NPU unites parents of color, low-income parents, special needs parents, single mothers and fathers, grandparents, formerly incarcerated parents and parents in recovery with traditionally represented parent voices to join a vibrant coalition that disrupts the traditional role of parent voice in policy space. It develops a new narrative that is inclusive of families from a wide variety of perspectives.
Join the Parent Revolution
It is time to forge a path forward to create space to put education at the top of the list of our national priorities. Parents and families have the power to change the conversation and politics around education reform and innovation. This is the national parent movement to build the change needed in national education policy conversations to create the change we need for our families.
The time for change is now.
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Our mission is to support parents who have lived experience and are authentic voices, advocates and organizers who are engaging, educating and empowering families, neighborhood by neighborhood across the United States.
Parents trust and expect that education is the great equalizer and school systems of every type must be held accountable for meeting the promise of education for all students — that each student has equitable access to opportunity to launch into a successful future.
Statement of Values
National Parents Union believes:
We believe, our children should always be at the core of our agenda in every decision.
We believe, there should be liberation, justice, and equity in education for all children.
We believe, education systems must be transformed to eradicate generational, institutions of oppression.
We believe, families have a powerful voice that should influence educational and political policies and practices at the local, state, and national level.
We believe, in order to effect change and strengthen families, we must provide them with the resources and opportunities to develop their talents and share best practices.
Who We Are
Keri Rodrigues is Matthew, Miles and David’s mom and the Founding President of the National Parents Union. Called “arguably the most successful — parent organizer in education advocacy today,” her outstanding commitment to social, economic and educational equity for children and families spans decades.
Following her own difficult experience surviving the Massachusetts public school system and receiving her GED from Boston Public Schools, Rodrigues was not surprised when she struggled navigating the education system with her own children. Knowing that schools were not adequately meeting the needs of students and parents, she turned her focus to education activism, eventually helping other families across the Commonwealth identify and use their voice and place kids at the center of the education discussion.
Rodrigues began her career as an award-winning journalist and continued her career in advocacy as a long-time labor activist, communicator and organizer with the world’s largest local labor union, 1199SEIU, leading major campaigns across the country.
Armed with this experience and success, Rodrigues has served as founder and Mom-in-Chief of Massachusetts Parents United, the largest parent advocacy organization in the Commonwealth, reaching more than 250,000 families across Massachusetts since 2016.
Rodrigues has also worked as a senior advisor on dozens of nonprofit, ballot-issue and political organizing campaigns both locally and nationally. Keri sits on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s “Influence 100” advisory group to transform the pipeline to education leadership to be more reflective of the composition of the Commonwealth as well as the Superintendent Rubric Refinement Project.
Keri’s impact extends beyond Massachusetts Parents United as an elected member of the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee, serving on the Executive Committee of the Ethnic Council of the Democratic National Committee and the advisory board of Democrats for Education Reform.
Peter Cunningham is the founder of Education Post. He served as assistant secretary for communications and outreach in the U.S. Department of Education during the Obama administration’s first term.
Peter is affiliated with Whiteboard Advisors, a DC-based education policy, research and communications firm. He serves on several non-profit boards, including Oakland-based Great Schools, which provides school quality information to parents through a national online platform, The Montessori School of Englewood, a Chicago public charter school, Manufacturing Renaissance, a career education program that trains public high school students for jobs in manufacturing, Unbounded, an organization supporting teachers in schools that are transitioning to higher standards and Foolproofme.com, which is focused on financial literacy for students.
Peter founded Cunningham Communications, serving public, private and nonprofit clients, worked for political consultant David Axelrod and was a senior advisor and speechwriter for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.
A native New Yorker, Peter began his career as a journalist with small weekly newspapers in New York. He earned an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University and a B.A. in philosophy from Duke University. He is married to artist Jackie Kazarian and they have two adult children who are proud graduates of the Chicago Public Schools.
Peter joined the Education Post board in 2018 after stepping down as the organization’s Executive Director.
As TNTP’s Chief Executive Officer, Dan Weisberg oversees TNTP’s executive team and all aspects of the organization’s operations, strategy and growth.
Prior to becoming CEO in June 2015 as part of TNTP’s long-term growth strategy, Dan was the Executive Vice President for Performance Management and General Counsel. In this role, he built and led a 130-person team to support the efforts of school systems and states nationwide to recruit, develop and retain effective teachers and principals.
