John Rakestraw received his PhD in Religious Studies from Southern Methodist University. While still a graduate student, he taught both part- and full-time in several different colleges and universities. After graduate school, John taught for ten years at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia, where he experimented with a range of teaching strategies and worked collaboratively to develop and implement new courses and curricular programs. He then worked as a research fellow in Vanderbilt University's Learning Technology Center, where he investigated the implications for college pedagogy of recent research in how people learn. In 2000, he moved to Vanderbilt's Center for Teaching where he was Assistant Director for Technology. In 2004, he then worked at Georgetown University's Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, where he was Director of Curriculum, Assessment, and Pedagogical Practice.
John came to Boston College from Georgetown in September 2014. He spends much of his free time these days riding a bicycle and taking photos (usually not at the same time). He lives in West Roxbury with his wife, Mary Katherine Morn. Their son, Caleb, is a student at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.