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 BROWN | Programs Director
Akeem is the Programs Director at The Hidden Genius Project, board chair of The Lorenzo Alexander ACES foundation, and founder of Corporately. Akeem’s passion is embedded at the intersections of technology, business, law and policy, and empowering youth with confidence and a skill set to build technical solutions to solve problems specific to their own communities. As a result of his own personal experiences growing up and navigating through underrepresented communities, Akeem’s ministry is known to be unrelenting and unapologetic with respect to creating access and opportunities for historically underserved demographics.
Akeem’s previous professional experience is in law where 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 in Public Policy and Religion.
SEAN VALENTINE | Operations Director
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 TOURÈ, Ph.D. | Innovation Educator
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.
EUGENE LEMON | Innovation Educator
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 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.