John Watson


As Evergreen’s founder and primary researcher, John is responsible for conducting, writing, and presenting research as well as providing testimony on digital learning matters to state boards of education, legislatures, and charter school commissions. He has extensive knowledge and experience based on his two decades working in online learning and education technology. This background has afforded him a wide-reaching network across the spectrum of education professionals, policymakers, and subject matter experts as well as the ability to provide insightful, dimensional analysis and recommendations.  

Prior to starting Evergreen, John had several non-classroom education roles including teaching in a field science school in Colorado (where he met his wife Sharon), leading students on bicycle camping excursions across New England and on an environmental service trip to Belize, and conducting a summer STEM program in Texas.

After earning his MBA and a MS in natural resource policy at the University of Michigan, John went to work for one of the first Learning Management System companies, eCollege, in early 1998. He launched eCollege’s K-12 division, called eClassroom, and managed eClassroom’s research and business development. This experience was the springboard for John’s independent consulting in environmental policy and education which evolved into what Evergreen Education Group is today. 

John is deeply moved by stories of students and teachers who have been positively impacted by technology in classrooms, online courses, and innovative schools. He strives to tell these stories accurately and to clearly explain the challenges inherent with digital learning in order to bring an honest, balanced perspective to Evergreen’s insight and recommendations. His ability to approach research and relationships with consideration for bias and hierarchy makes him a natural connector between information and people.

John has presented and led panel discussions at numerous conferences and convenings. In addition to his research for Evergreen, John writes regularly about various issues related to digital learning and is a contributing author of the Handbook of Research on K-12 Online and Blended Learning. His and Evergreen’s work has been cited in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Education Week, and eSchool News, and he has also appeared on NBC Nightly News. 

John and Sharon divide their time between Colorado and Arizona, where Sharon is a professor at Arizona State University. When they aren't working they like to take advantage of their backyard access to trails and wilderness, often with their dog Cedar. They hike and ski together, and John also bikes and tries to surf, unsuccessfully so far, but we will update this bio once he catches a wave.

connect with john

Email →         LinkedIn →

recent articles by johN