James is responsible for a portfolio of grants and strategic partnerships that focus on teachers and school-based leaders, instructional practices and other investments in K–12 education. Prior to joining the Foundation, he was a classroom teacher for thirteen years, primarily in the Boston Public Schools, before serving as the senior program director for the district's History and Social Studies Department. He is a National Board Certified teacher, served as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow through the U.S. Department of Education and was a member of the inaugural class of the Gates Foundation Teacher Advisory Council.
James has a Masters of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) from Brown University and a B.A. in history from the College of William and Mary.