The Hidden Genius Project was founded in 2012 by five black male entrepreneurs/technologists who were unnerved by the dramatic juxtaposition between the high unemployment of black male youth and the plethora of career opportunities within the local technology sector. To address this challenge, the founders established a program to connect young black males with the skills, mentors, and experiences that they need to become high-performing entrepreneurs and technologists in a 21st century, global economy.
Brandon Nicholson, Ph.D.
Founding Executive Director
An Oakland native, Founding Executive Director Brandon Nicholson has always felt a deep sense of commitment to promoting equity in the public realm, particularly in the education space. Previously, he was a Senior Associate at Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), where he conducted research, evaluation, and analysis across a range of key social policy areas. Brandon has conducted substantial research in the areas of education and youth development, with a particular focus on issues of equity and access in K-12 education for underserved populations. He has considerable experience investigating linkages among race, class, and youth development.
Akeem’s has a passion to revolutionize education policy. While studying Public Policy and Religious Studies at the University of California, Riverside, Akeem helped to develop and implement programming to support displaced-at risk-students and their families. He also served as an elected undergraduate student representative through which he created programs and services designed to increase the recruitment and retention of high school and community college students from low-income communities of color.
Akeem’s previous professional experience is in corporate law and compliance, he is also a founding board member of The Lorenzo Alexander ACES foundation and youth minister at the Antioch Church in Oakland, CA.
Sean Valentine grew up in the Greater New York City Area. In 2009 he relocated to Oakland to work with youth athletes through personal training. In this pursuit, Sean developed a passion for mentorship and teen counseling. While studying Economics he became determined to incorporate his life’s experiences, scholastic knowledge and pure people skills to help underserved teens reach their true potential. Sean received his B.S. in Economics from Saint Mary’s College.
Hodari A. Touré received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in the School of Education in Social and Cultural Studies. His research in anthropology and education reflects a strong emphasis on inner city African Americans and has resulted in an interest in organic community discourse, which he calls block pedagogy. He states it is a discourse, which reflects the constant negotiation of identity power and privileged knowledge.
Prof. Touré has taught courses at UC Berkeley and has vast experience working with young Black males throughout the Eastbay including; Emery middle school, King Estate middle school among others.
Eugene Lemon has over thirty years’ experience in the computer technology field, first as a business software consultant and then as a computer science teacher. He recently retired from Oakland Unified School District after twenty years of service where he worked in alternative educational settings; primarily serving at-risk students who would otherwise have a difficult time succeeding in a traditional high school environment.
Eugene is the president of the local CSTA (Computer Science Teacher Association) Chapter and a member of the CSTA’s Advocacy Leadership Team. Eugene is also a member of The Level Playing Field Institute’s Broadening Participation in Computing advisory committee providing feedback on the development, implementation and evaluation of the BPC project.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tracy Moore, II
Founder and CEO, Mindblown Labs
CO-Founder, Mindblown Labs
Director of Product Management, NeoCare Solutions
Duke MBA and Northeastern Eng. Alumnus
Senior Product Design Manager, AppDirect
Western Washington University
Co-Founder and CEO, Enole
Massachusetts Institute of Technology