Weadé James

Senior Director, K-12 Education Policy

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Weadé James

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Weadé James is the senior director for K-12 Education Policy at American Progress. Dr. James brings a wealth of expertise to this role, having led initiatives to accelerate student learning in K-12 and higher education. Her research and expertise advances equity for historically marginalized groups, particularly students with disabilities, low-income students, and students and educators of color.

Prior to joining American Progress, Dr. James was the vice president of organizational advancement at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, where she led development, research, and strategic partnerships to advance the organization’s mission to elevate education and educator preparation. She was instrumental in diversifying the association’s revenue to embark on new projects, including initiatives to improve the teacher shortage, integrate global competencies within teacher education programs, and establish guidelines and policy recommendations for equitable teacher performance assessments. Dr. James also led and expanded the long-standing Holmes Scholars Program, a national program to diversify the professoriate through mentorship and support to graduate students of color pursuing degrees in education.

Dr. James began her career as an educational advocate, where she provided individualized assistance to families of children with disabilities from birth until age 22—serving as an intermediary between families, agencies, and Washington, D.C., public schools. She often testified at public oversight hearings and provided recommendations to improve policy and practice. Dr. James earned her Ph.D. in education, with an emphasis on special education and disability policy, from Virginia Commonwealth University. She’s also an alumnus of Howard University and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, where she earned a master’s in educational administration and policy and a Bachelor of Arts in child psychology and African American studies, respectively.

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