John Katzman

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John Katzman
Born (1959-10-10) October 10, 1959 (age 57)
New York City
Education Birch Wathen School
Alma mater Princeton University
Occupation CEO, The Noodle Companies
Home town New York City
Spouse(s) Alicia Ernst
Children Daniel and Lyra

John Katzman (born October 10, 1959) is best known as an educationalist. He has established a number of companies which assist students with their studies and career choices. He has also authored a number of books on the subject.

Early life[edit]

Katzman was born in New York City, and grew up there with brother Richard, and sister, Julie. Katzman went to Birch Wathen, a small independent school, from kindergarten through high school. He attended Princeton University, where he majored in electrical engineering and computer science (EECS) and then switched to the school of Architecture and Urban Planning. He started tutoring in sophomore year to pay his expenses, and continued through college.


The Princeton Review

Katzman is best known as the founder of The Princeton Review, which initially taught SAT preparation to high-school students in New York City. He started the company in 1981 shortly after leaving college, then partnered with Adam Robinson to develop it, and served as the company’s CEO until 2007. He authored and coauthored a number of books for the company, including Cracking the SAT, a New York Times bestseller, and created products and services in several media.


In 2008, Katzman founded 2U, an educational technology company that partners with leading nonprofit colleges and universities, such as the University of Southern California, Georgetown University, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to offer online degree programs. He served as the company’s CEO until January 2012. Katzman originally self-funded, then raised almost $100 million in venture capital over the next four years.[1] Katzman shifted to Executive Chairman in January 2012, and left in August to help build Noodle. Like The Princeton Review, 2U became a Russell 2000 company.[2]


In 2010, Katzman created The Noodle Companies, a studio with three operating companies; each is an attempt to make the education marketplace more transparent and efficient.[3] helps parents and students find a school, college, tutor, or other education resource. Noodle Partners helps universities use technology to raise capacity and student engagement while lowering costs; its first partner school is Pepperdine. Noodle Markets helps K-12 school districts procure goods and services from a broader set of providers. The Noodle Companies and its subsidiaries have raised over $40 million from venture firms and individuals, including Katzman himself.


Katzman has been deeply involved in the founding of several other education companies, including Eat New York, an early software-based restaurant guide,[4] and Student Advantage. He is an angel investor in two dozen education technology ventures, and serves on the boards or advisory boards of several others including the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and Renaissance Learning.

Issue advocacy[edit]

Despite being the founder of a business based on the preparation of students for a wide range of standardized tests, Katzman is an outspoken critic of the modern preoccupation with standardized testing. He has argued that many tests are no better indicator of achievement in the relevant fields than grades and scores on other tests (such as the Advanced Placement exams). He has also been outspoken in his opposition to the Common Core and tests based on it. He demands better outcomes from for-profit education providers. He often speaks on topics related to online education and the measurement of academic achievement.[5]

Katzman and his wife pledged $1.5 million to help fund the Katzman/Ernst Chair in Educational Entrepreneurship, Technology and Innovation, an endowed chair in the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education to train and certify teachers for urban schools.[6]

Selected writing and speaking[edit]

  • Class Action: How to Create Accountability, Innovation, and Excellence in American Schools[7]
  • MSNBC: I taught America to beat the SAT. That’s how I know it’s useless.[8]
  • Washington Post: Relax. Getting into college has actually gotten easier.[9]
  • EdSurge: Technology and Just-in-Time Learning[10]
  • New England Journal of Higher Education: A Better SAT Starts with a Better College Board[11]
  • Education Next: Putting the Schools in Charge[12]
  • TedX Beacon Street: Hacking College Admissions[13]
  • The Atlantic: Would Shakespeare Get Into Swarthmore?[14]


Katzman lives in New York; he is married to Alicia Ernst;[15] together, they have a son (Daniel) and a daughter (Lyra).


  1. ^ "$95.9 Million in 6 Rounds from 8 Investors". Retrieved March 31, 2014
  2. ^ "2U, Inc. Added to the Russell 2000 and 3000 Indexes". Acquire Media. Retrieved June 30, 2014
  3. ^ "Noodle Companies". Retrieved 2016-06-04. 
  4. ^ Hoban, Phoebe (April 8, 1985). "New York Magazine". The Well-Tempered Computer. 
  5. ^ Katzman, John. "The Underachieving Education Business". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "New Partnership for Urban Education". USC News. University of Southern California. Retrieved 7 July 2015. 
  7. ^ Katzman, John (1995). Class Action: How to Create Accountability, Innovation, and Excellence in American Schools. Villard Books. ISBN 0679434305. 
  8. ^ Katzman, John. "I taught America to beat the SAT. That's how I know it's useless.". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  9. ^ Katzman, John. "Relax. Getting Into College Has Actually Gotten Easier.". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Katzman, John. "Technology and Just-in-Time Learning". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  11. ^ Katzman, John. "A Better SAT Starts with a Better College Board". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  12. ^ Katzman, John. "Putting the Schools in Charge". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  13. ^ Katzman, John. "Hacking College Admissions". Retrieved 14 December 2014. 
  14. ^ Katzman, John. "Would Shakespeare Get Into Swarthmore?". 
  15. ^ "WEDDINGS; John Katzman and Alicia Ernst". New York Times. Retrieved 4 July 2015. 

External links[edit]