The Research Board is chaired by the City Schools research director and the research co-directors from founding universities, Morgan State and Johns Hopkins. Membership includes one faculty member from each university, referred to as Institutional Leads. Research board Institutional Leads serve as liaisons between any interested faculty members at their institution and BERC. The Research Board reviews and approves all research projects and products. This board collaboratively maintains a quality-control process to ensure that all work generated through BERC is of high scientific rigor and relevant to the mission and priorities of BERC and City Schools. The Research Board meets monthly to ensure timely approval of projects.

Research Co-Directors

Whitney Johnson (Ph.D., Michigan State University, Curriculum and Instruction) is associate professor at Morgan State University and has served as a teacher educator for the past 19 years. She has focused on developing high quality mathematics teachers for urban schools. Her recent research focuses on the role embodied cognition plays in developing mathematical understanding. She has a strong interest in exploring ways to develop the talent of minority students in STEM areas.

Marc L. Stein (PhD, Leadership and Policy Studies, Vanderbilt University) is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Stein is also a Faculty Affiliate with the Center for Social Organization of Schools (CSOS). Dr. Stein has conducted quasi-experimental and mixed-methods research on school choice that has investigated the instructional conditions of charter public schools, parent involvement in charter public schools, and the effect of choice on student sorting by race and academic achievement. Other areas of research interest include neighborhood and school effects on student academic achievement, chronic absenteeism, and summer learning loss. Currently Stein is working on an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded randomized control trial that is investigating the efficacy of a ninth grade Early Warning Indicator intervention in sample of high schools in a southern state, projects investigating summer learning loss in Baltimore City and a project investigating the relationship between commuting to school using public transportation and student tardiness and absenteeism.

Christopher Wohn (M.D., University of Maryland) is the Director of Research Services in the Office of Achievement and Accountability in Baltimore City Public Schools. Dr. Wohn leads the District’s research team in analyzing school and student data, evaluating new educational programs and interventions, conducting school effectiveness reviews, and designing systems for fair evaluations of teachers and schools. Dr. Wohn was a teacher for three years in a Baltimore City High School where he taught chemistry, physics, and the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) biomedical sciences curriculum. He received his teaching certificate through the Baltimore City Teaching Residency (BCTR) program in 2013. He has served as a data science consultant for several companies and organizations in the DMV region with a specialty in predictive analytics and system optimization. His research experience includes both his work in education at Baltimore City Public Schools and also as a research fellow for the Gene-Exercise Research Study (GERS) at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Institutional Leads

Dr. Harriet Kargbo, Coppin State University

Dr. Sean T. Coleman, Bowie State University

Dr. Rob Helfenbein is Associate Dean of the School of Education and Professor of Curriculum Studies at Loyola University Maryland and has published numerous pieces about contemporary education theory in journals such as Curriculum Inquiry, the Journal of Curriculum Theorizing,The Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, Educational StudiesThe Urban Review, and co-edited the books Unsettling Beliefs: Teaching Theory to Teachers (2008), Ethics and International Curriculum Work: The Challenges of Culture and Context(2012), and Deterritorializing/Reterritorializing: Critical Geographies of Education Reform (2017). His current research interests include curriculum theorizing in urban contexts, cultural studies of education, and the impact of globalization on the lived experience of schools.

Dr. Jessica T. Shiller is an associate professor of education in the Department of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development at Towson University in Maryland. Her teaching and research interests include urban education, school reform, culturally relevant school practices, critical race theory and methods, and civic education. At Towson, she is an active member of the BTU (Baltimore-Towson Partnership) council, and is a recent grant recipient that has provided funds for the development of university-community partnerships with Baltimore City’s community schools. Outside of the university, she is a works in an advisory capacity for many local organizations including the Teachers Democracy Project, the Baltimore Algebra Project, the Center for Innovation in Urban Education at Loyola Maryland, and the Baltimore Educational Research Consortium. She is a recent recipient of the Alan G. Penczek award for her work as a faculty member in the area service learning. Her most recent scholarship focuses on urban school reform including school closings and community school initiatives in Baltimore and is most recently the author of “The Disposability of Baltimore’s Black Communities: A Participatory Action Research Project on the Impact of School Closings” which appeared in the March issue of The Urban Review and is the co-author of  “Baltimore community schools: A multifaceted approach to developing relationships” which appeared in the November issue of Phi Delta Kappan. She is also the author of a recent book, The New Reality for Suburban Schools (Peter Lang, 2015) which examines the challenges that suburban schools have when faced with a diversifying student demographics. Prior to coming to Towson, she worked in New York City as a high school teacher in city schools, a coach to new teachers in Bronx high schools, and a teacher educator at the City University of New York.

