John Watkins


Inquiry & Learning for Change

John is the Director of Inquiry & Learning for Change, serving change agents in public education everywhere. Over the past five years, he also co-led the Deeper Learning Dozen, a community of practice of school district senior leadership teams across North America committed to equitable deeper learning for every young person and adult. John’s work supports innovative leadership that accelerates emergence; team development that brings together diverse perspectives for creative and equitable liberatory design; and positive, reflective organizational transformation. His approach is dynamic, responsive, and strongly grounded in substantive theory with clear, practical applications. His first career was as an Outward Bound instructor, resulting in a huge love of experiential learning. John, along with his wife, a high school English teacher in Oakland, CA, is an avid backpacker and long distance trekker. Last summer they trekked 250 miles in the French Pyrenees. He also loves building rock walls, gardening, locavore cooking and wine, fine single malt Scotches, and practicing yoga. He believes in slowing school down, rewilding the learning ecosystem, and recreating learning as a joyful, humane, healthy, and sustaining experience, serving its original very American purpose to support a thriving and equitable democracy by enabling critical and creative thinking, effective communication, and collective civic agency, on the part of our future generations of citizens.