Who We Are

BERC is a partnership between Morgan State University, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore City Public Schools, and other Maryland universities, along with a wide set of affiliated faculty and researchers. 

RESEARCH BOARD & INSTITUTIONAL LEADS

The group reviews and approves all research projects and products. It maintains a quality-control process, ensuring all work is of high scientific rigor and relevant to the mission and priorities of BERC and City Schools.

CEO-DEANS BOARD

The group facilitates communication about findings from current projects and how the district will implement changes to practice or policy.

Who We Are

BERC Leadership & Staff

Francesca Gamber

Francesca Gamber

Executive Director

Francesca Gamber joined BERC in 2023.  She has extensive experience in Baltimore City Public Schools, having served as principal of Bard High School Early College Baltimore from 2015 to 2022.  She has also worked in nonprofit and higher education programs in college access, alternative teacher preparation, and community art, in addition to adjuncting at area universities in African-American and women’s history.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in Afro-American Studies from Harvard University and a doctorate in Historical Studies from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.

Marcia H. Davis

Marcia H. Davis

Director of Research Operations

Marcia Davis is an associate professor in the School of Education and is a Co-Director of the Center for Social Organization of Schools. She currently teaches courses in mixed methods and evaluation in the Doctor of Education degree program and advises in the PhD degree program. Marcia has a master’s degree in Educational Measurement, Statistics, and Evaluation and a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology. She has conducted research on a range of topics that include supporting struggling adolescent readers, measurement of adolescent reading motivation, and the use of early warning indicators and systems for dropout prevention.

Lieny Jeon

Lieny Jeon

Director of Early Childhood Initiatives

Lieny Jeon is the Jane Batten Bicentennial Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development. She leads the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) which is an early childhood focused research-practice partnership. She received her PhD degree in Human Development and Family Science with a minor in Quantitative Method at Ohio State University. She completed her post-doctoral training in the Department of Defense Child Development Virtual Laboratory School. Her research focuses on early care and education, family characteristics and neighborhood disadvantage that impact children’s lives. 

Fellows

Rachel E. Durham

Rachel E. Durham

Senior Fellow

Rachel E. Durham is an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) and has a background in sociology of education, education policy and demography. Prior to joining NDMU, she spent 11 years as a full-time researcher at BERC, serving as Research Co-Director and Evaluation Director, and representing BERC on a number of citywide workgroups and taskforces. Her research focuses on graduates’ transition to adulthood, differences between career and college readiness, and community schools.

Jay Plasman

Jay Plasman

Fellow

Jay Plasman is an Assistant Professor in Workforce Development and Education program housed in the College of Education and Human Ecology’s Department of Educational Studies at The Ohio State University. Dr. Plasman earned his Ph.D. in Education Policy, Leadership, and Methodology from the University of California Santa Barbara. He earned a M.A. in Education – Research Methods from the University of California Santa Barbara, a M.A. in International Service from Roehampton University in London, England, and a B.A. in American Studies from Carleton College.  His research focuses broadly on education policy as it relates to promoting college and career readiness through career and technical education. His work in CTE examines both traditional outcomes such as high school completion, postsecondary education participation, and labor market benefits as well as non-traditional benefits of career and technical education, including: 21st Century skill development, engagement, and criminal behavior. 

Briana Bostic

Briana Bostic

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Briana Bostic is a post-doctoral fellow at Baltimore Education Research Consortium. Before earning her Ph.D. at The Johns Hopkins School of Education, she was a preschool teacher in Chicago Public Schools. Her research focuses on teachers’ job demands and resources across geographic contexts, as well as children’s social, emotional, and behavioral development in early care and education settings. She is interested in how teachers’ sense of community is related to how they understand themselves, their work, and their students. 

Graduate Research Assistants

Xiangyu Zhao

Xiangyu Zhao

Graduate Research Assistant

Juan Cortes

Juan Cortes

Graduate Research Assistant

Jun Wang

Jun Wang

Graduate Research Assistant

Research Board & Institutional Leads

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 Board Co-Chairs

Christopher Wohn

Director of Research, Baltimore City Public Schools

Vacant

Morgan State University

Marcia H. Davis

Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins University

Institutional Leads

Sean Coleman

Director of Doctoral Program, Bowie State University

Harriet Kargbo

Chairperson and Assistant Professor, Coppin State University

Qi Shi

Associate Professor, Loyola University Maryland

Shondricka Burrell

Assistant Professor, Morgan State University

Jane Arnold Lincove

Associate Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Jessica Shiller

Associate Professor, Towson University

Bess Rose

Statistician, University of Maryland School of Social Work

Rachel Durham

Associate Professor, Notre Dame of Maryland University

Christine Neumerski

Senior Research Fellow and Associate Director, University of Maryland College Park

Julia Burdick-Will

Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University