Springfield schools participate in new leadership initiative

The Leader in Me initiative builds life-skills, creates high-trust culture and sustains academic achievement.

The Springfield City School District is now participating in a worldwide leadership initiative.

The Leader in Me initiative is a leadership model developed for schools that builds confidence and life skills in students, creates a high-trust school culture and lays the foundation for sustained academic achievement beyond the classroom.

Springfield is the only district in the Dayton region to be designated as a “Leader in Me” school.

“Leader in Me creates an environment where each of our students is able to unlock their potential to be a leader, no matter what type of leader that may be,” said Superintendent Bob Hill. “Even the youngest of our Wildcats are learning valuable life skills such as how to be proactive, how to set goals, how to efficiently work together and how to take care of your mental and emotional health as part of their daily curriculum.”

Before participating in the initiative, Springfield educators visited several Leader in Me schools around the country to understand how those schools operate.

“Walking into the building, it felt like a place of learning, it felt like a family, it felt like a welcoming environment where anybody could thrive there,” Deborah Howard, principal at Fulton Elementary School, said about her visit at A.B. Combs in North Carolina. “The hallways were colorful, filled with acknowledgement of the diversity of the building with all the flags, pictures of students work, pictures of the staff and all of their credentials ... It was just a very lively building.”

Aimee Newton, kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Elementary, and Kaitlin Bailey, instructional coach at Hayward Middle School, both visited schools in Findlay, and Chris Robinson, counselor at Snyder Park Elementary, visited Cheviot Elementary in Cincinnati.

“It’s a matter of our students need the opportunity to become leaders. A lot of them don’t see that they have a bright future, and I kind of see this as a tool to give them the opportunity and give teachers an opportunity to show them how they can become positive members of the community,” Robinson said.

The district also recently trained more than 1,000 staff members in “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” which directly translates to the principles of the Leader in Me. The seven habits are Be Proactive, Begin With the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win-Win, Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood, Synergize and Sharpen the Saw.

“I’m exciting because the seven habits are just things that make a good human being, and they’re going to set our kids up to learn very early what it means to own your failures and your success. It’s going to set them up early to understand there’s a purpose behind the things we learn,” said high school principal Lisa Cunningham.

Zach Raines, Schaefer Middle School principal, said the initiative is an opportunity for student growth and will create positive change in the culture of the buildings.

Leader in Me was originally developed by a principal and teachers in North Carolina who wanted to teach their students life skills alongside academics. There are now more than 5,000 Leader in Me schools in all 50 states and in over 50 countries.

About the Author