Previously, as Vice President of Policy, Dan helped build TNTP into “a leading voice on teacher quality” and co-authored TNTP’s acclaimed study on the failures of the nation’s teacher evaluation systems, The Widget Effect, which has helped to catalyze evaluation reforms in more than 30 states since 2009. More recently, he participated in the writing of The Irreplaceables (2012), which explored the teacher retention crisis through the experience of the country’s best teachers, and The Mirage (2015), which questions the prevailing assumption that we know how to help teachers improve.
Before TNTP, Dan served as Chief Executive of Labor Policy and Implementation for the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE), the country’s largest public school system. In this role, he led negotiations between the Department and the United Federation of Teachers that resulted in a series of groundbreaking reforms, including the city’s highly regarded “mutual consent” system, which gives teachers and schools the primary voice in school staffing. He also led a team that provided labor support to NYCDOE’s 1,700 principals and implemented a number of high-stakes talent initiatives.
Before joining the NYCDOE, Dan was a Partner in the New York office of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where he led the firm’s east coast labor and employment practice. He holds a J.D. from New York University Law School and a BA in Political Science from Columbia University.
Arthur Soriano- Soriano is the President CEO of Youth Empowerment, a non-profit community-organization that leads a grassroots effort to engage at-risk youth and adult gang-members. He was raised in East San Diego, where he fell into the pitfalls of a gang and a personal destructive path into the prison institution for 23 years. His passion for the community brought him back to participate in a positive way. He and his wife Gabby have four kids ages 2-21.
Vincent Slaughter does not shy away from challenges. After over twenty years of working in finance with the State of Georgia, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he began a new career as a Production Payroll Accountant in 2016. During his second career, Vincent has worked on several large-budget, award-winning films. In 2020, he and his wife, Atiya, decided to adopt an eight-year-old boy under the California adoption plan. Becoming a parent for the first time in his 40s (turning 50 in 2020) was the greatest challenge of all. Navigating between social workers, therapists, and public schools, while trying to find a work/personal balance has been more than a handful for any adoptive parent. Yet, the process has led to Vincent’s passion for increasing the educational performance and expectations for foster children. In his downtime, Vincent is a lover of reading and writing mysteries, graphic novels, and historical narratives.
Tim Langan is Max and Dylan’s Dad and the Chief Operating Officer of the National Parents Union and Massachusetts Parents United where he focuses on supporting leadership development, delegates and members with the tools needed to advocate for the children and families across the nation from their neighborhoods to at the table with elected officials and policy makers. He is also one of the co-hosts of NPU’s popular “Dad-to-Dad” program – a first of it’s kind effort to connect fathers across the country to advocate for their children from their unique perspective.
Tim studied English at New York University, holds a M. Ed in Secondary Education and has more than a decade of experience in operations and people management. For the past several years, Tim’s work in support of parents and families across the country has helped them to create a powerful voice to change the education policy conversation and informed the “experts” about the realities faced by communities at the grassroots level – powerful parent advocates from across the country pushing back on the status quo.
Tim lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, enjoys podcasts and is continuing to build his epic music collection.
Marisol Quevedo Rerucha is a proven leader who doesn’t just talk about healing, equity, social justice, and disrupting generational trauma; she has both lived experience and a proven record of doing this work while leading change in education and non-profit systems. Marisol has formed and used her voice as an educational advocate for students, parents and our communities, while creating space and providing resources for staff, students, and parents to elevate theirs. Her passion is ensuring all students, especially those pushed out and most marginalized by society and our school systems, have high quality educational experience and are provided comprehensive services. She has engaged in the real work of addressing and ending the school to prison pipeline by building and leading career readiness and career technical education in juvenile court and community schools.
The impact of her passion, experience, work, and voice is felt beyond her own community as she serves as the Chief of Partnerships and Strategy for the National Parents Union, as the Director of Culture and Community for DBC Inc, is a member of the UNIDOS US National Institute for Latino School Leaders alumni council, serves on the board of Youth Empowerments Finest, and partners with organizations (nonprofit and for profit business) to provide comprehensive strategic action planning.
