In Loving Memory of Dr. Roger P. Weissberg

In Loving Memory of Dr. Roger P. Weissberg


Fulfilling A Lifelong Mission: Making Children's Lives Better

It is with deep sadness that we share the passing of our much loved and admired friend and colleague – Dr. Roger P. Weissberg. For more than 25 years, he served as a leader, mentor, and collaborator to education leaders and advocates across the country.

As one of the earliest supporters and leading voices for social and emotional learning (SEL), Dr. Weissberg dedicated his career to improving the lives of children. He was CASEL’s chief knowledge officer, board vice chair, and co-founder, as well as Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. For the past four decades, he inspired scholars and practitioners to innovate, design, implement, and evaluate strategies for working with families, schools, and communities to promote SEL.

Even during his remarkable health challenges, he celebrated the power of SEL to support others in their health journeys.

Roger discusses how schools, families, and communities can work together for kids.

When one is diagnosed with a terminal illness, a key decision involves how to spend your final phase of life. I will finish my life as I have lived it for 69 years – helping to make the world a better place by sharing scholarship and love.”

Celebrating a Lasting Legacy

Social and emotional learning was Roger’s passion, focus, and joy. We will continue to honor and celebrate him and his commitment to SEL throughout all of our work.

Roger shared that the greatest recognition of his professional career was the CASEL Weissberg Scholars Program for Innovators of Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning, launching this fall.

This professional learning community of early career scholars is one of many lasting legacies that will continue to advance Roger’s approach to research and collaboration.

At Roger’s request, his family is requesting any donations to please go to the CASEL Weissberg Scholars program.

Roger's SEL Reading List

2021: Roger’s personal SEL story during his medical journey

2020: Systemic social and emotional learning: Promoting educational success for all preschool to high school students.

2019: Roger’s central research question.

2018: An update on social and emotional learning outcome research.

2017: Promoting positive youth development through school-based social and emotional learning interventions: A meta-analysis of follow-up effects.

2015: Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice.

2011: The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A meta-analysis of school-based universal interventions.

Remembering Roger: We invite you to share your thoughts and remembrances below, or you can send a private note to the CASEL team at

57 Responses
  1. Dear Stephanie, Elizabeth and Ted, I am just so sad that Roger is no longer on the other side of our zoom calls and able to live with the love of family and friends around him.He waged an exceptional fight to live life as fully, meticulously, mindfully and lovingly in these last 3 1/2 years as any human being could. I will forever carry his grace, positivity and humor with me. We met our first day at Brandeis in 1969, Labor Day weekend 52 years ago to the day. He has been my best male friend from that moment on. Roger’s death was in keeping with the way he lived his life; honorable, brave and connected. I will cherish his memory and may his memory be a blessing. Please take good care of yourselves and each other. Sending love to you and your extended family.

  2. May his memory be for a blessing — and it already has! Reading Roger’s Four Key Principles to help patients use SEL to navigate healthcare is excellent advice that can spark much needed change. Roger’s depth of knowledge, commitment to youth, and resourceful connections enabled the work we did together at YMCA of the USA and 4-H to soar. He will be missed and remembered.

  3. I was an undergraduate student at the University of Rochester and I helped Roger with his dissertation. His work had a profound influence on me as I went on to become a research psychologist in the field of early childhood where I’ve focused on early childhood mental health and prevention research. I am very sad to hear the news of his passing and leave his family with the knowledge (as I am sure they already have) he had an enormous impact on so many people.

    Jane Bernzweig PhD Reply
  4. Please accept my condolences for the loss of Roger Weissberg. I feel I know him because of reading his work in the SEL field. My academic master’s thesis was on the theme of SEL and I cited him extensively. I respected and believed in his work.

  5. It was a privilege and an honor to work with Roger at CASEL. He was an inspiration for us consultants as we worked on achieving the mission to establish social and emotional learning as an essential part of education for public school children. He was a scholar and mentor who had a dream and mission of developing children’s skills that enhanced their learning in school and would last a lifetime. He was kind, supportive and treated everyone with respect. The world will miss him as well as his humanity.

