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.
Director of Finance and Operations
Bio coming soon!
Director of Strategic Initiatives
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.
AKEEM BROWN | Programs Director
Akeem is the Programs Director at The Hidden Genius Project, Chair of The Lorenzo Alexander ACES Foundation, and founder of Corporately LLC. As a result of his own personal experiences growing up and navigating through impoverished communities, Akeem’s ministry is known to be unrelenting and unapologetic with respect to creating access and opportunities for the historically underserved. His passions are embedded at the intersections of technology, entrepreneurship, law & policy. Akeem strongly believes that societal transformation is attainable when and if underrepresented and under-resourced demographics gain the confidence and the skill sets to build solutions to solve problems specific to their own communities. Akeem’s previous professional experience is in law; he served as a Senior Corporate Paralegal overseeing new business venture’s intellectual property, contracts, and compliance matters. Akeem was educated at the University of California, Riverside where he studied Public Policy and Religion.
HODARI TOURÈ, Ph.D.
Senior Innovation Educator and Curriculum Lead
Hodari A. Tourè 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. Tourè has taught courses at UC Berkeley and has vast experience in working with young Black males throughout the East Bay including Emery Middle School and King Estate Middle School.
DAVID MALONE JR. | Innovation Educator
Bio coming soon!
Communications and Administrative Associate
Born and raised in San Francisco, Denzel Russell is the Communications and Administrative Associate at The Hidden Genius Project. He provides a wealth of experience in youth development, program management, marketing, and non-profit administration. Prior to this role, Denzel’s passion for mentoring underserved youth stemmed from his service at the Children’s Creativity Museum, where he worked as the Marketing and Development Associate, Floor Manager, and Youth Program Coordinator. Denzel received his B.S. in Business Administration with a focus on Management from San Francisco State University.
JAMAL MITCHELL | Care Champion
Jamal Mitchell drives the Support Services arm of The Hidden Genius Project as Care Champion. With over twenty-two years of experience in serving youth and families in the foster care system, Jamal specializes in cultivating relationships with at-risk and underserved youth. He has a strong passion for comprehensive case management and possesses a gift for developing a holistic needs-based service plan. Jamal was also a Life Skills Trainer for twelve years at the Alameda County Independent Living Skills Program.
EUGENE LEMON | Innovation Educator
Eugene Lemon has over thirty years of 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 Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA) 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.