Why I GO
"We are in this period of time where what predicts kids' experiences is zip code. Across zip codes there is great disparity. There needs to be a way to address those disparities. We need to change or transform the system in a way where more kids will succeed."
Brandon Nicholson

Brandon Nicholson

Leadership Council

Brandon is the founding executive director of The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland-based nonprofit that supports young African-American males in technology, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The Hidden Genius Project has served close to 1,000 kids.

Why public education?

I went to Oakland public schools from K-8, and then I had the opportunity to participate in the Better Chance Program. I attended a private high school for free. I felt I was prepared for the school thanks to my experience at Claremont, but what struck me was ‘Why was I able to afford this as opposed to someone else?’ Not everyone has the opportunity and support at school and home that I did.

Why Oakland?

I was born and raised here. As I was able to see more of the world in high school and college, I realized how diverse Oakland is and how important of a place it is politically and culturally.  I know it has its challenges– school achievement, violence, and poverty– but it also has a certain level of swag, cultural intelligence, and a great deal of pride.

What are your vices?

I definitely try too much, in a good way. I try to do as much as possible in a given day and sit on various boards. I don’t have a problem saying no. I just want to do things and make things happen.


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