Tafshier is an advocate and community organizer based in Newark, NJ. Chief Operating Officer at Parent Impact, an organization created by parents for parents dedicated to empowering, advocating, and connecting families to resources that support their family’s needs for greater outcomes in urban communities. Parent Impact envisions creating opportunities where parents are partners and leaders in their communities. A proud Newarker, Mother to three young adults and three wonderful grandchildren. She has spent more than 20 years volunteering and organizing in various schools and community organizations in Newark. She strongly believes that parents active in the school community and neighborhood organizations have a positive effect on student outcomes. She also knows that having school choice is important and continues to advocate for the civil rights of Black and brown children to receive an equitable and quality education. An avid reader, lover of documentaries and lives a pescatarian lifestyle.
Vivett Dukes- Dukes is a mom, wife, classroom teacher, writer, educational consultant and public speaker. She uses her experience, acumen, and platform to eradicate the school-to-prison pipeline and other forms of systemic educational and societal inequities that disproportionately affect Black and brown communities. In addition to being the Northeast delegate to the National Parents Union, she is also the founder of Speak Ya Truth.
I am Christina Laster, proud Black Woman/Afro-latina, mother, grandmother, Civil Rights Activist, and Humanitarian! I was born and raised in San Diego, California where I gained a deep understanding and appreciation for culture and diversity. I graduated from the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice where I earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science then moving on to earn a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. I worked for nearly 13 years in the San Diego Unified School District as an early childhood education and a special education para educator.
I am deeply committed to children, families, and communities. My passion is equipping parents, families, and community leaders to become more fortified in their establishment of foundational, generational, adequate progress, and lasting change. A favorite Bible scripture: And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
My motto: Let My People Think!
Colleen Cook is a passionate advocate for school choice and parents’ rights. When forced in 2012 to make a change to improve her children’s education opportunities, Colleen became actively involved in the school choice movement in Oklahoma. Since that time, Colleen has grown from an advocate for her children into a national advocate for students in her home state of Oklahoma and across the country.
Colleen is the Director of Communications for the National Parents Union, a network of highly effective parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country that is united behind a set of common goals and principles to channel the power of parents.
Feel free to reach out to Colleen with any questions you may have. [email protected]
Born in Antigua, Virgin Island, and lived in the U.S. for most of my life.
I hold a B.S. in Human Services, with a Minor in Human Service Administration
B.S. Social Studies Graduate Certificate in Secondary Urban Education with Licensure.
I started my work in education as a Promise Fellow at a Charter school, I saw some amazing work by a Black woman, which I had never seen before. I went back to school to become a teacher, at the same time l, my daughter was getting pushed out, and I couldn’t believe it.
I was encouraged to say and do something about my situation, as I was learning, I was not alone. I gained confidence in my voice, and I been fight ever since.
I fight for ed justice because I am sick and tired of just being sick and tired of watching my community, the Black community not being able to shine like diamonds as children and then further be oppressed as adults. It has to stop.
Mother of 6, three bio, 3 foster(1 adopted in 2019). Wife, daughter, sister, grandmother. Graduate of Gwynedd Mercy College BS Business Administration. Recent/past positions 11th ward committee person, President of the Simon Gratz Mastery Charter High School Parent Association, member and Vice President of the Mastery Parent Action Council, Community Advocacy Manager for Mastery Charter Schools in Camden NJ, Bilingual Resource Parent Coordinator for El Concilio. Part of the Philly Counts Latino Subcommittee for the 2020 Census. Member of National Parents Union and a Council member Continuously an advocate for the education of children and their parents. I have made a choice to continue to speak for those that cannot speak for themselves.
Jada Bolar, born May 9th, 1998 is a native of Akron, Ohio. As the daughter of Kelley WIlliams-Bolar, her mother made national headlines in 2011, when she was arrested and served ten days in jail for sending her two daughters outside of their designated school district in Akron. Kelley’s actions were inspired to expand the educational and social opportunities for her children that the existing school could probably not provide.
She was granted clemency by then Governor John Kasich whom gave her a second chance, and currently, Ms. Bolar’s mother is recognized as a national advocate for education equality and pursues legislative social change that will serve the underrepresented. With that being said, this sparked a new fire in Jada! Wanting to ensure her mother’s decision was not made in vain, she is committed to advancing the voice of the young adult/ young entrepreneur community. To help gain more equality in having a social media presence and being taken seriously as a young adult advocate for education! Her mission has led to opportunities throughout the country, including joining alongside her mother, she began working with National Parents Union as a media producer and even guest speaking at engagements, reliving their unsettling experience on Capitol Hill and the White House. Her story has also been featured on national news programs and talk shows hosted by Dr. Phil and Tom Joyner.
