Network for Public Education
Board of Directors
President: 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.
Secretary: 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.
Treasurer: 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: Xian Barrett
Xian Barrett is the Vice President of Engagement of New Voices Strategies. In 2009 he was chosen Teaching Ambassador Fellow by the Department of Education. In Chicago, Barrett founded a citywide youth-led social justice organization, brought students to New Orleans for service learning and organized sister-city events with Japanese schools. His philosophy of teaching is, “before the students lose interest in your instruction, ask them what they are passionate about and work with that—their learning belongs to them.”
Director: Bertis Downs
Since graduating from Davidson College in 1978, Bertis Downs has lived in Athens, Georgia, where he received his law degree in 1981 from the University of Georgia’s School of Law. He represented the band R.E.M. throughout the band’s storied thirty year career and has remained an advisor to their various endeavors since disbandment in 2011. In 1988 Downs originated the Entertainment Law course at the University School of Law. Since then, he has regularly nourished his interest in teaching by speaking at various continuing legal education and music industry conferences, and he has lectured widely at universities and law schools in the United States and abroad. His civic and sociopolitical interests include advocating for our nation’s public education system. His focus is on fighting the growing corporatization of public schools to the detriment of the teaching and learning that goes on in them. His main professional interest is, like most everyone else in the creative industries these days, the changing legal and business landscape in the digital age of ubiquity. Downs married Katherine in 1986 and they have two young daughters, Adelaide and Eliza. Downs is active in various organizations and has served on boards for groups including People for the American Way, Georgia Conservation Voters, and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.
Director: 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, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News and on national radio shows. She writes for several blogs, including NYC Public School Parents and Huffington Post, and her articles and opinion pieces have been published in Education Week, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, InsideSchools, In These Times, the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet, Gothamschools, Gotham Gazette and elsewhere. In 2007 she received the John Dewey award from the United Federation of Teachers; in 2009 she was named as one of NYC’s family heroes by NYC Family Magazine; and in 2013 she was honored as an “Extraordinary Advocate for Our Children” by Advocates for Justice.
Director: Michael Matsuda
Michael Matsuda is the Superintendent of the Anaheim High School District in California. In 2016, Mike was recognized by Education Week as a Leader to Learn From, for his extraordinary work in English language learner education.
Mike, whose own parents were detained in an internment camp in Arizona during World War II, has a special sensitivity to students who are immigrants or perceived to be “outsiders.”
A fierce advocate of public schools, he has fought against the predatory practices of the EPIC online charter schools in his district, while leading a strong campaign to increase community involvement in the Anaheim Public Schools.Mike believes that we must model public schools as incubators of democracy through civic engagement and inclusive decision making involving all stakeholders, especially parents.
Director: Susan Ochshorn
Susan Ochshorn is a writer, policy analyst, and a leading activist for the whole child. She works to integrate early childhood into the education reform conversation and to catalyze social change. A former journalist, with a master’s degree in early childhood education and public policy from Bank Street College of Education, she has written for CNN Opinion, the Los Angeles Times, Education Week, and other publications. Susan blogs at ECE Policy Matters and at the Huffington Post, and is the author of Squandering America’s Future – Why ECE Policy Matters for Equality, Our Economy and Our Children. She’s working on a book about play as the foundation for democracy and civil society.
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.
Director: Yohuru Williams
Yohuru Williams is Professor of History and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University. 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 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 cburris@
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 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@