Leader in Me a success because of local businesses

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Vicksburg Warren School District has another reason to be proud. Two years after implementing school wide behavioral programs, Bovina and Bowmar Avenue elementary schools were recognized by the nationwide organization as being model sites for the program.

Both schools, the second and third Leader in Me schools in the state, were selected as Lighthouse schools by the Franklin Covey Organization. They join 86 schools nationwide and are the first two in the state to earn the designation.

The Chamber of Commerce, after first seeing evidence of the program at a convention in 2009, introduced the program locally in 2011.

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The Leader In Me program began at Bovina and Bowmar elementary schools during the 2012-13 school year. The programs were launched with private funding of $105,000.

Last year, then-executive director of the chamber Christy Kilroy said the goal was to eventually expand the program to five schools by the 2014-15 school year.

A little over three years in and the program is right on course with the addition of Dana Road. Funding for the program was not available from the state, so the chamber went to private businesses and asked them to support the future of our community. They should be applauded for recognizing the benefits of investing in our youth.

The way the Leader in Me program has been implemented and the success it had yielded should be an example to other communities that their future is up to them.

Tammy Burris, principal of Bowmar, said “We are so proud that Vicksburg has the first Lighthouse Schools in the state of Mississippi. It is extremely rewarding for students and teachers who have worked so hard to achieve the results needed to receive this level of national acclaim.”

“We know the success of Leader in Me,” said Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealy. “We have seen it at two of our schools and through our partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, we are expanding. The exciting news is that Franklin Covey sees our success and wants to put our schools in the national spotlight as an example of excellence in education. It is a proud moment for this community and for the state.”

Indeed it is a proud moment and another reason Vicksburg has to be proud of our community.