HighEdWeb is thrilled to announce actor, director and educator LeVar Burton (@levarburton) as our HighEdWeb 2016 Annual Conference closing keynote speaker.
Mr. Burton launched his acting career while still a student at the University of Southern California. Cast in the groundbreaking role of Kunta Kinte in the landmark television series Roots, he achieved further global acclaim as Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge in the iconic Star Trek: The Next Generation. But it has been his role as host and executive producer of the beloved PBS children’s series Reading Rainbow of which he is most. Airing from 1983 to 2009, it was not only one of the longest-running children’s television shows in history, but also one of the most acclaimed, earning over 200 awards including multiple Emmys and a Peabody.
Always committed to improving children’s education through innovative uses of storytelling, in 2012 Burton launched RRKidz, a digital educational publishing company, co-founded with business partner Mark Wolfe. Reading Rainbow was reimagined to combine today’s forms of media and technology with the goal of inspiring a new generation of children to love reading. The all-new Reading Rainbow is a digital reading service filled with over 500 children’s fiction and non-fiction books, newly produced video field trips and new content added every week. With over 16 million books and videos enjoyed since launch, Reading Rainbow is the number one educational app on iTunes and recipient of numerous awards.
Most recently, Burton turned to Kickstarter to bring Reading Rainbow to “Every Child, Everywhere” — especially to classrooms in need. The campaign met its 35-day goal of raising $1 million in less than 11 hours, and became the most popular Kickstarter campaign ever with over 105,000 backers and a final tally of over $6.4 million.
The honored recipient of 12 Emmy Awards, a Grammy and five NAACP Awards, Burton has demonstrated in his career that he can do it all — acting, directing, producing, writing and speaking. We are thrilled to welcome him to HighEdWeb 2016.