Who Are We?
NPE Action is a 501(c)4 advocacy group whose goal is to fight to preserve, promote, improve and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society.
We will accomplish this by networking groups and organizations focused on similar goals in states and districts throughout the nation, and share information regarding policies and legislation that affect public schools. We issue reports and action alerts on policies and legislation of interest to public school advocates.
President: Diane Ravitch
Diane Ravitch is a historian of education. She is Research Professor of Education at New York University. She has written ten books and edited another 14. She is a graduate of the Houston public schools, Wellesley College (BA), Columbia University (Ph.D. in history of American education), and holds ten honorary doctorates. In 2011, she received the Daniel Patrick Moynihan award from the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences for her careful use of data and research to advance the common good. She blogs at dianeravitch.net. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Co-founder and Treasurer: Anthony Cody
Anthony Cody worked in the high poverty schools of Oakland, California, for 24 years, 18 of them as a middle school science teacher. He writes the widely read Living in Dialogue blog, and was one of the organizers of the Save Our Schools March in Washington, DC, in 2011. A graduate of UC Berkeley and San Jose State University, he now lives in Mendocino County, California.
Director: Tina Andres
Tina Andres has been a public school teacher for 30 years in Santa Ana, CA. She has taught elementary self contained classes and has taught middle school mathematics for 25 years. She has served as a math curriculum specialist and mentored over 50 student teachers from public universities throughout her career. She is married with two children who also attend Santa Ana schools. She is an active member of NEA and CTA and serves on State Council as well as the Chairperson for her local chapter’s Charter School Task Force. In addition to this, she is a member of the BATs Board of Directors. She is a proud advocate for public schools.
Director: Diallo Brooks
Diallo Brooks has over 18 years of nonprofit management experience working with national and state leaders to advance social justice policies that support and enhance everyone’s ability to live the American dream. In his current position as Director of Outreach and Partner Engagement at the People For the American Way/Foundation, Mr. Brooks serves as a national spokesperson for the organization and works to engage progressive partners and allies around People For’s social justice mission.
Diallo previously served as People For’s Field Director where he was responsible for activating People For’s networks around campaigns and strategic initiatives to advance progressive goals.
Mr. Brooks also has served as Co-Chair and national spokesman for Black Youth Vote (BYV!) and is a current executive board member of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Mr. Brooks has provided trainings for numerous nonprofits, local, state and federal elected officials and other institutions in the areas of values-based leadership development and organization management.
Director: Jitu Brown
Jitu Brown is the national director for the Journey for Justice Alliance, a network of 30 grassroots community based organizations in 23 cities across the country organizing for community driven school improvement. Born and raised in the Rosemoor neighborhood on the far south side of Chicago, Jitu Brown also teaches African-American history at St. Leonard’s Adult High School, the only accredited high school in the nation that exclusively serves people who have been formerly incarcerated. A believer in working locally and thinking globally, Jitu has taken youth leaders from KOCO to the United Nations, to the Passamaquoddy Native American reservation in Maine and to the UN Conference on Racism in South Africa. He has been published in the national education magazine Rethinking Schools, appeared in Ebony magazine and on several talk shows, including MSNBC’s The Ed Show, Al Jazeera America, WBEZ’s Community Voices, Democracy Now and CLTV’s Gerard McClendon Live.
Director: Phyllis Bush
Phyllis Bush is a retired English teacher and a concerned grandparent. She is the founder of the Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education which informs taxpayers and concerned citizens about the impact of the unsound education reform policies and laws being passed and the increasing privatization of public schools. She has researched and written numerous fact sheets about the impact of vouchers, charters schools, high stakes testing, and myths about education. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa (B.A. in English), and has a master’s degree from the University of Saint Francis in Education and Counseling. She taught for 32 years in the public schools in Illinois and Indiana.
Director: Steve Nelson
Steve Nelson was Head of School at the Calhoun School, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, for 19 years. Since 1997 Steve has been a columnist for the Valley News, the daily newspaper in the mid-VT/NH area on both sides of the Connecticut River. He has been a regular contributor to the Huffington Post since 2010, writing about education and politics, particularly as a passionate advocate for public education. Before assuming his current position, he worked as an administrator at Vermont Law School and Landmark College. He is an avid violinist and also served for six years as President of a performing arts school in the Midwest.
He is married to Wendy Nelson, has two children, Jennifer and Christopher, and three perfect grandchildren – Quinn, Maddie and Jack.
Director: Julian Vasquez-Heilig
Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently a Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies and the Director of the Doctorate in Educational Leadership at California State University Sacramento. He also serves as the California NAACP Education Chair. His current research includes quantitatively and qualitatively examining how high-stakes testing and accountability-based reforms and market reforms impact urban minority students. Julian’s research interests also include issues of access, diversity, and equity in higher education. Julian blogs at Cloaking Inequity, consistently rated one of the top 50 education websites in the world by Teach100.
Executive Director: Carol Burris
Carol Burris served as principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre School District in NY from 2000-2015. Carol received her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her dissertation on equitable practices in mathematics instruction received the 2003 National Association of Secondary Schools’ Principals Middle LevelDissertation of the Year Award. In 2010, she was recognized by The School Administrators Association of New York State as the Outstanding Educator of the Year, and in 2013 she was recognized by the National Association of Secondary School Principals as the New York State High School Principal of the Year. Carol serves as a Fellow of the National Education Policy Center and is the co-director of its Schools of Opportunity program. She authored three books on educational equity. Articles that she has authored or co-authored have appeared in Educational Leadership, The Kappan, the American Educational Research Journal, Theory into Practice, The School Administrator and EdWeek. Contact Carol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Communications Director: Darcie Cimarusti
Darcie Cimarusti is the president of the Highland Park Board of Education in New Jersey. Darcie was elected in 2013 and became the president of the board in January of 2016. She was re-elected to a second term in November of that same year.
Prior to being elected Darcie spent several years engaged in education advocacy work both at the local level and statewide as a volunteer organizer for Save Our School New Jersey. Darcie remains active on the state level both as a board member and as a parent advocate. Darcie also writes the education blog Mother Crusader, which was named one of the top 10 education blogs in the state by NJ Spotlight.