About The COVID-19 Policy Update

After three years, we officially sunset the Covid-19 Policy Update in June 2023. We’ll publish occasional updates in the future.

Responding to Covid involved the immense challenge of making sense of confusing and often conflicting information in our effort to be safe in the moment, plan for the future, and better understand rapidly changing events in the world. Yet I wonder if an even greater and more complex challenge lies ahead in our efforts to ensure that we do not fail this generation of young people who have borne the brunt of these unprecedented times. We have important and urgent work to do moving forward, and I look forward to working with you toward that end.

I want to express my appreciation for you and the important work you’ve led over these last three years. It’s been a privilege to learn from and support you through these updates.


Welcome to the COVID-19 Policy Update - a digest of important stories, research, and resources to help leaders better understand the rapidly unfolding events related to the coronavirus and the ongoing recovery efforts.

This began not as a newsletter, but rather a Slack channel within a philanthropy that eventually became an email shared with a funder collaborative of more than 40 foundations. Others asked to be added to the list, which led us to migrate it over to Substack in October 2021. Subscribers now include leaders in the White House, the U.S. Department of Education, state Covid directors, state school chiefs, philanthropies, investors, school leaders, and entrepreneurs.

What you can expect:  An email twice a week that covers important stories, research, and policy developments to help you stay on top of what’s happening with COVID-19 and the ongoing learning recovery efforts. Occasionally, my dogs will make an appearance. All of this is a lot to process, so we have a fun or inspirational link at the end of every email.

I also have a weekly version you can subscribe to over at The 74.

My hope is that these provide the information you need to better understand the emerging trends, challenges, and opportunities surfacing during the pandemic and the important recovery work we have ahead.

About John

John’s experience spans government, philanthropy, and venture capital, focusing on a wide variety of issues such as innovation policy, AI, immigration, education, and the future of work. He currently serves as a fellow at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and a non-resident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, in addition to advising numerous philanthropies and venture investors.

As a domestic policy advisor in the White House, John coordinated the Bush Administration's efforts during the credit crisis to stabilize $200 billion in student loans and served as a negotiator for the reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.  As Deputy Policy Director to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, he contributed to the development of the first National Pandemic Strategy and the President's package of immigration reforms.

As the nation's second Director of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, John co-chaired the interagency Advanced Education Technology Initiative, which emphasized the R&D of cutting-edge technologies in education and training. While working for Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, John spearheaded several technology and education initiatives, including a statewide broadband mapping project.

John co-founded Whiteboard Advisors, a strategic advisory firm, was a senior program officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and served as the Vice President of Policy for Governor Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education.

John is a fellow and moderator in the Aspen Global Leadership Network and an alumnus of the American Council on Germany Young Leaders Program. In 2022 and 2023, the Washingtonian named him as one of Washington's Most Influential People in policy. He currently serves on the board of directors for the Federation of American Scientists, Zearn Math, U.S. Digital Response, and Scholas Ocurrentes. He also sits on advisory boards for the Tech Talent Project, and the Covid Collaborative. He has served as an advisor on four presidential campaigns.

Subscribe to COVID-19 Policy Update

An occasional briefing on COVID-19 developments for those working in education or public policy read by the White House, U.S. Department or Education, state Covid directors, philanthropies, and more.


John advises investors and entreprenrus in climate, AI, edu & health. He's a fellow at AEI and CZI. Alum: White House, Commerce. & Education. Boards: FAS, Digital Response, Zearn Math. Advises Trustible.ai, Tech Talent, Covid Collaborative