John Jong-Hyun Kim

Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

John J-H Kim is a Senior Lecturer and William Henry Bloomberg Fellow in the Social Enterprise Initiative of the General Management Group of the Harvard Business School. Mr. Kim teaches the second year elective course Entrepreneurship in Education Reform.

Mr. Kim also serves as the Co-Chair and a core faculty member of the Public Education Leadership Project (PELP), a joint project of HBS and HGSE. The goal of this joint initiative is to make a substantial difference in public education by improving the management and leadership competencies and practices of public education leaders.

Mr. Kim continues to serve as the founder and CEO of The District Management Council (DMC), an organization that helps school districts achieve higher performance by helping them with management practices to improve student outcomes, operational efficiency and financial effectiveness. Mr. Kim has advised numerous school districts around the country with efforts related to strategic planning, human capital, and stakeholder engagement. He is also the founding editor of The District Management Journal, a publication which provides actionable insights related to leading and managing public school districts.

Previously, Mr. Kim founded and led several firms in the education sector including a school management company that served more than 20,000 students in ten states. Additionally, he was a management consultant with McKinsey & Company and also served as an Executive Vice President of Rakuten, Inc (JASDAQ: 4755), a global Internet services company.

Mr. Kim currently serves on several non-profit and corporate boards including the National Governing Board of BELL, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged youths, the Board of Advisors of the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) at Phillips Academy, Andover, and was also on the founding board of the Boston Collegiate Charter School.

Mr. Kim received an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.


Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. DaVita HealthCare Partners and the Denver Public Schools: Creating Connections

    John J-H Kim and Christine S. An

    In 2011, DaVita HealthCare Partners (DaVita)—a Fortune 500 healthcare services company specializing in kidney dialysis services—and the Denver Public Schools (DPS)—the largest school district in Colorado—forged a plan to incorporate greater intentional focus on culture and leadership within the district. A few months into the 2013-2014 school year, DaVita "Mayor" Kent Thiry, DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg, and members of their teams gather to review and assess the overall progress, impact, and challenges of their unique corporate-community partnership focused on leadership development and culture over the past two years. With the partnership showing great promise, Thiry and his team wonder how they might create new partnerships and grow their social impact as a company without detracting from DaVita's own growth and expansion and the needs of its own "teammates." The case gives students the opportunity to explore how a mission-driven Fortune 500 company can leverage its own resources and HR expertise to partner with non-corporate entities to create social value and support success in American public education.

    Keywords: corporate-community partnerships; k-12; school districts; DaVita; Kent Thiry; Tom Boasberg; Denver Public Schools; Wisdom Team; DaVita Way; Creating Connections; Social Enterpreise; leadership development; community impact; education reform; public schools; culture; Leadership Development; Partners and Partnerships; Social Entrepreneurship; Business Education; Medical Specialties; Business and Community Relations; Culture; Health Industry; Colorado;


    Kim, John J-H, and Christine S. An. "DaVita HealthCare Partners and the Denver Public Schools: Creating Connections." Harvard Business School Case 315-047, December 2014. View Details
  2. School of One: Reimagining How Students Learn (B)

    John J-H Kim and Christine S. An

    This supplements the "A" case. Joel Rose and Chris Rush decide to spin-off from School of One to found New Classrooms Innovation Partners. Rose and Rush navigate the strategic complexities of the spin-off process to make their mission-driven product a reality. The case explores the co-founders' decision to pursue either a for-profit or nonprofit structure and their strategy for scaling their product, Teach to One.

    Keywords: education technology; ed tech; classroom innovation; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; patents; Spin-offs; non-profit management; scaling ed tech products; strategy;


    Kim, John J-H, and Christine S. An. "School of One: Reimagining How Students Learn (B)." Harvard Business School Supplement 314-115, March 2014. View Details
  3. Technology Innovations in K-12 Education

    John J-H Kim, Roniesha Copeland and Christine S. An

    This background note on technology innovations in education offers a market overview of the edtech sector and discusses trends, common challenges, and criticisms encountered in exploring edtech ventures. The note introduces the promise of educational technology as it directly affects classroom instruction and discusses the common growth drivers (e.g., school accountability, 21st century skills, and advanced technological innovations) and theories of change (e.g., personalization, access, and productivity) for edtech products and services. Furthermore, the note defines the conditions necessary for the success of innovations in educational technology in the classroom including adequate teacher training, funding, and technology infrastructure. The note also highlights several challenges, risks, and criticisms common to the edtech sector, such as the evolving role of teachers, issues of student privacy and data security, implementation challenges, and the limits of education technology's impact in the classroom.


