Leader in Me is an opportunity for your students to be part of a transformational school culture, where they are empowered to be learners and more engaged in their learning. In a Leader in Me school culture, students take the lead in their learning with a new set of leadership skills, based on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Leader in Me works in concert with the academic, behavioral, and culture-based initiatives common in today’s schools. Such initiatives include, but are not limited to Positive Behavior Intervention Supports, Character Counts, Junior Achievement, Multi-Tiered Support Systems, and Response to Intervention. Leader in Me is not meant to replace the other initiatives, but to enhance them.

Why Leader in Me Works

There are four factors that play a role in the effectiveness of Leader in Me in our schools.

  1. Paradigm Shift – Effective educators know that how you see the world (paradigm), is a driving factor in what you do (actions), as well as what you get (results). In true leadership cultures, educators do not believe that leadership is for some students, but rather believe every child has gifts and talents to be nurtured.
  2. Inside-Out Model – In our Leader in Me schools, we often say, “it starts with us”. Educators must know, live, and model the 7 Habits personally and professionally before this can take hold with students.
  3. Common Language – Leader in Me schools have a common language that permeates all levels, from educators to students and parents. The framework of the common language is the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This provides consistency and a common understanding of how people interact.
  4. Ubiquitous Implementation – For a school culture to transform, leadership must be embedded authentically into all aspects of the school culture. From modeling and relationships, physical environment, and operational systems, to curriculum, instruction, and traditions, leadership must be infused to have the maximum reach for students. Leadership must become a way of life.
View Teaching Resources

Want to get a head start with leadership resources?

View our teachers' resources page to gain insight, tips, and best practices for empowering yourself and your students.
View Teaching Resources

Leader in Me Implementation

There are four phases of implementation and corresponding training.

  1. Pre-Work

    Schools considering implementing Leader in Me will be asked to complete a variety of activities that demonstrate readiness to move forward with formal training. These types of actions will secure staff buy-in, long term commitment, the fidelity of implementation, and ultimately, the quality of our Leader in Me schools.

    Pre-work activities may include, but are not limited to a book study, Leader in Me school visits, and a readiness survey. The pre-work phase typically takes from 3 to 6 months but may take up to a full school year.

  1. School Culture

    In the first training module, schools engage their entire staff in a shared vision of the greatness and leadership that are inherent in every child and adult. They study the timeless, universal principles that allow people to realize their potential and they make specific plans for implementing these principles in their school and classroom cultures.

    School culture training includes 7 Habits Signature Training, Vision Training, Implementation Training, and Lighthouse Team Training. The completion of all four pieces of training takes a minimum of one school year but can go as long as two years if needed.

  2. Academic Tie To Leadership

    In the second training module, schools build on the foundation established in year one and learn to apply the 7 Habits and leadership concepts at a higher order. They implement specific tools that empower staff and students academically.

    The focus becomes creating effective school-wide goals that produce results now and build a lasting capacity to produce results in the future. Training modules include Empowerment Training and Achieving School-wide Goals Training. The completion of these two pieces of training typically takes schools 3 to 6 months to complete.

  3. Lighthouse Milestone

    Although not a training module, the quest for Lighthouse Milestone is the next phase of implementation for Leader in Me.  Lighthouse Milestone is the premier designation for Leader in Me schools.

    To achieve Lighthouse Milestone, schools are evaluated against nine key criteria related to the best practices of developing a leadership culture. Because of the rigor of going through this evaluative process, only about 10% of  Leader in Me schools around the nation have achieved Lighthouse Milestone. It typically takes schools two or three years at a minimum to achieve Lighthouse Milestone.


Looking to get your school involved?

Let’s talk! Leader Valley is a collaborative partnership with Cedar Valley schools, businesses, and the community.

Featured Images

Featured Video


“We talk about trying to prepare our students for college, career, and citizenship. Leader in Me really helps out in all three areas in that it can provide more of a basis, some of the soft skills, some of the employability skills, and some of the grit and determination that we like to see in our students. Whether it is college, career, and citizenship, Leader in Me is a major ingredient in the recipe.”
Mike Young, Waterloo Community Schools Board Member