The secret to success and motivation that the CEO’s of many of the country’s top corporations depend on are now making a difference in San Antonio classrooms.
It’s called the Leader in Me, and San Antonio’s North East ISD has 14 schools implementing the program, five additional schools begin the process each year. The Leader in Me brings the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into the classroom, hallways, cafeteria, staff and parent meetings, and onto the playground.

The Leader in Me (LiM) is more than a program. It is a way of teaching and learning that is described by Sean Covey, author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make, and the 7 Habits of Happy Kids as “an educational movement that will impact millions of people.” Sean is the son of world renowned leadership authority Dr. Stephen R. Covey, whose best-selling books include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and Principle Centered Leadership.

Currently, there are 500 LiM schools around the world. Fourteen of these are in North East ISD, the largest number of LiM schools in any district anywhere. And soon, that number will be even higher as five new schools begin the process in June by having a Lighthouse Team, comprised of 5-6 staff members from each school, attend 7 Habits training and certification. The Lighthouse Team will train the staff at their school at the beginning of the school year and use the 7 habits throughout the year as they work together, with students and with parents. The following year the staff will teach the 7 habits to the students. Full implementation takes from two and one half to three years. But the results are well worth the time and effort. By the end of the 2011-2012 school year there will be 33 schools and more than 1,400 staff and 7,300 students trained in the 7 habits.

The Leader in Me training involves the entire learning and teaching community. For the past 11 years NEISD administrators from the superintendent to principals and directors have received training in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and other Covey leadership development courses including Leadership: Great Leaders, Great Teams, Great Results; and The 4 Disciplines of Execution.

All of the training has been provided by outgoing superintendent, Dr. Richard A. Middleton, Interim Superintendent, Dr. Brian Gottardy, and Pat Sanford, Director of Leadership Development. The direct benefits of the Leader in Me program for students, educators, and the community are vital for achieving success in a 21st century world:

Learning Today. Leading Tomorrow
Today’s changing world has a whole new set of rules. The LiM gives students the tools to develop essential life skills and characteristics they will need for success in the 21st century.

We only get one chance to prepare our students for a future that none of us can possibly predict. What are we going to do with that one chance?
The world has entered an era of the most profound and challenging change in human history. In addition, studies have identified what is referred to as a “skills” – a difference in how students are prepared for the workforce and the skills and character employers are seeking to match the demands of today’s global economy.

What if our children could be better prepared to meet the future challenges of our ever-changing world?

At Wilderness Oak, quotes have been added to the walls of the school to display
the school’s commitment to leadership.

The Leader in Me process helps develop the essential life skills and characteristics students need in order to thrive in the 21st century.
The Leader in Me process is designed to be integrated into a school’s core curriculum and everyday language so that it isn’t “one more thing” teachers and administrators have to do. It becomes part of the culture, gaining momentum and producing improved results year after year, benefiting schools and students in the following ways:
• Develops students who have the skills and self-confidence to succeed as leaders in the 21st century.
• Decreases discipline referrals
• Teaches and develops character and leadership through existing core curriculum.
• Improves academic achievement
• Raises levels of accountability and engagement among both parents and staff.

Common Language

The Leader in Me process also helps to create a common language within a school, built on proven principle-based leadership skills found in Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:

Habit 1: Be Proactive – You’re in Charge
Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind – Have a Plan
Habit 3: Put First Things First – Work First, Then Play
Habit 4: Think Win-Win – Everyone Can Win
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood – Listen Before You Talk
Habit 6: Synergize – Together Is Better
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw – Balance Feels Best

NEISD schools that are implementing The Leader in Me, with their principal, are:
In Year 2 of Implementation
Hardy Oak – Lola Folkes
Oak Meadow – Lynn Dockery
Olmos – Leesha Dalton
Steubing Ranch – Laura Holson
Wilderness Oak – Jane Jensen
Completing Year 1 Implementation
Harmony Hills – Alan Rochkus
Hidden Forest – Tammy Van Cleave
Redland Oaks – Dr. Mary Longloy
Stone Oak – Kristen Ray
Wetmore – Wilbert Morgan
Tuscany Heights – Terri Chidgey

In Year 1 of Implementation
Canyon Ridge – Laura Huggins
Clear Spring – Adam Schwab
El Dorado – Susan Peery
Schools beginning the process in June are:
Castle Hills – Eric Wicker
Dellview – Martha Staufert
Huebner – Terri Newman
Northern Hills – Brent Brummet
Oak Grove – Oteka Gibson

Beginning in 2012, North East will begin implementing the Leader in Me on middle school campuses so that students from LiM elementary schools are able to continue the process. For additional information, please contact Pat Sanford, Director of Leadership Development, NEISD,, 210-407-0364; or the principal at the school.