  6. So sad to hear of Roger’s passing. A pioneer in the field of SEL and a warm, genuine person whose work has improved so many lives across the world. The summer I spent with Roger at CASEL in 2013 remains one of the highlights of my career. Rest in peace, Roger.

  7. The Atlanta Public School SEL Team would like to express our deepest condolences to Roger’s family. This is a big loss to our learning community. In the spirit of Roger and SEL, we fully commit to carrying on the work of SEL through research and collaboration both within our district and with other educators across the world.

    Rose Prejean-Harris Reply
  8. Here is a small but telling biographical nugget that I hold close to my heart right now. I first met Roger in 1967 when he was introduced to me as my backup first baseman on the Pingry School varsity baseball team. During our intermittent contacts over the next 40 years (including time together as faculty at University of Rochester), we would talk about “the work stuff”, but then we would eventually get to our glory days on the baseball fields of northern NJ. We would consistently come to the same mirthful conclusion — that neither of those two tall, skinny, bespectacled boys was a very good first basemen.

  9. Roger Weissberg gone too soon. He had a good heart. He started his first SEL program at my oldest son school in Calumet Park. He was very nice and would always stop and chat with me in the front office. RIH until we meet again.

  10. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Roger for inspiring the nation to pay attention to social and emotional learning, without wavering, despite the long, slow fight for credibility and understanding. He certainly embodied the values that are at the foundation of all our efforts. We are holding the CASEL family in our hearts. He will be missed…

    Elizabeth Cushing Reply
  11. Roger was my mentor when I was an NIMH postdoctoral research fellow in urban children’s mental health from 1998-2001. These were some of the very early years of CASEL. In fact, when I started, CASEL was literally a storage closet in the department of psychology at UIC! It was an exciting time! I had the opportunity and privilege to work with Roger on several groundbreaking projects, including the first efforts to define SEL competencies, the first national review of SEL programs for the US Department of Education, a monograph on the implementation of SEL programs for the Center for Mental Health Services in SAMHSA, and the grant that resulted in the widely-referenced 2011 meta-analysis that demonstrated the significant benefits that SEL provides students, including its impact on their academic achievement. I learned so much from Roger. He was truly committed to SEL his entire career and I believe he made a difference in the lives of millions of children by the work that he had led. The field of SEL has lost one of its founding fathers.

  12. Roger was a beautiful model for the values he lived for and shared with the world. He was a scholar but even more a great human being, radiating kindness and empathy, and always generous with his knowledge and his support. He was a role model for us all in the grace in which he lived the last three years—still contributing to the field and to people’s wellbeing—even as he faced his own health challenges. He is an inspiration to me in how to live one’s life well. I hope we can all do our best to carry on his good work.

  13. I was privileged to know and work with Dr. Weissberg when I was at Jefferson County Public Schools. He was so supportive of our work with SEL and we learned so much from him and his work. He was truly a kind person. His passing will be a great loss to the SEL community.

  14. Roger Weissberg was someone who was open to collaborating with anyone. He cared about outcomes, not credit. He was kind, generous and full of joy. Blending pragmatism with idealism, he believed all things were doable when people work together. Roger will be greatly missed but greatly remembered in the lives of those who will continue the work.

  15. Stephanie, Elizabeth and Ted, I am so sorry to hear that Roger lost his heroic battle with this disease. You and your huge loss are in my thoughts and I send you my love. As I wrote to Roger in my last note to him, he is a part of me and the way I think, always, as we were together when the ideas about helping children with conflict were forming. I took them in a different direction as a family lawyer and mediator, but knowing his brilliant mind had a large impact on me. I am sure I am just one of many people who feel this way. I hope our families can be connected in one way or another -life has a way of creating those opportunities. I send hugs, Debby

  16. I had not known of Roger’s illness, which saddens me because I would have liked to express my love and respect to him personally. I knew Roger well during his Rochester days. He, along with his beloved Rinky, were great friends during that time and they enriched us in so many ways. It’s wonderful to see how many lives Roger touched in positive ways. I will always treasure his memory.