Today Jada’s crusade continues to bring awareness to the issues of inequality and injustices that affect lower socio-economic areas. Being given the opportunity to work with NPU, she has been able to meet many parents who are effectively changing educational laws, passing bills, creating educational learning pods during the current 2020 pandemic and more! All whilst using different social media platforms! The main platform currently being used is Facebook, where she broadcasts 16 live shows per week revolving education, politics, and even Fun active shows like Zumba to get the entire family unit involved! Ms. Bolar stays connected to the community, walking in her mother’s legacy, by speaking at churches, nonprofit organizations and universities emphasizing the importance of utilizing your social media presence and voice as a millennial! Jada has even utilized her connections with beginning her own up & coming non-profit organization called “Jacob’s Helpers” a platform founded on faith. Their mission is to give young men an opportunity to learn essential life skills to help further themselves and their future. They offer community gatherings to help young men from the ages of 13-25 strengthen their interpersonal skills, as well as teach them how to network and create generational wealth. Proving the opportunities now are greater than they’ve ever been; you should use your voice and start your generational success!
To contact Ms. Bolar, you can user her NPU email at;
Bernita Bradley is a social entrepreneur who advocates for and with families in Detroit, Michigan. She is the founder of The Village, an outreach and recruitment team that ensures that future outcomes for children are prioritized within the community, philanthropic and education environments.
Bernita understands that successful community partnerships are authentic and must be built on fidelity. Foundational to The Village success is understanding that youth and parent voices are key to all great community partnerships and works to be a fair and just liaison between families and institutions.
Bernita is the mother of two beautiful children and a grandmother of one. She is committed to this work not only for them but also for the many youths whose futures are so important.
Bernita invites individuals who have her shared values and principles to join her in her work, and together they bring about successful outcomes for all involved.
Nehemiah D. Frank is the founding publisher and editor-in-chief of The Black Wall Street Times. He is a graduate of Harold Washington College and Oklahoma State University. His work is featured in TIME Magazine, Education Post, Tulsa People, Citizens Ed, Tulsa World, etc. He is featured in The New York Times, NBC NEWS (print edition), Los Angeles Times, The 74, etc. Frank was also featured in the 2019 documentary “American Heretics,” on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TEDx Talk, The Great Oklahoma Swindle, etc. Frank is a former school teacher and assistant principal and now spends his time advocating for parents and students in BIPOC communities. He is a founding delegate for the National Parents Union and serves on the Reimagining School Safety and Membership Committees
Wendy Gonzales-Neal is the Executive Director and Founder of My Child My Voice organization based in Houston, Texas. She is a am a Mom of four adult children and two grandchildren, but she is the Momvocate when it comes to having the best education for ALL kids! When I noticed my youngest son wasn’t receiving the education he deserved in our neighborhood public school, that’s when we began our school journey to find a school that would best fit him.
I found my way in education reform almost a decade ago supporting the work of a public charter schools and Education choice for families. This is where I found my energy and voice when it came to supporting families and communities. This is where my name became the “Education Mom” where I had the privilege of organizing parents, influencing policy, educating parents how to write OpEds, and engaging families across the state of Texas. This is when My Child My Voice was created a parent organization established to educate, motivate and to guide and support parents, guardians, immigrant families, refugee families to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to be able to actively participate in the education of their children and have a voice on issues facing their community and serve as a resource to them.
Missouri Charter Public School Association – Bilingual Director of Advocacy
I’m the blessed mother of Nina Isabella and Emilio Fidel, both brown, brilliant and beautiful bilingual children attending an urban public charter school in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. When I started showing up at the parent committee meetings at their schools, I quickly realized I was one of the very few parents of color present despite our student population being extremely diverse. I promised to myself I would take action and hopefully–in the process–model what Latinx families hold so dearly as core values: that our children come first, that the future is bright when we fight for our rights and dreams, and that as parents we will do everything and anything to ensure that our heritage and cultures are respected, represented and understood. I have since joined forces with the Missouri Charter Public School Association as Bilingual Director of Advocacy to fight for equity in education and parent voice inclusion. I have helped push legislation through, been a language liaison between schools and low English proficiency families, and have advocated for ELL, immigrant and refugee students and families to make sure they are informed, invited and involved in the education of their children. I’m proud to be part of the National Parents Union and am excited to be on the most important and meaningful path I’ve ever walked; a path that is built on a solid foundation of love for our kids, parent voice and power, and education justice for all children.
