When John was 10-years-old, he walked down the hallways of Stuarts Draft Middle School to find his locker and classes on what he believed was a normal "back-to-school" night. However, the moment he walked through the door frame of Room 30, he met his sixth grade science teacher, Ms. Cross. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to be a teacher - not just any teacher, but a teacher as influential as Ms. Cross. That moment in Room 30 where he met Ms. Cross still fuels his drive as a teacher. Yet, his single greatest accomplishment, if asked, is his family. If you have ever worked with John via Zoom, WebEx, Google Meets, or Teams, you have almost certainly met each member of his immediate family through their impromptu cameo appearances. John lives in Waynesboro, Virginia with his wife Danielle, a fellow educator, their two children, Tessa and Jackson, and Labrador retrievers, Bella and Dukes. Oh, and Tessa and Jackson affectionately call Ms. Cross, Grandma Sally.
Outside of being a husband and father, John is a bestselling author and has worked with schools, classrooms, and teachers all over the world on the translation and application of the science of learning to the classroom, school, and home environments, and what works best in teaching and learning. He has in Australia, Canada, Egypt, England, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, South Korea, Thailand and all across the United States.
He is an Associate Professor of Education in the College of Education. In 2015, John was awarded the inaugural Sarah Miller Luck Endowed Professorship. In 2021, John was honored with an Outstanding Faculty Award from the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia. At James Madison University, he continues to work with pre‑service teachers and graduate students, as well as actively pursues his research interests including the science of learning, the design and measurement of classroom environments that promote student engagement and learning.
The work of John and his colleagues has been presented to the United States Congress, Virginia Senate, at the United States Department of Education as well as the Office of Science and Technology Policy at The White House.
John began his career in Augusta County, Virginia, teaching mathematics and science to a wide‑range of students. Since then, John has authored multiple articles, reports, book chapters, and eleven books including Captivate, Activate, and Invigorate the Student Brain in Science and Math, Grades 6 - 12 (Corwin Press, 2013), From Snorkelers to Scuba Divers (Corwin Press, 2018), both with Ann Miller, and Visible Learning for Science, with Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie (Corwin Press, 2018). He recently finished a book focusing on clarity, Clarity for Learning, with Kara Vandas (Corwin Press, 2019), as well as Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 6 - 8, and Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 9 - 12 both with Doug Fisher, Joseph Assof, Sara Moore, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie (Corwin, 2019), all with Corwin Press. Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades K - 2 and Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 3 - 5 with the same author team plus Kateri Thunder hit the shelves in March of 2019. He is also the past co-editor of the Teacher Educator’s Journal.
In 2019, John and his colleagues developed a new framework for developing, implementing, and sustaining professional learning communities: PLC+. Focusing on sustained change in teacher practice, the PLC+ framework builds capacity within teacher-led teams to maximize student learning. The books, PLC+ Better Decisions and Greater Impact by Design, The PLC+ Playbook, Grades K - 12, The PLC+ Activator’s Guide will support this work in schools and classrooms.
John and his colleagues have also focused a lot of attention on the process of implementation – taking evidence-based practices and moving them from intention to implementation, potential to impact through a series of on-your-feet-guides around PLCs,Visible Learning, Visible Teaching, and the SOLO Taxonomy. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, John and his colleagues developed the Distance Learning Playbook for College and University Instruction (SAGE). In November of 2020, Student Learning Communities (ASCD) was released, followed by Great Teaching by Design (Corwin Press), The Success Criteria Playbook (Corwin), an educational textbook on teaching science in the inclusive early childhood classroom, Inclusive Teaching in the Early Childhood Science Classroom (Routledge), and A Quick Guide to Simultaneous, Hybrid, & Blended Learning (Corwin).
Continuing his collaborative work with colleagues on what works best in teaching and learning, How Tutoring Works, Visible Learning in Early Childhood, and How Learning Works, How Feedback Works, and The Early Childhood Playbook were recently released by Corwin Press.