  17. Roger lived up to his commitment to use his final years to “share scholarship and love” by leading with love. His update notes on his health, like his scholarship, were factual, reflective, and forward-looking. His final farewell note was incredibly calming. Roger’s scholarship and commitment clearly put SEL on the map. I will remember Roger most, however, for his friendship, and for the steadfast way that he used his last years to remind us that learning, living, and dying are social and emotional. Competence +Agency +Identity.+ Connection = Roger.

  18. My deepest condolences and love to Roger’s family and friends. I had the good fortune to be a guest at one of Roger’s graduate courses in 2016 and he was most gracious and supportive of me during my visit. I have been deeply inspired by Roger’s tireless devotion to this field and have met many who have been the beneficiary of his mentoring and guidance toward creating the conditions of compassion and love for staff and children in schools. His legacy to me is the thousands of educators whose lives he has touched who in turn were inspired to touch the lives of their students and families. I hold his memory in my heart and will carry that memory each day on my journey in my work with adults and children across the country. Thank you Roger!

  19. I love to recall Roger’s humor and humble nature. Some months after first meeting Roger when California was getting organized around our SEL efforts, he and I were both at a meeting in DC and it all of a sudden hit me, he was the Weissberg who authored all those incredible and ground-breaking articles about youth development I had been reading and referencing for so many years. I recall his big laugh when I admitted how long it took me to put two and two together. Roger will be missed, and, his contributions will live on forever. Sending love to the whole CASEL team.

  20. As 1974-79 UofR doctoral research team colleagues learning to promote development of individual social competence and resilience-building social settings under Emory Cowen, each in our own way has continued. I have looked over, and up, to Roger ever since; as he evolved from designing social problem solving skills training curricula, mobilizing primary school teachers to implement it, and evaluating it–to scaling up and guiding SEL across multiple systems through CASEL. I remember his energy, intensity, empathy, and a wry smile. Into my personal and professional future, I appreciate his contributions of SEL to healthcare. Condolences to another UR colleague, Stephanie, and family.

  21. I am saddened at the loss of Roger’s physical presence in our work to improve children’s lives. Of course, the legacy he leaves will always remain present. I and our team at the National Center for School Mental Health have learned tremendously from Roger over the years. He taught us not only about the value of attending to social emotional skills and well-being of our educators and learners, but about doing so with a commitment to science and humanity. Roger also recognized the importance of growing and evolving as new ideas emerge, reflected by his embracing of a more culturally inclusive, transformative SEL. Roger, we will carry your torch forward as we do the work of promoting well-being, and we appreciate the wisdom and passion you gifted during your time with us.

  22. What a life! What a blessing! What an inspiration! What a man!

  23. My deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Weissberg. May you find peace in knowing he will live on through his works and the impact he made on this world. Rest well.

  24. So sorry to hear of Rogers passing. He was there leading SEL before it became part of our education lexicon, and in fact helped to make it so. We connected many times during our respective push for SEL and a Whole Child approach to education, and his desire to see education become ‘more than academics’ was always clear and apparent. Thanks Roger – you’ll be missed.

  25. To say that the world is a better and kinder place because of Roger Weissberg and his work is simply not enough. I have spent the past five years of my life relearning skills taught to me as a child and not named. This time around, I had the guidance and energy of the CASEL team that provided a framework and purpose beyond being taught to “be kind and considerate”. Through the guidance, kindness, and feedback provided by the CASEL team and led by Roger, our team was able to create a framework of SEL Skills that provided Pennsylvania’s Pre-K through grade 12 a SEL continuum to guide them through their school years and ready them for adulthood. HOORAY!!
    The thing that I found compelling about Roger beyond his significant contribution to the area of social emotional learning as a pioneer in the field was his continued passion, curiosity, and flexibility to embrace all things SEL.
    When I first met Roger, I KNEW I was in the presence of greatness. He always conveyed his passion and knowledge without needing to say a great deal. I always wanted to talk to him to know more, do more for kids and adults alike. There was a sincere joy in his smile that could make you feel at ease and at peace. I honestly believe that my life is in a better place and my focus on SEL for all is due in great part to Roger Weissberg. I hope to continue the work in memory and honor of him.
    God bless you Roger. Go with God.

