Founder and President
Jon Saphier is the Founder and President of Research for Better Teaching, Inc., a professional development organization dedicated since 1979 to improving classroom teaching and school leadership throughout the United States and internationally. For the past 40 years, he and his RBT colleagues have taught in-depth professional development programs centered on the knowledge base of teaching to educators in more than 200 school districts each year in the United States and other countries.
Dr. Saphier is passionate about and actively engaged in public policy efforts to close the nation’s achievement gaps. His expert opinion is widely recognized and often requested by organizations and news outlets such as National Public Radio and The Washington Post. In 2001, he was appointed a panel member for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences to study the best methods for transferring well-established educational research knowledge to classroom practice. In 2010 RBT’s Skillful Teacher model was adopted by the country of Singapore as their national program for training beginning teachers.
He is much in demand for inspirational keynotes and conference presentations across the country. Sloan-Kettering’s annual IDEA Institutes voted him “Best of the Best” for their first 25-year history. Dr. Saphier presents each year at Ron Ferguson’s Achievement Gap Initiative Conference at Harvard. In addition to teaching the courses RBT offers and consulting to districts on organizational development, Dr. Saphier has done on-site coaching to over 1,000 principals on instructional leadership. In recent years he has led large-scale district improvement projects forging working alliances between superintendents, union leaders, and school boards in school districts such as Montgomery County, Maryland, Eugene, Oregon, and Brockton, Revere, and Attleboro in Massachusetts.
Dr. Saphier has abachelors from Amherst College, and a masters degree from the London School of Economics. He was a combat medic in Vietnam. After the war he entered teaching and holds degrees in early childhood from Univ. of Mass. and a doctorate from Boston University. He has been a high school history teacher and has taught fifth grade, second grade, first grade, and kindergarten. He has been an administrator and a staff developer in an urban K-8 school.
Dr. Saphier is an author and co-author of eight books, including The Skillful Teacher, 7th Edition, High-Expectations Teaching, How to Make Supervision and Evaluation Really Work, How to Bring Vision to School Improvement, How to Make Decisions That Stay Made, On Common Ground, and John Adams' Promise, as well as numerous articles. The Skillful Teacher has sold over a half-million copies and is referred to as 'the bible' of teaching in hundreds of districts around the country. It is used as a text in 60 university teacher preparation programs, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Dartmouth, Brown, Middlebury and Williams.