellow, a 2009 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow and is a graduate of the Broad Residency in Urban Education.