Reginald Lee Weaver was born on August 13, 1939 in Danville, Illinois to Mary Alice Buchanan and Carl Weaver. Weaver graduated from Danville High School in 1957 and earned his B.A. degree in special education for the physically challenged at Illinois State University in 1961. He received his Masters degree from Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois in 1971.
He served as president of his local in Harvey, Ill., president of the NEA affiliate in Illinois and is now serving his second term as president of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association (NEA) – the nation’s largest professional employee organization.
Weaver also serves as vice president of Education International, a 394-member organization representing nearly 30 million teachers and education workers in 171 countries.
He travels nationally and internationally, working tirelessly as an ambassador for public education and advocating for the basic right of every student to attend a great public school. In 2006, Weaver made a landmark visit to the Lincoln Cathedral in England – home to a very rare copy of the Magna Carta – that was met with widespread acclaim. In recognition of his commitment to democracy and fundamental freedoms, the Cathedral unveiled a stone column in Weaver’s name.
He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates recognizing his “world-class leadership in the efforts to educate children,” the most recent from Lincoln University in the United Kingdom.
North Carolina's Shaw University awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Weaver in 2006. He was also conferred with an honorary Doctor of Public Service by South Carolina State University at its 2007 Spring Commencement.
A recognized expert on public education issues, Weaver has testified before Congress on federal education policy and frequently provides a critical voice on public education for national publications, including The New York Times, USA Today and The Washington Post, along with decision-maker publications, such as Congressional Quarterly, Education Week, and Education Daily. Weaver regularly appears on such news programs as CNN Headline News, C-Span’s Washington Journal, and ABC World News Tonight. He has been invited to discuss pressing education issues on National Public Radio’s News & Notes with Ed Gordon, CNN Radio Network, AP Radio Network and others.
His commitment and contributions to public education haven’t gone unnoticed. He has been named one of Ebony magazine’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans for his national influence.
Weaver was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 2, 2007.