The Leader in Me is a whole-school transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer—it improves the performance of all other programs. Based on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, The Leader in Me equips students with the self-confidence and skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century economy. What would be possible if your school were filled with students who were responsible, who showed initiative, who were creative, who knew how to set goals and meet them, who got along with people of various backgrounds and cultures, and who could resolve conflicts and solve problems?
This is reality at Leader in Me schools across the country. It started in 1999 when struggling school A.B. Combs Elementary was asked to reinvent itself or be shut down. When Principal Muriel Summers asked parents and business leaders what they wanted in their schools, she heard the following:
- Initiative and Self-Direction
- Cross-Cultural Skills
- Problem Solving
This feedback represents what most people believe — that our schools should not merely be focused on improving test scores, but should provide opportunities for students to develop their full potential. As Muriel searched for answers, she attended a 7 Habitsworkshop and noticed how comprehensive the habits were in covering the same needs expressed by her community. She and staff developed a leadership theme and a school mission statement: To Develop Leaders, One Child at a Time. They taught the 7 Habits not as a curriculum, but in a ubiquitous fashion, integrating them into the curriculum, traditions, systems, and culture of A.B. Combs.
In 2006, A.B. Combs became the #1 magnet school in the country. The leadership model began to be replicated by other schools with similar results. In 2008, Dr. Stephen R. Covey published the book The Leader in Me, which documents the leadership model these schools pioneered and its outcomes for staff, students, parents, and the community.