Carol Burris, former principal of South Side High School in Rockville Centre, has been named executive director of The Network for Public Education's NPE Fund, through which she will advocate for public schools on the national level.
The nonprofit, grassroots group was co-founded by education historian Diane Ravitch two years ago. Ravitch, of Brooklyn, is a former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education who later became a vocal opponent of many of its policies and has written 10 books and edited another 14 on school organization, teaching and other topics.
The Network for Public Education opposes high-stakes testing and the linkage of teacher evaluations to student test scores while advocating for equitable school funding, manageable class sizes and early childhood education.
Based in Manhattan, it serves as an umbrella group for its 15,000 members, which include both individuals and advocacy groups across the country, and is pushing for a resurgence in arts, science and foreign language curricula.
Burris, 62 and a principal for 15 years when she left South Side in June, said she is thrilled.
"It's a way to continue the fight," the East Rockaway resident said. "That is what I wanted to do."
Before coming to the Rockville Centre schools, Burris was a Spanish teacher in Lawrence, starting in 1990. She earned a doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University in 2003 and has been a frequent guest blogger on education issues for The Washington Post for the past three years.
In her new role, she will conduct research, issue policy papers and communicate with the public.
"I am really delighted," she said. "There is a lot going on right now in New York State and beyond. One of the things I'm really learning is about the broad effort to undermine public education across the nation."
Robin Hiller, executive director of the arm of the organization responsible for political endorsements, said she was elated to learn Burris is joining her at NPE. Hiller was in charge of the NPE Fund until the organization decided to break the post out separately and hired Burris.
"Carol has done fantastic work," she said. "She has been a teacher, a principal and she has also gotten involved in some of the major, national issues. She communicates so well . . . To have that person in this position will take The Network for Public Education to the next level."