A big thank you to Shelby County teachers

Published 12:03 pm Tuesday, October 15, 2013


When I visited Vincent Elementary last week for its annual Leadership Day assembly, what initially struck me most were the students. I was greeted at the door not by an adult but by an elementary student who gave me a firm handshake and introduced himself, giving his name and expected high school graduation year.

He then asked me if I knew where the gymnasium was, which is where the assembly would be held, but after seeing the confused look on my face as he tried to give me directions, he opted to escort me himself.

What I witnessed at Vincent Elementary Oct. 8 was nothing short of amazing. Elementary-age students literally ran the show, introducing speakers and students, reciting pledges, singing songs about leadership and explaining their student teams to parents and other visitors. Principal Beverly Miller was introduced only at the very end.

While what these students have accomplished is certainly impressive, as I think back on the assembly now, I can’t help but think of the phenomenal teachers who made such an assembly possible.

At the assembly, Vincent Elementary was recognized as a “Leader in Me” Lighthouse School, or a school that has implemented the principles of Stephen Covey’s book, “The Leader in Me,” and has been successful. Vincent Elementary is one of only 58 schools in the country that have been given the designation out of nearly 1,500 schools worldwide that are participating in the “Leader in Me” program.

What started this cultural transformation at Vincent was a small group of teachers who read the book and felt compelled to implement its principles school wide. They started meeting with other teachers, incorporating “The Leader in Me” principles into their lesson plans and decorating the school with leadership-inspired messages. It was five years ago that they started, but I think it’s safe to say that their hard work has paid off.

I want to congratulate these teachers – and every other teacher in Shelby County – for realizing ways to bring their students to new levels of excellence. Without dedicated teachers leading the way, high levels of student success – like what is being seen at Vincent – would not be possible. Congratulations, teachers, and keep up the good work!

Stephanie Brumfield is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at stephanie.brumfield@shelbycountyreporter.com.