August 5, 2023 2:55 pm

NPE Mourns the Loss of Former Communications Director Darcie Cimarusti

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Mother Crusader.

That is what Darcie Cimarusti called herself, and it was a title she earned again and again.  As a mom, devoted spouse of a teacher, NPE Communications Director, and school board President, Darcie was devoted to public schools.

Darcie began her advocacy work by exposing the fraud and shenanigans of the charter schools that were draining resources from New Jersey public schools. She was delighted when her investigative work led to a story by Mike Winerip in The New York Times. Winerip gave Darcie credit for exposing the machinations and falsehoods put forth by a charter operator in pursuit of a Federal Charter School Program grant. In that article, Winerip characterized applications to the Federal Charter School Programs (CSP) as an invitation to “fiction writing.” Years later, when NPE investigated the CSP program, we came to understand that what Darcie uncovered was not a bug but rather a feature of the CSP.

Last July, even as she was battling ovarian cancer, Darcie did a masterful job of exposing the spread of Hillsdale charter schools in the Answer Sheet of the Washington Post.  That important investigation inspired other reporters to take a closer look at the Barney Charter Schools initiative of the small conservative Christian college.  She always worked behind the scenes connecting the dots between billionaires, charter schools, and profiteers.  Her research was remarkable. As a graphic artist, she created memes, reports, and website designs that brought NPE advocacy messages to life.

On August 3, Darcie peacefully ended her battle with cancer, surrounded by her beautiful daughters, her husband David, her brothers, her father, and her extended family.

NPE President Diane Ravitch worked with Darcie from the beginning days of NPE. “Our dear friend Darcie was a crucial founder of NPE. While she worked hard as a parent and as a member of her local school board, Darcie always made the time to build NPE into a national voice for public schools. As “Mother Crusader,” Darcie spoke out fearlessly for the public schools her twins attended. She was a kind, thoughtful, dedicated, and fearless friend. We will miss her.”

Dear Mother Crusader, we will indeed miss you. We at NPE will ensure that your memory, good work, and legacy live on. Yours was a life well-lived.