CeCe Rice is a longtime education professional, most recently as a charter school principal and now a director of school support. She is also the founder of Educators of Color Alliance, a program founded through Design to EdRupt, a fellowship program offered by Opportunity 180.

The program surfaces and supports underrepresented education leaders to design and launch new learning environments, such as schools or programs, and consists of two stages: Explore, where fellows develop and pilot a learning environment with students and families and identify multiple pathways to launch their idea; and Cultivate, where fellows continue to pilot their ideas and build on their leadership competencies.

As CeCe begins her journey through Cultivate, she shared some of her experiences with the program with individuals thinking of applying to the program’s third Explore cohort:

Q: Tell us about your program, Educators of Color Alliance.

A: Through Design to EdRupt, I founded the non-profit, Educators of Color Alliance (EOCA), which is currently in its official start-up year. EOCA provides instructional and emotional support to educators of color in years 3-5 of their careers to retain them in the field. I am committed to the support and elevation of local educators.

Q: What led you to the Design to EdRupt fellowship?

A: I chose to embark on the fellowship because of a commitment to kids, families, and educators. Having a program for educators of color was evident to me in my experience in schools; however, I needed to figure out where to start developing the idea. Our teachers deserve a safe space, and Design to EdRupt has been instrumental in helping me bring that to fruition.

Q: What did you expect from the fellowship, and what surprised you?

A: I gained a new perspective on the work, especially concerning creating with liberatory design at the core. Still, I was surprised to see how I leaned into the process of understanding, unpacking, reimagining, and designing. I was also aware that we would take a national trip to experience innovative school and program models in action, but I was surprised to gain so much from the visit. The models that we saw implemented shifted my thinking about what is needed and possible.

Q: How would you describe where you are on your leadership journey?

A: I am currently a fellow in both Surge Institute’s Las Vegas Academy and Design to EdRupt’s Cultivate program. I hope to continue to build my lens for equity and positively affect more educators of color, because that work ultimately has positive outcomes for students and families.

Q: What would you recommend to individuals thinking of applying to Design to EdRupt?

A: I recommend applying even if you are still determining your idea. The process allows for iteration and refinement. The space is very supportive and provides a roadmap for making your venture come to life. It is a good amount of work and time, but it is well worth the effort!


Design to EdRupt applications are now open! Priority applications are due September 15, with final applications closing on September 29. If you’re interested in applying or would like additional information:

RSVP to attend a virtual info session on August 30 or September 13 (both from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. PST).