October 27, 2015 2:07 pm

Board of Directors and Staff

Published by

Network for Public Education
Board of Directors

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch is a co-founder of the Network for Public Education. She is a historian of education and 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.

Anthony Cody

Anthony Cody is a co-founder of the Network for Public Education. He worked for 24 years in the Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high-needs middle school.

A National Board certified teacher, he now leads workshops with teachers on Project Based Learning. He has a nationally recognized education blog, Living in Dialogue, and he is the author of The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation. He is the co-founder of the Network for Public Education.

Keith Benson

Dr. Keith E. Benson is the author of Education Reform and Gentrification in the Age of #CamdenRising: Public Education and Urban Redevelopment in Camden, NJ (2019) and is currently the President of the Camden Education Association. He has taught in Camden City public schools for fourteen years prior to being elected to the presidency. Keith is also an adjunct professor at Rutgers University-Camden.

Lavelle Jones

Lavelle Jones was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey where she attended public schools. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College and her Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. She is retired from the New Jersey Bar.

Lavelle worked for Colgate-Palmolive Company where she developed the company’s minority and women-owned business program, created global strategies for professional services, and led global teams. The National Network Journal listed Lavelle as one of the most influential black women in business. She was also a two-time recipient of the Harlem YMCA Black Achievers in Industry award.

Since her retirement, Lavelle has applied her skills, as a volunteer, in support of her favorite causes: the well-being of older Americans, the education and safety of children, and the preservation of wildlife. She joined AARP as a volunteer in 2007 and currently serves as AARP New Jersey State President.

Leonie Haimson

Leonie Haimson is Executive Director of Class Size Matters, a non-profit advocacy group working for smaller class sizes in NYC and the nation as a whole. She is also a co-founder of Parents Across America, a national grassroots group that supports progressive and proven education reforms.

She is a graduate of Harvard University, worked at the Educational Priorities Panel, and founded Class Size Matters in 2000. She regularly speaks before parent, advocacy, and government groups, writes opinion pieces and blogs, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News and on national radio shows.

James Harvey

James Harvey  is the executive director of the National Superintendents Roundtable. The Roundtable is dedicated to progressive leadership in support of just and humane schools.

A native of Ireland, Harvey attended elementary and secondary schools in Ireland and London and completed his high school education at a public school in Pennsylvania. He is the author or co-author of dozens of articles and five books on education and education policy. He served in the Carter administration as an education lobbyist and on the staff of the Committee on Education and Labor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Georgina Pérez

Georgina Cecilia Pérez is the Texas State Board of Education representative for District 1, representing students, parents, and educators in 40 counties in West Texas and over 900 miles along the Texas-Mexico border. She was re-elected to serve her second four-year term on the board on Nov. 3, 2020, and continues as secretary of the TXSBOE since 2019. Pérez also serves on the Committee of Instruction, which oversees curriculum and instruction, student testing, special education programs, and alternatives to social promotion.

Pérez is an El Paso native and proud graduate of Eastwood High School in the Ysleta Independent School District. She served as an eighth-grade English Language Arts and Reading teacher, department chair, pre-service and new-service teacher mentor, and professional development educator in the same district for more than a decade.

Casandra E. Ulbrich

Casandra E. Ulbrich, Ph.D. was elected to the Michigan State Board of Education in 2006 and re-elected in 2014 to serve a second eight-year term expiring January 1, 2023. She serves as the President of the Board. 

Casandra has spent the majority of her career in higher education administration, currently serving as the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.  Prior to joining UM-Dearborn, Casandra was the Vice President for College Advancement and Community Relations at Macomb Community College for eight years, where she oversaw the college’s marketing and communications, public relations, cultural affairs and foundation, as well as serving as the College’s Title IX Coordinator.. Casandra began her career as a Press Secretary to the former U.S. House Democratic Whip David Bonior, acting as the official spokesperson for the Congressman.

Casandra has been recognized as one of Michigan’s 40 under 40 by Crain’s Detroit Business.

Julian Vasquez Heilig

Julian Vasquez Heilig is an award-winning researcher and teacher. He is currently the Dean and a Professor of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation at the University of Kentucky College of Education.

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.

Yohuru Williams

Yohuru Williams is a professor of history and the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of St. Thomas. He received his Ph.D. from Howard University in 1998. Yohuru is the author of several books including Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven (Blackwell, 2006) and Teaching beyond the Textbook: Six Investigative Strategies (Corwin Press, 2008). He served as an advisor on the popular civil rights reader, Putting the Movement Back into teaching Civil Rights. Dr. Williams has appeared on a variety of local and national radio and television programs. He blogs regularly for the Huffington Post and is a regular contributor to the LA Progressive. 

His scholarly articles have appeared in the American Bar Association’s Insights on Law and Society, The Organization of American Historians Magazine of History, The Black Scholar, The Journal of Black Studies, Pennsylvania History, Delaware History, and the Black History Bulletin.


Executive Director:
Carol Corbett 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. 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 cburris@networkforpubliceducation.org.

Communications Director:
Darcie Cimarusti 

Darcie Cimarusti is a member of the Highland Park Board of Education in New Jersey. Darcie was first elected in 2013 and served as the president of the board from 2016-2019. She was re-elected to a third term in November of 2019.

Prior to being elected Darcie spent several years engaged in education advocacy work both in her hometown and statewide as a volunteer organizer for Save Our Schools 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.

Contact Darcie at dcimarusti@networkforpubliceducation.org.

Grassroots Liaison: Marla Kilfoyle

Marla Kilfoyle was a public school teacher for 30 years who taught in rural, urban, and suburban communities. A National Board Certified Teacher, Marla was the first educator to be honored as a Finkelstein Memorial Lecturer at Adelphi University because of her commitment to advocacy for public education. Marla also co-authored an Amicus Brief filed in the Supreme Court for Friedrichs vs. CTA and was honored by the NYS Assembly in 2012 as a Woman of Distinction.

She served as the Executive Director of The Badass Teachers Association (BATs) from 2013-2018 and she was on the Steering Committee for the New York State Allies for Public Education from 2014-2018. Throughout her teaching career in the Oceanside, New York School District she held many elected positions in her union.  

Contact Marla at marlakilfoyle@networkforpubliceducation.org.