  26. I send my deepest condolences to Roger’s family, & friends. I’ve only been practicing social emotional learning through a group for approximately a year now. What an important gift Roger had to share with our world. Thank you from a SEL participant & please know that I’m eternally grateful for this worthwhile experience Roger contributed to our world. May he rest in peace, AMEN.

  27. The YMCA of South Florida would like to express our deepest condolences to Roger’s family.

    Alison Bregman-Rodriguez Reply
  28. It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to the Founder and warrior of our SEL movement in Chicago. I have wonderful memories of Roger especially during our breakfast conversations. During my Principal years at John Spry Community School, we participated in monthly conversations with Roger at UIC about our experiences implementing SEL. I also had the opportunity to visit the University of Cantabria in Spain and work with teachers focusing on SEL recommended by Roger. My ongoing experiences with SEL led me to join his Advisory Board for a period of time and also visit the Austin School District as they embarked on SEL implementation. I will will miss Roger but his leadership and contributions will resonate forever in our lives. I was fortunate to know him. Many blessings to his family.

    Carlos M. Azcoitia Reply
  29. Roger’s influence stretches far and runs deep. He is an icon the the SEL field, and his ideas have taken root in many practices, programs and policies. I met him when I first entered the field of philanthropy, and he was always eager to share his wisdom, and brought warmth to every conversation. He will be missed.

    Sara R. Slaughter Reply
  30. My deepest condolences to families, colleagues and friends. Roger Weissberg´s work has been inspiring and foundational to my work. I continue reading his work again and again, to gain deeper understanding of the vision he shared, based always in evidence. He lives in many initiatives, programs and work making a true difference in the lives of many children, youth and communities. May he rest in peace.

  31. It is sad to know that we have lost a SEL champion to cancer. Hope we continue to support and use SEL as effectively as Dr. Roger used, even during his over 3 years of pain during cancer. My deepest condenses to Rogers family and CASEL staff and community.

  32. I met Dr. Weissberg when he was a professor at Yale University and I was writing for The Hartford Courant about how schools were taking on more parental roles and teaching about navigating real life. I interviewed him about his work developing a k-12 social problem solving program for New Haven Public Schools. He was generous with his time for both my interviews and later when I was contemplating a career change. When I went to graduate school to study school psychology, he offered me a part time job as research assistant and to do some writing. He was genuine, committed to the work of promoting social emotional learning, inspiring and kind. I am so sorry to hear about his loss. He has achieved so much in his work with CASEL. His work will continue have much impact and influence and his commitment to the work is an inspiration. My sympathies to his family and his colleagues.

    Mary Lewis Messier Reply
  33. Roger a pioneer and leader in bringing SEL to the international community will be sadly missed. Roger was a truly authentic man who inspired so many of us and made so much happen. His warmth and sincerity were always visible. I had the privilege of meeting Roger on several occasions, each time resulting in a tangible outcome. Having visited Roger in Chicago and highlighting the need for SEL to be present in the AERA community he took it on board and made it happen. He visited Australia on numerous occasions and was introduced to colleagues and key members of the Educational leadership. They speak of him so warmly and so many of us are saddened by his untimely passing. CASEL is now visible and familiar feature of our educational landscape and SEL is well and truly embedded our educational systems. His contribution is truly magnificent. Thank you Roger.

  34. I cannot even express how sad I am about Roger’s passing. He was a true hero in all of our eyes. What an incredible fight he put up until the very end. As the oldest of the first cousins, it’s so hard to believe we’ve now lost the youngest – it is truly beyond belief for me. This is such a great
    loss for not only Stephanie, Elizabeth and Ted, his immediate family, but also for our extended family, for CASEL, and for all those whose lives he touched with such grace, dignity, and intelligence.
    He was a gem of a person and we were all so lucky to have him in our lives.

