He holds four higher education degrees: Bachelor of Arts from Southern University, a Master of Arts degree and a Juris Doctorate degree from Howard University, and a Master of Laws from George Washington University. Ike Leggett graduated from Southern University in 1967 as a Distinguished Military Graduate. In 1981 he was selected as the Southern University Outstanding Alumni. He finished first in his class from Howard University Law School, graduating Magna Cum Laude. At the time of his Howard Law School graduation, he held the third highest academic average in the law school's history. In 1985 Leggett received the Outstanding Alumni Award from Howard University Law School.
In November 2006, Isiah Leggett was elected to a four-year term as Montgomery County Executive. He is the first African American to be elected to this public office. In November 2014 he was reelected by County voters, with winning over 65% of the ballots cast in each election.
Isiah Leggett was the first African American to be elected to the County Council. Ike Leggett served four terms as an At-Large Member (1986 – 2002). He also served as the Council's President three times (1991, 1998, 1999) and as its Vice-President three times (1990, 1997 and 2002). As a Council Member he also chaired the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee and served on the Education Committee.
His other political service includes chairing the Maryland Democratic Party from December 2002 – December 2004, which involved working with local officials throughout the State of Maryland. Leggett was elected as president of the Maryland Association of Counties in January 2015.
In earlier leadership experience he served as an infantry Captain in the United States Army. His tour of duty in the Vietnam War earned him the Bronze Star Medal, the Vietnam Service, and Vietnam Campaign Medals. As an administrative aide he specialized in small business concerns for Congressman Parren Mitchell of Maryland's 7th Congressional District. He also worked as a Social Security Administration claims examiner and as a staff attorney for the Department of the Navy.
In 1977 Ike Leggett was selected as a White House Fellow, one of a small number of citizens selected from across the country for their exemplary civic, professional and educational achievement. This program assigns the Fellows as staff members to the President of the United States and Members of the Cabinet. After his term as a Fellow, the Board of Directors of the White House Fellows Foundation elected Leggett as its Treasurer.
He served as a Professor of Law at the Howard University Law School from 1975 - 2006. He ran the day-to-day operations of the Law School as its Assistant Dean from 1979 – 1986.
Leggett's community service is extensive and diverse. In 1979 and in 1981 the County Executive appointed him to serve as a member of the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission (now called Human Rights Commission) and then Chairman of the Commission from 1983 – 1986. From 1982 – 1986, he also chaired the Commission’s Hearing Panel on Employment Discrimination.
Leggett has been an active board of directors member of a number of professional, civic and community organizations including: the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, the Maryland College of Art and Design, Leadership Montgomery, the Montgomery Multiple Sclerosis Center, the Montgomery County Chapter of the NAACP, Impact Silver Spring, the Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Tennis Association, the Washington Area Housing Partnership, Montgomery County Boys and Girls Club, Metro PFLAG, and the African American Business Council. He is also a member of the Urban League, the Vietnam Veterans Leadership Forum, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Burtonsville Kiwanis, and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
He has received more than three dozen honors and awards from some of these and a variety of other organizations, including the Leadership Award from the Maryland State Teachers Association, Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Montgomery County Humane Society, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Lung Association, the Good Scout Award from the National Capital Area – Boy Scouts of America, the Advancement of Public Service Responsibility Award from the Maryland Bar Foundation, and the award for Achievement in Environmental & Occupational Health from Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association.
Ike Leggett lives in Burtonsville with his wife, Catherine, who is Vice President for Human Resources of the International City Management Association; ICMA is a non-profit company that assists retired public service employees with financial matters. His daughter, Yaminah, a bio-medical researcher, and her family live in Silver Spring. Ike is a member of the Resurrection Baptist Church of Olney.