Forging Student Leadership Skills in Schools


For many educators, encouraging students to learn and utilize leadership skills are qualities many aim to instill. The process can be challenging but having help facilitating this task makes the process more attainable and enjoyable, and that is the foundation of Leader in Me, a school-based educational program that helps students form proven leadership habits.

Leader in Me’s mission is to “unleash the greatness in students, educators, and school communities everywhere” — a noble cause they’re actively working toward.

For instance, at a Colorado educational conference recently, yet another school was converted into a believer of the program. Educators came equipped with the desire to learn how to implement new teaching techniques, and the group from Mattoon, Illinois, did not expect to find such a valuable resource at the learning event. During the visit, Mattoon District’s Christy Hild, assistant superintendent of student services, was blown away by the leadership qualities she observed in a young student, and Hild became curious.

“I was so shocked and impressed by this talented child that I thought, ‘Wow, I wonder what this teacher is doing differently,’ and it was Leader in Me,” said Hild.

Upon returning to Mattoon, the educators knew Leader in Me would excel their teaching, and the district adopted the basics. According to Jessica Closson, district facilitator of Leader in Me in Mattoon, the students quickly demonstrated how much the program transformed their school.

“We are starting to see some amazing results in just a short time of doing the seven habits of Leader in Me,” Closson said.

Closson particularly noted that Mattoon High School students are not only learning about leadership, but also showcasing their leadership skills by accepting roles that call for a leader. Hild added that Leader in Me in schools will even assist educators in identifying other undiscovered aspects of teaching.

“We want learning to be a happy experience… discovery of who they are as leaders, but also discovery of content and then creating something we don’t know we need yet,” she said.


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