John is a key builder of PBLWorks (Buck Institute for Education), having served as editor in chief, director of publications, and director of product development. He co-developed the model for Gold Standard PBL that is the foundation of PBLWorks’ products and services, and oversees the quality of all its written materials and website content.
John is the author of several books and articles for K-12 teachers, school leaders, and parents, and writes and edits the PBL Blog. He wrote widely-used rubrics for 21st century success skills, and problem-based curriculum units for high school government and economics. He contributes to PBLWorks’ research, online project library, and in-person and online professional development programs, including the flagship PBL 101 workshop and workbook. He is a member of the PBLWorks racial equity action team.
John contributed to the Project Based Learning Handbook (2003), and co-authored and edited the books in BIE's PBL Toolkit Series: PBL Starter Kit (2009), PBL in the Elementary Grades (2011), and PBL for 21st Century Success (2013). In 2015 he co-authored the best-selling ASCD book Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning, and in 2018 contributed to Project Based Teaching, chosen as an ASCD Member Book. John has also consulted on PBL curriculum development for the National Academy Foundation, the Oracle Education Foundation, and Pearson Education.
Prior to joining the Buck Institute for Education in 2001, John was a senior program associate at WestEd, where he was a consultant to middle schools and high schools in the use of standards and assessments. For ten years John taught high school social studies and English. He co-founded a restructured small high school, and was a school coach for the Coalition of Essential Schools and a member of its National School Reform Faculty. He is passionate about the need to change our education system to make school more engaging and meaningful for students, and more rewarding for teachers.
John received M.A. degrees in educational technology and in educational administration from San Francisco State University, and a B.A. in political science from Stanford University. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, cooking, rock concerts, reading about politics, and backpacking in the High Sierra.