Seema D. Iyer (PhD, Urban & Regional Planning (2003) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI) is associate director and research assistant professor for the Jacob France Institute (JFI) in the University of Baltimore‘s Merrick School of Business. Dr. Iyer oversees the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance at JFI, which is also part of the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership of sites that provide longitudinal, community based data on demographics, housing, crime, education and sustainability. Dr. Iyer is a recognized expert on strategic planning in community development; recent projects include the McElderry Park Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Plan, Regional Housing Plan for the Opportunity Collaborative, an evaluation of Baltimore City’s Vacants to Value program and verification of work for the Baltimore Energy Initiative. Her research focuses on the role of data sharing in collaborative public innovation processes. She has overseen large-scale research projects using integrated data systems on the relationship between energy assistance benefits to households and weatherization programs in the home. From 2016-2017, she served as a consultant to the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Information Technology on the city’s Open Data program. Academically, Dr. Iyer is the director of the undergraduate program in the Real Estate & Economic Development at the University of Baltimore. Prior to joining UB, Dr. Iyer served as Chief of Research & Strategic Planning for Baltimore City’s Planning Department and was responsible for data and policy analysis, geographic information systems services and population forecasting. She spearheaded the city’s 2010 Census Complete Count Campaign as well as other planning processes such as the 2009 Food Policy Task Force and the 2008 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Jane Arnold Lincove is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research focuses on the implementation and outcomes of market-based education reforms such as school choice, charter schools, decentralization, and incentive pay. Dr. Lincove holds research affiliations with the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University, the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center at the University of Maryland, and the IES-funded National Center for Research on Educational Access and Choice. Her research has been published in Economics of Education, Education Researcher, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Education Finance and Policy, American Economic Review, and other outlets. She has developed and conducted research with longitudinal student databases in Texas, Louisiana, and Maryland, and currently serves on the Research and Policy Advisory Board for the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Center.  Dr. Lincove received her Masters in Public Policy from UCLA and PhD in Public Policy from the University of Southern California. Her current research interests include economics of school choice, teacher compensation, and policies to improve college access. 

Laura M. Stapleton is Associate Dean for Research, Innovation, and Partnerships at University of Maryland, College Park.  She is also a Professor in Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation (EDMS) in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology and served as the Associate Director of the Research Branch of the Maryland State Longitudinal Data System Center from 2013-2018.  She joined the faculty of the college in Fall 2011 after being on the faculty in Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and in Educational Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin. Her research focuses on models to analyze administrative data and survey data obtained under complex sampling designs, multilevel latent variable models, and tests of mediation within a multilevel framework. She currently serves as Associate Editor of AERA Open and each year teaches as part of the faculty of the National Center for Education Research funded Summer Research Training Institute on Cluster Randomized Trials at Northwestern University. Prior to earning her Ph.D. in Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation, she was an economist at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and, subsequently, conducted educational research at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and as Associate Director of institutional research at the University of Maryland. 

Dr. Terry Shaw is an Associate Professor and the Director of The Ruth Young Center at the University of Maryland, School of Social Work and he oversees the dual degree (MSW/MPH) program between Social Work and Public Health in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. He has over two decades of experience leveraging administrative data systems to improve child and family health policy and practice.  Dr. Shaw’s interests are related to the pathways into and through child serving systems, focusing on opportunities for state systems to collaborate, understand service overlaps, improve overall service delivery and address the multiple needs of the children and families involved with these systems.  Over his research career, he has examined child, youth and family physical and mental health; surveillance of psychotropic medication use; pathways to permanency; educational access and success; interactions between the court and child welfare services, and child maltreatment prevention.  Oversee the dual degree between Social Work and Public Health in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, School of Medicine.