Inquiry & Learning for Change

Recommendations from Clients

John is an incredibly well-informed systems thinker who listens, cares deeply and has an amazing ability to motivate individuals and teams into purposeful action.  His wisdom and experiences, stories, insights, and good humor, have personally inspired me to become a better leader.

Suzanne Hoffman
CEO BC School Trustees Association Former superintendent of the Vancouver School Board (DLD member)

John is someone you just can’t help but want to learn from and with. He challenges you to think about ideas, systems, and structures differently and does so in a way that helps you to learn more about yourself, as well. He is kind and gentle yet firm in his facilitation, maintaining high expectations and requiring the same from participants; his approach will bring out the best in you and your colleagues. My work with John has transformed my approach to school and district leadership, has helped me identify new areas of growth and potential in my team, and has inspired me to transform my own practice and the practice of those I lead. John’s approach is at once philosophical, relational, and practical; you will come away with new ideas about what education is and should be, and with concrete practices to begin using immediately. Most importantly, you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of yourself and your colleagues.

Liz Homan
Superintendent, Arlington Public Schools, Arlington, Massachusetts

John is a master facilitator, and understands how systems – schools, organizations, society – develop over time better that just about anyone I’ve worked with. He is both sage and student, bringing with him a deep bag of tricks but always eager to learn from the unique circumstances of a given organization. His impact on the organizations he’s worked with has been significant.

Bill Fulton
Civic Canopy, Denver

John is a highly talented conceptual thinker who can take theory and turn it into down-on-the-ground, practical interventions and approaches. He develops highly effective processes for organizations and groups that lead to new ways of accomplishing desired outcomes. He is also a skilled facilitator who can bring a group to a deep understanding of complex ideas and ways to implement for sustainable improvement.

Juli Quinn
Director, Regional System of District and School Support
LA County Office of Education

John is someone who makes everyone feel comfortable and creates a safe environment in which staff can speak openly and freely without being judged. He is extremely skilled at summarizing people’s thoughts and suggestions in a way everyone can comprehend. He is gentle in his approach and in communicating his expectations; however in return he expects nothing less than 100% effort and participation. John seeks to bring out the best in everyone and has the experience and talent to do so. It was an absolute joy and delight to work with John. Project WISE has certainly benefited from John Watkins and would highly recommend him.

Eileen Prosser
Assistant Director
Project WISE, Denver

John worked as a consultant to our agency in 2007-2008. He has helped to bring about major, practice-altering changes in our agency, and has been a highly-valued voice in many of our internal discussions around policy, procedure, mission, vision, and values of the agency. John’s approach to organizational development from a social networking perspective has changed not only the way we do our work, but the way we think about our work as well.

Julia Paul
Program Coordinator, Leadership Team Member
ECDC/African Community Center, Denver

A team-building game at NatureBridge Olympic Peninsula Campus.

John has been an outstanding resource for information, support, facilitation, and project direction [on an extensive ‘empowerment evaluation’ project for our residential Field Science program at Headlands Institute]. His deep experience with evaluation shines through in the rigor of his process and methods, his familiarity with both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and his ability to flex and adapt to the changing needs of our staff and timeframe.

John has taught me volumes about the evaluation process, and is an expert at synthesizing and relating complex information in clear, accessible, and relevant ways. He has been an incredible collaborator and coach. I have been continually impressed by John’s effortless ability to understand our fairly complex organizational model and culture, and to craft tools, meetings, and methods that complement and strengthen our existing efforts.

In addition, John is a calming presence, an exceptional listener, and an excellent communicator. He is attentive, meets deadlines on time (if not early), and is always quick to respond to my phone calls and emails. Perhaps most importantly, he believes in his work, and approaches me and our staff with respect, humility, and a sense of humor. In my opinion, you could not find a better evaluation consultant, coach, or ‘critical friend.’

Melissa Meiris
Director of Education
Headlands Institute