Joel Packer, Executive Director

The former director of educational policy and practice at the National Education Association, Joel Packer offers our clients his extensive knowledge of the issues and people involved in federal education policy. Joel has successfully represented educators, state universities and college students before Congress and the Administration for more than 34 years. He combines messaging, coalition building and direct advocacy on a broad range of education and budget issues.

Joel was at NEA for 25 years, most recently as director of educational policy and practice. At NEA, he was responsible for key issues, including school readiness, standards, testing and accountability, teaching and learning conditions, educator quality, parent involvement, funding, special education, high school reform, 21st century skills/STEM issues, English Language Learners, voucher programs and charter schools.

Joel also led NEA’s policy and advocacy work on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and was the organization’s lead liaison with the U.S. Department of Education. He previously was a NEA lobbyist, covering issues including higher education, family and medical leave, the Brady bill, school prayer, civil rights, judicial nominations, health care and environmental hazards in schools.

He has testified numerous times before congressional committees and spoken before a broad range of organizations. Joel is quoted in the media regularly, and he has appeared on many radio talk shows.

In 1993 Joel served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of Labor. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Career Highlights:

  • Director of Educational Policy and Practice at the National Education Association
  • Respected and recognized commentator on national education issues
  • Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs in the U.S. Department of Labor

Sunil Mansukhani, Principal

Sunil joined The Raben Group after serving in the Obama Administration as deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office for Civil Rights (OCR).  While at OCR, Sunil led the office’s policy initiatives.  During his tenure, OCR issued guidance in areas such as the consideration of race in school admissions, harassment and bullying, sexual violence, athletics, and equal access for students with disabilities.

Prior to joining ED, Sunil was the first executive director of the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and worked in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where he litigated education-related civil rights cases.

He has also worked as a law firm associate, clerked for a federal district court judge, and was a teaching fellow doing disability-rights work at Georgetown University Law Center.

Sunil’s community service includes serving for nearly a decade on the Board of the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center.  He was named one of the “Best Lawyers Under 40” by the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.

Sunil received his B.A. in Political Science and Economics, summa cum laude, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, his J.D. from Yale Law School, and a LL.M in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center.

Brenda Arredondo-Ratner, Manager of Communications

A steady ship in any turbulent sea, Brenda manages a wide communications portfolio at The Raben Group. She thoughtfully steers clients to more effective tactics and strategies, and has an uncanny ability to know what help is necessary even before the need is articulated by clients or team members. Incredibly well-versed in the latest forms of online communications, you can count on her to navigate the ever-changing landscape of social media and digital communications.

Prior to joining The Raben Group, Brenda served as Press Secretary for the Joint Economic Committee under the chairmanships of Senator Bob P. Casey (D-PA) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). There, Brenda established one of the first verified, official social media platforms in Congress. She also served as Communications Director for Congressman Gene Green (D-TX). As the primary point of contact for the media for Rep. Green’s office, Brenda communicated the messages of the day and handled the execution of all publications.

A native of El Paso, Texas, Brenda holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science, Sociology and Religious studies from Rice University. She is fluent in Spanish.

Career Highlights

  • Press Secretary, U.S. Congress’ Joint Economic Committee
  • Communications Director, Congressman Gene Green (D-TX)
  • Deputy Political Director, Chris Dodd for President
  • Legislative Assistant, Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX)

Broderick D. Johnson, Associate

Broderick worked on Capitol Hill as a staff assistant for the Committee on Education and Labor Investigations staff. In that role, he helped senior staff analyze portions of legislation concerning health insurance reform and food safety in schools. Broderick also assisted investigative counsel with their efforts to collect documents from targeted mining companies during the Committee’s 2010 mine safety investigation. Before his employment on Capitol Hill, Broderick was an intern for Wells Fargo Advisors. He helped financial advisors with client portfolios, investments, and marketing.

A native of California, Broderick graduated from California State University, Fresno with a Bachelor of Science degree in business marketing.


Anais Duran, Associate

Prior to joining CEF, Anais was a public affairs intern at Planned Parenthood of Santa Barbara. During her two-year tenure she assisted the public affairs director with mobilizing reproductive health policy advocates through grassroots organizing, community outreach and fundraising activities. She further honed her advocacy skills through organizing events and rallies on her college campus as co-chair of VOX: Voices for Planned Parenthood.

Anais served as a research assistant for the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education where she surveyed participants and facilitated workshops to examine and evaluate mother-daughter interactions on the topic of sexuality. She is a proud sister of Lambda Theta Nu Sorority Inc., an organization that builds the rising generation of Latina leaders.

A native of Los Angeles County, Anais received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, triple majoring in feminist studies, sociology and Spanish.

When Our Students Succeed, Our Nation Succeeds.

Founded in 1969, the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) and its 80 member organizations have worked toward the common goal of achieving adequate federal support for our nation's education system. Nonpartisan and nonprofit, CEF is America's largest education coalition, reflecting the broad spectrum of the education community.