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Ruthie L. Payno-Simmons, Ph.D.

Associate Director, MAP Center
Indiana University-Purdue University
Headshot: Dr. Payno-Simmons

Dr. Payno-Simmons is the Associate Director at the Midwest and Plains Equity Assistance Center (MAP Center). In this role, Dr. Payno-Simmons leads the coordination, design, and delivery of universal, targeted, and systemic equity-focused professional learning experiences and technical assistance to state and local agencies throughout the MAP Center's thirteen-state Region. Additionally, Dr. Payno-Simmons oversees the request for assistance and intake process for the MAP Center.  

Dr. Payno-Simmons has over twenty-eight years of experience in Pre K-12 & early college teaching and administration and technical assistance provision at all educational levels. She is nationally known for collaborating across national organizations to provide equity-focused technical assistance to state and local educational agencies as they work to address significant academic and discipline inequities involving minoritized students. This work includes serving as an Implementation Partner to the National Technical Assistance Center on PBIS (PBIS TA Center). Dr. Payno-Simmons led PBIS Equity Pilot in Michigan at Michigan's MTSS TA Center, where participating partners significantly decreased their race-based discipline gap. Her work with the PBIS TA Center also involves collaboration with Center partners nationwide to plan and address critical issues for the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.

Dr. Payno-Simmons received the Association for Positive Behavior Supports Tedd Carr Practitioner Award in 2019. Her research is grounded in curriculum, instruction, educational policy, and culturally sustaining systems of support. Dr. Payno-Simmons has authored and contributed to publications and practice guides on centering equity in school discipline systems and environments supportive of positive student social and emotional behavior and mental health, discussing race and other important current events with students, and centering student voices and experiences in curriculum and instruction.  

Dr. Payno-Simmons holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and History, A Master of Art in Curriculum and Teaching, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education from Michigan State University.

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