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 regions 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.

Dr. Maria G. Hernandez

Associate Project 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.  

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.

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).

Lorraine Lopez-Janove

Senior Project Associate

Lorraine Lopez-Janove, has served as an educator for over 20 years. Prior to joining the Metro staff, Ms. Lopez-Janove worked as the New York Statewide Program Manager for the New York State Education Department's (NYSED) 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Technical Assistant Center (TAC). Ms Lopez-Janove was involved in the strategic planning of the 21st CCLC TAC, provided professional development, technical assistance and support to New York State Education Department’s 7 regional centers. She also oversaw more than 160 federally-funded, state-administered 21st CCLC’s throughout NYS on issues including, but not limited to, after-school administration, budgeting, funding, evaluation and grant/contract review. Ms. Lopez-Janove worked closely with the US Department of Education, NYSED, Statewide Afterschool Networks, NYS School Districts and community-based organizations providing leadership, expertise, technical assistance and professional development and ongoing support in reference to their 21st CCLC programs. During her tenure at Orange-Ulster BOCES, Ms. Lopez-Janove taught computer skills, ESL and GED prep to incarcerated youth and adults and character education to K-6 graders at Fallsburg Central School District. Prior to teaching, Ms. Lopez-Janove was employed at Goldman Sachs as a securities research analyst.

Ms. Lopez-Janove earned both her MPA and BS degrees from Marist College. She is an active member of the NY Upstate Community where she lives. Ms. Lopez-Janove currently serves as the Director of the Sullivan County Human Rights Commission. She formerly served as a Fallsburg CSD Board of Education trustee and was on the executive staff of ‘Comunidad Hispana Abriendo Puertas’ (Hispanic Community Opening Doors).

Ms. Lopez-Janove works to provide educational opportunity to all students by working closely with school leadership and teacher teams. She enjoys participating in the improvement of systems, policies and practices in support of student achievement. Her work supports and drives instructional excellence and significant achievement gains for all NYS students. Ms. Lopez-Janove has worked as a Metro Center TAC-D Senior Project Associate since September 2010.


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