Yahaira Lopez is the founder of Autism Sprinter, Inc: a parent led grassroots organization building parents as experts in special education. Yahaira knows the struggles of Autism firsthand—she has twin boys on the Autism Spectrum as well as ADHD. As any parent knows, young boys can be a handful. Young premature twins added even more complications. And having twin boys with different levels of unique challenges adds even more difficulties. As a parent, Yahaira put her career on hold where she turned one of her bedrooms into a home classroom. She began to watch YouTube videos of autism therapies to self-learn different form therapies to support her children’s needs to develop her own parent expertise.
Yahaira has a Master’s degree in Human Service Organizational Management from Springfield College. She also has a Bachelor’s in Social Work from Salem State University. Yahaira has over 15 years of experience working with children, youth and families in many different capacities. She has worked at Boston Public Schools, DCF, and Boston Center for Youth and Families. Yahaira is currently the Affirmative Action Officer for the Randolph Democratic Committee and a former Crisis Specialist for the mobile crisis team. She is also a Boston Public School alumni who immigrated from Puerto Rico at the age of 4.
Yahaira’s work is dedicated to improving the lives of families and their loved ones presented with unique abilities navigating systems that seem impossible to understand. She believes parents are more than just caretakers. Yahaira says “Parents are experts too”.
I am Soangelis Rivera Perez, I am 28 years old. In elementary and middle school I studied at S.U. Dr. Jose Padin from the Cuchillas neighborhood of the town of Corozal, in this school I began my courtship with my current husband. The superior school I attended was the private school of my city. When I turned 19 years old, I married my husband Carlos A. Rivera, with whom I have two sons, one 8 years old and the other 7 years old. I studied Accounting in Puerto Rico and a year ago I became a pre-k teacher in the state of Ohio. Now I assist and introduce parents to be active in the education of their children. Seeing a need for parents to be active in the education of their children, I created the organization Puerto Rico Parent’s Voices, I am the founder and spokesperson of this organization. I am happy to represent Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a Regional Delegate for the National Parents Union.
Kelley Williams-Bolar born July 15, 1970 is a native of Akron, Ohio. As a single mother she
made national headlines in 2011, when she was arrested and served ten days in jail for sending her two daughters outside of their designated school district in Akron. Kelley’s actions were inspired to expand the educational and social opportunities for her children that the existing school could probably not provide. She was granted clemency by then-Governor John Kasich who replied, ” When I first heard about this situation, it seemed to me that the penalty was excessive for the offense. In addition, the penalty could exclude her from certain economic opportunities for the rest of her life.
Currently, Ms. Williams-Bolar is recognized as a national advocate for education equality and
pursues legislative social change that will serve the underrepresented. She is committed to
advancing the voice of the underserved community to gain more equality in public education.
Her twenty-year mission has led to legislative changes throughout the country including guest speaking engagements reliving her unsettling experience on Capitol Hill and the White House. Her story has also been featured on national news programs and talk shows hosted by Dr. Phil and Tom Joyner.
Today her crusade continues to bring awareness to the issues of inequality and injustices that affect lower socio-economic areas. Bolar stays connected to the community by working and speaking at churches, nonprofit organizations, and universities emphasizing the importance of having public schools without outdated geographical borders.
Kelley Williams-Bolar is a graduate of the University of Akron has two daughters Jayda 21 and Kayla 24. She is available for booking to groups of any size.
Shea Mackin, a Zealous parent advocate of school options for over 20 years, believes every student is unique and deserves access to the educational opportunity that fits their needs. She and her husband have four sons who have all used different types of schooling at different times in their lives due to many reasons. Shea believes that parents know their children better than anyone else and need to be trusted to choose the educational option that works for each child individually.
Shea is an active parent leader on both the National Board and the Texas Chapter of the National Coalition for Public School Options and can often be found at the Texas State Capitol meeting with legislators and sharing why school options and the parent voice are important.
Shea is also an advocacy and leadership trainer. Training both youth and adults in communication, servant leadership, and team development.
She is an avid outdoorsman that loves to teach children about the outdoors. Shea enjoys helping youth and families engage in healing and relationship promoting opportunities in the healing outdoor setting.