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.
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.
The members of our Leadership Council are Oakland natives, residents, parents, grandparents, former teachers, principals, and alumni of Oakland public schools. Our leaders have deep connections to Oakland and strong backgrounds in education. The Leadership Council supports and guides our work in the best interest of Oakland students.