PERRY -- As students walk into Tucker Elementary School each day, they pass two signs. One reads “Our Mission: To develop leaders one child at a time,” and the other, “Our Vision: To become a nationally recognized leadership school.”
The school celebrated having accomplished those goals Thursday, as it became the first Georgia school named a The Leader in Me Lighthouse School.
“You are truly not just a Leader in Me School, you are a beacon, and that’s why we call the beacon a Lighthouse school,” Lonnie Moore, senior training consultant for Franklin Covey, the global consulting and training company that awarded the recognition.
Other schools will now look to Tucker as a example of what it means to be a leadership school, he told Tucker faculty members and Houston County school officials before unveiling a banner highlighting the recognition at an after-school celebration.
Tucker faculty said the process to become a Lighthouse school has changed lives of staff members and families, but most importantly, students.
“When children are given a leadership job, it changes their self image,” said Tucker counselor Melissa Thompson. “It’s about empowering students. It’s really a culture that grows once you implement it.”
The process has been three years in the making, modeled after “The Leader in Me: How Schools and Parents Around the World are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time,” by Stephen Covey, which helps schools begin teaching leadership principles using the author’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
More than 700 schools worldwide are in the Leader in Me Process, including two other Middle Georgia schools, Morningside Elementary in Perry and St. Peter Claver School in Macon.
In order to obtain Lighthouse status, schools must implement the Leader in Me process, and then pass a review, which evaluates the school’s performance against nine criteria -- ranging from teachers integrating leadership language into school curriculum and daily instruction to students being provided with meaningful student leadership roles and responsibilities.
“On every point they just nailed it, and we don’t see that everywhere,” Moore said.
Tucker Elementary joins 20 other schools around the world, including one in Indonesia and six in Canada, in being named Lighthouse schools.
Tucker hosts an annual Leadership Day to showcase student leaders and their work, and has implemented daily student leadership roles, which have grown from passing out papers in class to public speaking and greeting guests.
“They’re ready and they’re eager,” said principal Kim Halstead. “It’s just a matter of the adults stepping back and letting them lead.”
To contact writer Caryn Grant, call 256-9751.