Who We Are


Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality (TAC-D) project, formerly known as Chapter 405, at the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center), is contracted through the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of Special Education to develop, implement, and assess a process of providing comprehensive technical assistance and professional development trainings to New York State School Districts that are addressing issues of disproportionality.

TAC-D’s work includes building the capacity of TACDregions and districts in understanding the root cause and systemically addressing the disproportionate assignment of various subgroups in special education.  This entails providing professional development trainings, coaching, training follow-ups, materials, and resources.  The resources include a Web-Based Clearinghouse, a Disproportionality Data Repository (DDR), Data Analysis Workbookresearch-based articles, journals, and manuals.


Dr. Pedro Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education and Professor of Teaching and Learning
Executive Director
Principal Investigator

Dr. Patrick Jean-Pierre
Project Director
Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Patrick Jean-Pierre's expertise is in implementing behavioral interventions for at-risk boys. Dr. Jean-Pierre earned his Doctorate of Psychology at Rutgers University in Organizational Psychology with concentrations in Community and Sport Psychology. He received his Master degrees from CUNY Brooklyn College in Industrial Organizational Psychology and at Stony Brook University in Human Resource Management. He holds a B.A. from SBU in Psychology and a minor in International Studies. Dr. Jean-Pierre has been providing technical assistance and professional development on issues related to disproportionality since 2010 as a Metro Center TAC-D associate. Dr. Jean-Pierre has a repertoire of diverse experiences accumulated over the past 14 years in the field of education. Dr. Jean-Pierre's work at the Metro Center has included working with districts to address disproportonality, institute incremental change district-wide and school transformations.

Dr. Jean-Pierre taught middle school special education, general education and gifted classes at Andries Hudde in Brooklyn, NY. At Andries Hudde, Dr. Jean-Pierre was also a teacher leader on school-wide leadership team and the debate team coach. Dr. Jean-Pierre also at Rutgers University, served as a Senior Consultant to the New Jersey Department of Education to provide technical assistance for persistently dangerous schools and worked with counseling departments to develop programs and behavioral supports for students from vulnerable populations as a part of the Rutgers Somerset project. In addition, Dr. Jean-Pierre has provided leadership development at the Wharton School of Executive Education, A.K. Rice Institute for the study of social systems and University of Pennsylvania. Moreover, he has provided therapy to Youth and Families at the Mental Health provider, Supreme Consultants. He currently teaches courses for school guidance counselors in the Education Department at Manhattan College. Dr. Jean-Pierre’s range of professional experiences in the field of education includes teaching, counseling and leadership development, as well as, organizational consulting that leads to systemic change in schools.

Dr. Jean Pierre’s research interests include school transformation, identity and schooling, transformative leadership, inter-group relations and working with multiple school stakeholders, and systemic organizational change in schools.

Zakiyyah Ali
Project Associate                                                                                                                                  

Zakiyyah Ali comes to the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools (Metro Center) after a very recent 14-year commitment to New York City Department of Education students and stakeholders. As an educator of Social Studies, she has taught all of the following: United States History, Government, Global History and Economics. Most recently at Brooklyn, New York’s Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) under the leadership and guidance of the esteemed Mr. Rashid F. Davis, Principal.  She is a Virginia State University FANatic and holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Political Science and a Masters of Science and Masters of Education degrees in Educational Administration and Supervision. She has completed post graduate school studies and participated in various teacher-development programs through the National Endowment of Humanities (NEH), Primary Source, Facing History, and The Gilder Lehrman Institute.  Ms. Ali has worked to develop her teaching practices and those of others as a past curriculum and teacher-development exchange participant with the Melete Foundation in Malawi, Africa.  She is a member of the Shabazz Communications team that produces the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture’s premier educators’ professional development conference: Black History 360º and many of its other educational endeavors and programs.

Ms. Ali's strong affinity for politics and policy work has led her to participate in many local, state, and federal campaigns—the most gratifying being able to work with the DNC during President Obama’s campaign, attend numerous inaugural activities, including the coveted Inaugural Balls during both inaugurations. Oh yeah! She’s met President Obama, too.