  35. Roger was truly an amazing man. I can remember when I used to come to Chicago to see my mom for Thanksgiving and he would come into his office over the break to meet with me and talk all things SEL. He has left such an amazing legacy and his work will continue to move forward. Sending prayers and love.

  36. To Stephanie, family, friends and colleagues,
    I am heartbroken to hear of Roger’s passing. Roger uniquely balanced a brilliant mind and deep passion with an unassuming style that made everyone feel that they had something to contribute. That was my experience when I met Roger and Stephanie my freshman year at the U of R. That early connection and my work with The Primary Mental Health Project has remained key to my personal and professional values. Over the many years since, while our direct contacts were few and far between, I stalked Roger and always knew where he was and what he was up to. It was always something amazing. From Yale to Chicago to CASEL. He was an inspiration, a north star, and a support when it came to making key life decisions. I will miss him as my touchstone and am deeply saddened by his premature departure from this world.
    Sending loving condolences to Stephanie, his children and all who are mourning his loss.

    Wendy Schubin Haber Reply
  37. My sincerest condolences to Roger’s family. Roger inspired me to help teachers impart SEL skills to children when I began working in Chicago schools. I was trained by CASEL in SEL implementation. Roger’s insights and experience motivated me to adopt SEL as my passion. His voice was and is strong for children who need SEL skills and care more now than ever. I would be proud to leave such a legacy.

  38. I am saddened to learn of Roger’s passing. May I extend my condolences to his family, colleagues and everyone at CASEL. You are all fondly remembered. I was indeed privileged to be hosted and mentored by Roger in 2010 when I was a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois in Chicago for a month. Roger’s passion for SEL will always be treasured. May we honour Roger’s SEL legacy through our implementation of SEL not only in our homes, schools and workplaces but also through our collaboration and research.

  39. Sending my love and my heart breaks open in appreciation for Roger, his family, friends and colleagues at this time of his passing. Roger Weissberg inspired, launched and solidified my and the NoVo Foundation’s commitment to social and emotional learning and improving best practices for children and educators nation-wide.

    Roger was a pioneer, supportive champion and dedicated elder in the creation and growth of the Social and Emotional Learning field worldwide and rises to the very top of the leaders I have worked with. He led with equal measure head and deeply impassioned heart. His immense contributions will live on in the daily lives and work of educators, practitioners, researchers and students touched by his dedication and love for the whole child and all that makes us truly human. I will remember him with incredible fondness, continued inspiration and love.

  40. Roger has been a once-in-a-lifetime teacher to me in addition to his friendship and mentorship. I realize that so much of my meaningful work is thanks to his influence. He is and will continue to be sorely missed. I have now for years carried his voice of support, his voice of challenge and important questions and his voice that articulates clarity of mission and focus in my head and I know that gift will live on. I recognize that it takes a wholehearted team of family members to support a three-year battle with cancer so to Stephanie, Elizabeth and Ted, my deep respect goes to you for all that you did to support Roger. I am so sorry for your loss. And to the CASEL team, you truly recognized his many contributions while he was still able to appreciate it and feel that recognition! The in-person SEL Exchange and Founder’s Dinner was unforgettable! Thank you for celebrating him in so many fitting ways. We are all better humans for having experienced the brilliance and kindness of Roger Weissberg.

  41. On behalf of myself and my former Austin ISD SEL team with whom I worked for 10 years in collaboration with CASEL under Roger’s leadership, please accept our sincere condolences. The SEL work in Austin continues, and my commitment as a retired individual is to continue the work in any capacity I am able. Godspeed to Roger, and wishes for the nurturing of many happy memories of him by his family, his colleagues, and his many friends.

