We believe our children’s education should be based on scholarship and facts, and should nurture their development into the happy, resilient, free-thinking, educated citizens every democracy needs. Our classrooms should include rigorous instruction in history, civics, literature, math, the sciences, and the ideas and values that enrich our country.

Yet in recent years activists have targeted public, private, and charter schools across the country with a campaign to impose ideologically driven curriculum with a concerning and often divisive emphasis on students’ group identities: race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and gender. Many school districts and private schools have spent large sums of money on these efforts and many more are preparing to do the same.

This new educational mission is not only at war with basic American values, but also with childhood. Couched in vague slogans about “social justice,” the new curriculum divides our children into “oppressor” and “oppressed” groups. To one, it teaches guilt and shame. To the other, grievance and resentment. More broadly, throughout the school, it sows distrust, unhappiness, confusion, and fear.

Schools are adopting this illiberal mission at the behest of a narrow group of activists, union leaders and high-priced consultants— without the consent of the students, parents, and communities whose interests the schools are supposed to serve. Those who dissent risk being called ugly names and shamed into silence.

This must stop. If you are disturbed by these destructive practices in our schools, you are not alone. If you want our schools to return to teaching our children all that they need to become the best version of themselves, please join us. We come from diverse races, religions, economic backgrounds, and political orientations — but we all agree that it is time to join together and stop this madness in our schools.


Our Team

Nicole Neily


Nicole Neily is the President & Founder of Parents Defending Education. She is also the founder of Speech First, a national campus free speech organization, and has worked at the Independent Women’s Forum and the Cato Institute. She is the mother of two school age children.

Caroline Moore

Vice President

Caroline Moore is the Vice President of Parents Defending Education. She has worked for several non-profits including the Federalist Society and the Mercatus Center. Additionally, she has worked for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the White House, and the Republican Attorneys General Association.

Erika Sanzi

Director of Outreach

Erika Sanzi is the Director of Outreach at Parents Defending Education. She is a former educator and elected school board member and currently serves on the board of advisors for The Boys Initiative. She is the mother of three teenage sons.

Marissa Fallon

Marissa Fallon

Director of Advocacy

Marissa Fallon is the Director of Advocacy for Parents Defending Education. She is a founding member of Coalition for TJ, a group of parents and community members in Northern Virginia and has had leadership roles in her Parent Teacher Association. She has over two decades experience as a business owner and researcher. She is the mother of two sons.

Rachel Hannabass

Rachel Metz

Director of Operations

Rachel is the Director of Operations at Parents Defending Education. She has worked for the Institute for Justice and the Leadership Institute. Prior to working in the nonprofit sector, Rachel spent time working in the education system.

Andrew Kozusko

Director of Development

Andrew Kozusko is the Director of Development for Parents Defending Education. He has been working in development since 2018 after graduating from LaGrange College with his Masters in Philanthropy and Development.

Michele Exner

Senior Advisor

Michele Exner is a Senior Advisor at Parents Defending Education. Prior to joining PDE, she spent nearly 15 years managing press and communications at various levels of government and the private sector, including at the Office of the Speaker of the House, the U.S. Senate, CBS News and various Department of Defense organizations. Michele began her career serving as an active-duty Marine officer. She is the mother to a son and daughter who currently attend elementary school.

Scarlen Valderaz

Advocacy Advisor

Scarlen is an Advocacy Advisor for Parents Defending Education. She has a background in telecommunications and business ownership. She is the mother of four children.

Alex Nester

Investigative Fellow

Alex Nester is an Investigative Fellow for Parents Defending Education. Before joining Parents Defending Education, Alex reported on education at the Washington Free Beacon and produced podcasts for Nebulous Media.

Paul Runko

Digital Communications Specialist

Paul Runko is the Digital Communications Specialist for Parents Defending Education. Paul has many years of experience in media as well as in education. He is the father of one.

Casey Ryan

Investigative Reporter

Casey Ryan is an Investigative Reporter for Parents Defending Education. He has several years of experience working for nonprofits and campaigns as a writer and researcher. He has written for several statewide and national candidates in recent elections.

Rhyen Staley


Rhyen Staley is a Researcher for Parents Defending Education. He has fifteen years of experience as a public and private school teacher and coach at the middle, high school and college level. He is also the father of two school aged children.

Corrinne Carlson

Project Manager

Corrinne Carlson is a Project Manager at Parents Defending Education. She graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a BA in the Program of Liberal Studies.

Isabella Rossini

Development Assistant

Isabella Rossini is the Development Assistant at Parents Defending Education. Previously she was a Regional Field Coordinator for the Leadership Institute. Isabella graduated from Benedictine College with her degree in Communications with an emphasis in Political Science.

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