Currently, Ms. Ali is an Instructor and Mentor of educational content and pedagogy to Columbia University’s Teachers College Peace Corps Fellows and a very excited member of New York University’s Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality (TAC-D).

Jordan Fullam
Project Associate                                                                                                                                  

Jordan Fullam comes to the Metro Center with deep experience teaching in a variety of contexts - including teaching high school students living in poverty, second language learners, and first-generation college students. Mr. Fullam taught high school English in the East New York and Brownsville sections of Brooklyn, and he currently teaches philosophy and history to undergraduate students at Montclair State University. Mr. Fullam's interdisciplinary research interests span the fields of philosophy and history of education, urban education, community organizing and advocacy, Socratic teaching, culturally responsive teaching, and critical pedagogy. He produced two documentary films about his experience teaching in Brooklyn that explore the use of philosophy and participatory action research to construct transformative learning environments in an urban setting. He continues to explore the use of classroom video as a tool for research and professional development. Mr. Fullam received his BA in English from Montclair State University, MA in social science from the University of Chicago, where he concentrated in philosophy and social thought, and is completing his PhD in urban education at New York University.

Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Associate Director

Dr. María G. Hernández has over 15 years of experience working with recently arrived immigrant Latino children and families, including coordinating various elementary school programs, developing extended summer learning programs for English Language Learners, creating partnerships between schools, community and families, and working with families of young children with developmental delays.  She has also taught pre-school and Kindergarten.  She served on a task force developed to improve access to equitable education and academic achievement for Latino students in Madison, WI.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Her research interests focus on how socio-cultural and contextual factors and family separations related to immigration shape identity, mental health, and educational outcomes for newcomer immigrant Latino children and adolescents.  She teaches program evaluation at NYU.  

Lorraine Lopez-Janove
Senior Project Associate 

Lorraine Lopez earned a Master’s in Public Administration and Bachelor of Science from Marist College in Public Administration. She has worked as a Metro Center TAC-D project associate since September 2010.

Ms. Lopez has over 20 years of experience as an educator. Prior to joining the Metro Center, she served as the Program Manager for the New York State Education Department's (NYSED) Statewide 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Technical Assistant Center, public school teacher, and a securities research analyst. She is a New York State certified Business and Marketing teacher and taught English as a Second Language (ESL), GED, business and computer skills to incarcerated youth and adults. Ms. Lopez is also a former member of the Fallsburg Central School District Board of Education.

Dr. Catherine Voulgarides   
Project Associate                                                                                                                               

Dr. Catherine Voulgarides earned a Master of Science for Teachers (MST) in Special Education from Pace University in New York City, and Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Voulgarides is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Sociology of Education program at NYU. She has been at the Metro Center since 2009 in a variety of roles, including serving as a TAC-D project associate over the past year. (see below for update)

Before joining the Metro Center, Dr. Voulgarides worked for the AmeriCorps Vista project in Phoenix, Arizona, coordinating and developing ESL programs for recent immigrant parents in the Phoenix school system. She taught middle school special education for 4 years in Washington Heights. Her research interests are centered on the intersection between the impact of federal disability legislation and the persistence of racial and ethnic disproportionality. More specifically she is interested in understanding the complexities associated with a policy’s origins, and its intent and mediation in practice as it responds to local contexts, especially when a disparate impact is identified.

Congratulations to Catherine Kramarczuk Voulgarides who was awarded her doctorate in November of 2014. In October she received an Officers' Research Grant from the William T. Grant Foundation entitled "Paradoxes and Inequalities in Special Education and the Law"  with Pedro Noguera, Adai Tefera and Alfredo Artiles.

Beverly Murphy-Smith
Project Coordinator

Beverly has been a dedicated team member of the Metro Center for over six years. Prior to working at the Center, she worked for The John. A. Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing department at the University. She holds an AAS degree in Accounting from Elizabeth Seton College. Beverly assists in all facets of coordinating project workshops to ensure that our staff is well prepared to deliver professional development and technical assistance to school administrators throughout New York State. Her interest is to one day work with parents and teachers to bridge the gap to help children to reach their full potential.

Mailing Address

Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools
Technical Assistance Center on Disproportionality
726 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003