  42. It is amazing how one person can impact your life! It was over 16 years ago that I trudged through the snow to find Dr. Roger Weissberg at the University of Illinois in Chicago to finally meet this man and learn more about his research on social and emotional learning. I was just starting up a research based charter school for the University of Texas in Austin and wanted SEL to be core to our academic program. Using CASEL’s research, and the help of key SEL donors, we successfully trained teachers, integrated SEL into all academic programming, developed a full set of elementary SEL standards, and created SEL demonstration sites for the school district and university student teachers. 6 years later, as I was transitioning to be Chief Academic Officer for the Austin School District, Roger shared the idea of a CASEL Collaborating Districts Initiative; inviting Austin to be one of the founding districts. We all know the success that followed! Over the years Roger became my mentor, teacher, and friend. He even showed up in Austin to dance with me at my wedding. Unfortunately we lost touch when I moved to work in Brazil. My heart is heavy to learn of his passing this week. This wonderful man was always kind, patient, and friendly, but also a brilliant scholar, the ultimate diplomat, a visionary, and pioneer in his work to bring SEL to public schools across the country. Because of Roger SEL is no longer novel, but an educational norm. Schools now regularly embrace the whole child with millions of children benefiting. Because of Roger the world is a better place…..and I am a better person. Throughout his life Roger exemplified the Hebrew teaching of “Tikkun Olam”….to heal the world!
    Sending love and healing to his family and his many, many friends who mourn his loss.

    Dr. Ramona S. Trevino Reply
  43. So very sad to hear of Roger’s passing. He was not only a giant in the field but a giant of a human being. Roger’s awareness and attention to those in his life and even in the farther circles of the SEL community always impressed me. In every email, quick hello encounter at a conference or any other interaction, Roger always noted, acknowledged something of value in the relationship at hand. He certainly practiced what he preached, walked the talk. This authenticity will stand as a lifelong memory beyond the vast intellectual and leadership contributions Roger made to advance SEL. On behalf of all of us in OUSD our deepest condolences to Roger’s family and CASEL family. Much love, gratitude, strength and peace.

  44. I have always admired Roger’s passion for Social Emotional Learning. He was a strong leader and such an intelligent man who always had the best interest of children in mind. He will be truly missed but his legacy will live on. Thank you, Roger!

  45. Roger was my undergraduate advisor at Yale in 1989 and 1990. His combination of caring, encouragement, and extremely high expectations for academic thoughtfulness and rigor are unmatched. He set me on my career path, and his work and guidance have always been an important touchstone. Years later when I was presenting my dissertation research at a conference, we ran into each other, and he was once again incredibly encouraging and supportive. Even through staying connected on LinkedIn, Roger has been a role model and mentor to me for 30 years. My heart goes out to his family and loved ones, and may his memory be a comfort. Please know that his legacy lives on in the thousands of students he trained to be architects of a more caring and just world.

  46. I’m so deeply saddened to hear of Roger’s passing away. My first contact with him and his life-changing work in SEL was in 2012, when my organisation The Teacher Foundation set out to undertake research on SEL in India. Our objective was to develop standards for social-emotional learning for Indian School children with age-banded set of learning outcomes. Roger was so generous with his time and resources and patiently answered all our questions via mail and telephone. We even persuaded him to travel to India to give the inaugural key note address at our Schools That Care 2017 Conference held in Bangalore.

    Moreover he very kindly wrote the foreword for ISELF – the booklet of SEL standards that we developed as a culmination of a 7 year research. ( ) I met Roger again in 2019 at CASEL’s SEL Exchange – when I presented our Indian research on SEL. By then he had been diagnosed with cancer – but I felt confident that he would surmount this challenge. He was upbeat and so positive!
    Roger’s was a life well-lived – with purpose and authenticity. He will continue to be the guiding light for generations working in this increasingly critical field of SEL. Heartfelt thanks dear Roger. RIP.

  47. SEL is what it is today thanks to Roger Weissberg, a pioneer who helped establish the organization that guides the growth of research and intervention designed to prevent and reduce high-risk behaviors and promote positive, prosocial ones. This organization, called the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has demonstrated that SEL plays a key role in academic achievement, and helping educators to recognize that social and academic development go hand-in-hand. Roger has had, and will continue to have an important impact on people’s lives, including administrators, teachers, any adults who come in contact with children, and, or course, the children themselves. I believe Roger knew that, and now he rests in peace.

