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NYU Metro Center Welcomes New Deputy Executive Director of Research and Evaluation


The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools proudly introduces its first-ever Deputy Executive Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Leigh S. McCallen. In this newly created Metro Center role, Dr. McCallen will conduct and support rigorous original research and evaluation related to educational equity, inclusive of providing individualized grant support to faculty and researchers from conception to closeout. Reporting to NYU Metro Center’s Executive Director Dr. Fabienne Doucet, the incoming Deputy Executive Director of Research and Evaluation (DED of R&E) will be tasked with fostering intellectual community and thought partnerships for faculty affiliates, as well as facilitating mentorship across vertical, lateral, and diagonal relationships. Dr. Fabienne Doucet affirms, 

Fabienne Doucet

I could not be more thrilled that Dr. McCallen will be joining us at NYU Metro Center. She brings the expertise, skills, and aptitude we need for this role, and she is a warm and dynamic leader.”

As an applied researcher and evaluator who has been a long-time admirer of NYU Metro Center’s work and mission, Dr. Leigh S. McCallen brings over 10 years of experience both developing and directing projects to generate actionable insights about programs and policies that contribute to the success of young people historically underserved by the education system.

Image captures a headshot of Dr. Leigh McCallen. She is sports classes and and black colored top.

The newly selected DED of R&E will be responsible for overseeing Metro’s administrative, programmatic, and strategic plans; fortunately, NYU Metro Center’s national search yielded a candidate who could be considered a double threat. Dr. Leigh McCallen possesses extensive experience as both a research designer and evaluator. As an evaluator, Dr. McCallen has successfully collaborated with counseling practitioners to create theory of change models that guide data collection and program development across four intervention areas; leading the design of implementation rubrics that are used by program coaches and trainers to drive site-based planning and progress monitoring with over 80 high schools, community based organizations (CBOs), and college partners in New York City each year; and developing leading indicator and outcome metrics for reporting on impact to local and national funders. 

In her role as a research project designer, Dr. McCallen has implemented research projects that draw on stakeholder partnerships to connect on-the-ground perspectives to key policy issues. Dr. McCallen co-led a multi-year ethnographic project at seven program partner high schools to document shifts in school infrastructure and culture amidst a citywide “college for all” policy initiative. In another instance, Dr. McCallen configured a participatory action research project in which she worked with immigrant-origin college students at the City University of New York (CUNY) over two  years to create a guide to the college application process for undocumented youth, which has been widely disseminated and used by students, schools, and CBOs across NYC. 

In welcoming Dr. McCallen to NYU Metro Center, our research and technical assistance center has selected an accomplished and knowledgeable leader in research. As impressive, Dr. McCallen has expressed a commitment throughout her professional career to accentuate the equity-promoting potential of educational research and evaluation, and to mentor student-researchers and practitioner-collaborators. The Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools welcomes Dr. McCallen with open arms.