    Kim, John J-H, Roniesha Copeland, and Christine S. An. "Technology Innovations in K-12 Education." Harvard Business School Technical Note 314-123, March 2014. View Details
  4. Ensina!

    John J-H Kim, Alejandra Meraz Velasco and Christine An

    In 2011, a group of passionate social entrepreneurs in Rio de Janeiro, with the support and encouragement of several prominent philanthropists and members of government, launch Ensina!, seizing Brazil's unprecedented economic growth and national commitment to education. The new independent educational non-profit is to be part of Teach For All, a global network of organizations inspired by Teach For America. While Ensina! is quickly able to raise the initial capital, recruit graduates from top colleges, garner positive press, and demonstrate early success in increasing student performance, the organization runs into a number of operational challenges in implementing its programs in schools. After pursuing various avenues to address obstacles for Ensina!'s execution found in navigating national education policy and funding, forging partnerships with municipal and state governments, confronting widespread cultural perspectives on teaching as a profession, and managing relationships with local school administrators and staff, Ensina!'s staff and board, despite some success and demonstrated impact, decide to suspend the program in January. Following this decision, Fabio Campos, the most recent CEO of Ensina!, contemplates the possibility of relauching a restructured Ensina! to help bring about enduring, transformative reform to Brazil's public education system, which he believes to be crucial to the future success of Brazil as a nation. The case presents students the opportunity to explore conditions necessary for successful collaborations between non-profit organizations and the government, grapple with the challenges of long-term large-scale performance improvement in public education, and examine Ensina!'s goals in public education reform and different operational strategies for organizations like Ensina! to consider implementing in the future.

    Keywords: Social Entrepreneurship; Teaching; Problems and Challenges; Business and Government Relations; Education Industry; Brazil;


    Kim, John J-H, Alejandra Meraz Velasco, and Christine An. "Ensina!" Harvard Business School Case 413-121, June 2013. View Details
  5. Career Pathways, Performance Pay, and Peer-review Promotion in Baltimore City Public Schools

    Susan Moore Johnson, John J-H Kim, Geoff Marietta, S. Elisabeth Faller and James Noonan

    In the fall of 2012, Dr. Andres Alonso had much to celebrate about in his five-year tenure as CEO of Baltimore City Public Schools, including the approval and implementation of an innovative teachers' contract with a jointly-governed four-tier career pathway that tied teacher pay and promotion to performance and peer review. Nonetheless, Alonso was concerned about the future of the contract and the reforms it introduced. It took two votes before the teachers ratified the contract in November 2010. Since then, implementation had been laborious, complicated, and uncertain. Many questions would have to be answered in the coming months. Was the district making the transition to a contract that rewarded "engagement" in a career pathway rather than passive reliance on steps and lanes? Were the processes for earning Achievement Units and progressing through the pathways rigorous enough so that the contract wouldn't default to the past practice where everyone moves up and earns more money? Were the joint governance structures established to direct and manage the career pathways, pay system, and peer-review process working effectively? How did the new system support the district's underlying theory of change? This is a Public Education Leadership Project (PELP) case study.

    Keywords: labor management; public education; PELP; union; compensation; collaboration; Public Education Leadership Project; Education Industry; United States;


    Johnson, Susan Moore, John J-H Kim, Geoff Marietta, S. Elisabeth Faller, and James Noonan. "Career Pathways, Performance Pay, and Peer-review Promotion in Baltimore City Public Schools." Harvard Business Publishing Case, 2013. (Case No. PEL-071.) View Details