  48. SEL has lost a pioneer who played a key role in making social and emotional learning an important part of the school curriculum, and how parents relate to their children. As co-founder of the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the organization has become the gold standard for recognizing how social and academic development go hand-in-hand. Roger has, and will continue to have a profound impact on the lives of administrators, teachers, parents, and anyone who comes in contact with children – including of course, the children themselves. I believe Roger knew this, and now he rests in peace.

  49. Dear CASEL partners and Weissberg family,

    We wanted to express our deep condolences for your loss.
    Dr. Weissberg was and still is a giant scholar. His amazing work had a tremendous influence on our institute in Israel. Specifically, his work regarding SEL, had a deep impact on our SEL research and the way we practice SEL in the field.
    ‘Avney Rosha’, is the Israeli national institute for Principles training programs and professional development.
    Our R&D department is dealing with SEL theories and practice them a lot during the last years- Dr. Weissberg’s work was an inspiration for us all and shaped our research here in Israel.
    We wish you all the best and will try to do our best in order for his work to continue influencing the education world.

    Avney Rosha Israel

    Gili Leibushor - R&D ,The Israeli Institute for School Leadership Reply
  50. On behalf of our team from Sacramento City, we want to send our deepest condolences to Roger’s family, friends, and colleagues. He was truly one of the great ones and the best embodiment of what it means to be SEL. Roger’s visit to Sac City a few years ago was a highlight for us and helped to inspire our forward momentum with SEL implementation. I will miss his joyful exuberance and deep kindness. We are better because of Roger Weissberg.

  51. My dearest condolences to those who had the joy and honor of working with Roger. I was inspired by his work early in my career and have carried SEL with me always. He will be truly missed.

  52. Roger made an indelible contribution to the field. Few people can say they have changed the world, but he has clearly done so. His research and writing on social-emotional learning and his development of CASEL as a prominent organization are extraordinary achievements. In the end, he transformed our whole conversation about what education is and what it means to be an educated person and an educational institution.

    Over the years I was able to watch Roger build a foundation for SEL on the science of learning, bringing together scientists and educators, laying a strong and credible foundation for the need for SEL and for its integral and inextricable linkage to academic achievement. Initially, Roger and CASEL articulated a path that school districts could follow—that SEL was about putting the puzzle pieces together, about fitting the silos into a framework that enabled them to cohere and that gave social-emotional learning a life of its own in school districts. He went on to create an organization that uniquely brought people together to move SEL forward. Then he brought incredible expertise into the organization in the form of staff, advisors and partners. His talent as a convener, a facilitator, always supporting others and nurturing collective thinking, was a profound gift to all who have been part of those conversations.

    Now CASEL has achieved an extraordinary presence in the field of education, not only as a center for knowledge around SEL, but also as an organization that clearly has demonstrated the power and effectiveness of SEL. Through the Collaborating States Initiative and the Collaborating Districts Initiative and the many toolkits, books, and products that help districts and educators move forward, CASEL built such momentum that SEL is now recognized and accepted as a national focus.

    What has amazed me all along is that he tackled this work from every direction. He devoted countless hours to thoughtful and prolific writing, from grant proposals and scientific articles to encouraging notes to people he cared about who were also working to support the field. Year after year, he shared his core beliefs, innovative ideas, and hard-won wisdom in forums and presentations that reached thousands of educators and other practitioners. As changing circumstances required, he was an architect, a composer, a leader, an artist, a scientist, and a humanist, intertwining his skills in an incredibly powerful and effective way that moved all of us forward.

    I hold Roger in the highest regard as a model of the way we want the world to be. He was a gift to all of us. He will be sorely missed. However, reflecting on who he was as a person and as a leader, he will continue to inspire us to strive to be a better versions of ourselves.

  53. Was there every so great a smile as Roger’s!
    Roger was so very, very kind to me personally and to all those students in schools and universities whose lives were fortunate to touch his. His legacy of making the world a better place for children is an inspiration for us all to keep going with he endeavor.

