, Muskogee, OK

May 10, 2013

Irving kids show ‘Leader in Me’

Student presenters demonstrate program

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Irving Elementary fourth-grader Phuong Nguyen knows how to “begin with the end in mind.”

Dressed in a white lab coat Thursday morning, Phuong told school visitors how he plans to be a doctor. He and other Irving students spent Thursday morning showing their leadership skills and other good habits during Leadership Day. The school participates in the Leader in Me, a nationwide educational program based on the best-selling book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

Irving Principal Kim Fleak said area business leaders, city officials, parents and school officials were invited to Leadership Day to show how students incorporate the seven habits in their school and personal lives. They also showed visitors various things they were learning in class.

“The most important thing is they will see these students being leaders,” Fleak said, adding that principals from other schools in and around Muskogee also came to see how the program works.

Stigler Elementary School Principal John McClain said he wanted to see how the Seven Habits could be implemented at his school.

“We sent two staff members to a symposium in Tulsa,” McClain said. “We are working hard to put a game together to make it happen.”

 Kari Anderson, client partner for Franklin-Covey Education Solutions, said she sees how the program is making a difference in the school. The Leader in Me is one of Franklin-Covey’s programs.

“It’s an exciting day,” Anderson said. “I wanted to see what the school was showcasing today. I see lots of kids showcasing leadership skills, a lot of habits being used.”

Kindergartners and first-graders showed how they keep workbooks reminding them of their habits.

Nguyen told visitors his class was learning how to “begin with the end in mind.”

“We learned about short-range goals and long-range goals,” Nguyen said. “We chose long-term goals, and we dressed up as what we want to be.”

Rebecca Engman, mother of an Irving student, said she was interested in looking at the programs.

“I see a change here, and it’s for the better,” Engman said. “Principals come and go, but the kids seem happy.”

 Sondra Sam said she has seen how her daughter, second-grader Gracelyn Sam, puts the seven habits into practice.

“She knows about doing work before play,” Sam said. “She uses them all at home.”

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

The 7 Habits

• Be proactive.

• Begin with the end in mind.

• Put first things first.

• Think win-win.

• Seek first to understand then to be understood.

• Synergize.

• Sharpen the saw.