    Bonnie Leadbeater Reply
  54. Dear Stephanie, Elizabeth and Ted,
    It is with deep sadness that I heard the news of Roger’s passing. From our early days at the U of R and PMHP, Roger was always someone I respected as a friend, leader and role model. As we sat around the table in research meeting at the Center for Community Study, Roger’s ideas about children’s social and emotional skills inspired me to work on behalf of children going through tough times. Roger was a true Mensch- personally and professionally. So many lives are better because of Roger and his passion for his lifetime of work. He lived his life with courage, strength and integrity. He loved you, his family, dearly. I am so deeply sorry for your loss. May his wisdom and love of life be an enduring legacy that makes the world a better place for children and youth to grow and thrive.

    JoAnn Pedro Carroll Reply
  55. I remember the first day I met Roger on my graduate school interview and he was carrying a manila folder with my name on it. From that first conversation on, Roger was an outstanding mentor. He motivated me, pushed me, and supported me with following my passion. He took the time to get to know me and share his personal experiences and how they shaped him. Without him I would not be where I am today. He was a true beacon of SEL and I will always be grateful for having the change to get to know him.

    Courtney Zulauf-McCurdy Reply
  56. To all that loved Roger,

    I was very sad to hear of Roger’s passing. I will miss him very much as I know we will all miss him. My most sincere condolences to his family and as well to all his SEL family.

    At the same time he will clearly live on, as he has built an incredible legacy. The field he poured his heart and soul into is a true gift to all and is definitely a huge step towards a better world, towards Tikkun Olam. Roger has done extremely well in great service to so many!!! I can only imagine all the ripple effects that will extend for eternity in so many lives.

    In addition great leaders build leaders not followers, and Roger has certainly built an army of leaders. The work they will do and inspire will only be a great multiplier of his work. I am honored to be among that army of leaders Roger has built and I promise to do my best to honor his memory moving forward in my work. I am sure all feel the similar inspiration to dedicate their SEL work moving forward.

    Roger’s last email to me was deeply moving and full of gratitude towards a great many people. He and I shared in some good news and a powerful moment of connection I won’t soon forget.

    I am so glad he felt that deep gratitude to others and I know he felt it from others in the deep and beautiful farewell messages he received in his last week.

    As many of you know I am a former coach and Roger and I often had light conversations about his NY Giants.
    So I have two small coaching comments.

    1) Lombardi once said
    “I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour- this greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear- is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victorious”

    In my last email to Roger I said when it is time, lay your head down knowing you have done all of this and more Roger! Victorious!

    2) When the NY Giants when their next Super Bowl (should any of us live that long) we should all have a beer and a toast in Roger’s honor.

    I am so grateful to Roger for being such a wonderful leader, friend, mentor, and mensch.

    Good bless you Roger and may your memory be a blessing.

    Much love,


  57. Dear Stephanie, Ted, and Elizabeth,
    I send you deepest condolences for the passing of your beloved husband and father Roger. He was a great friend, colleague, mentor, and supporter to me over the 33 years that we knew each other. I will be forever in his debt for the support he gave me early in my career as a SEL program developer and then as a consultant to CASEL for 20 years and counting. He was a larger-than-life leader who always sought to elevate others and build coalitions rather than draw attention to himself, and as a result, he changed the world for the better and thousands of people call him friend. I will miss Roger’s smile, his generous and warm heart, and his relentless commitment to making SEL an international movement that would transform education for all educators, students, families, and community members forever. And, of course, no one was more dedicated to scholarship and evaluation than Roger, and, because of that, SEL is rigorously researched and now supported by all levels of organizations necessary to support the movement. Roger was the force behind the SEL movement and the world owes him a debt. To me, in addition to my professional debt, he was my friend and I loved him dearly. I know all of us who knew and loved him in the SEL field will continue to carry on his invaluable legacy with the same unequivocal energy and commitment that he did. I can feel Roger smiling on us all from above saying, “Onward!” as he always did. Please know that I am sending your family all of my love and prayers at this time and always.

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