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Lessons Learned
by Jim LaBuda
Interim Dean of Education
Nevada State College

Mitchell Elementary Leaders


At Mitchell Elementary School, Principal Ben Day and his staff, have implemented a new program called The Leader in Me that instills Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” in their grade K-2 students. 

This bestselling book sold over 10 million copies since being published in 1990. It is still one of the most respected business books on leadership and promotes teamwork.

These habits have become an integral part of the culture at Mitchell, and the following excerpts about each of the habits, written by Mitchell second graders, describe how the students have made these habits a part of their lives.

“I can Be Proactive by washing my hands and taking off my shoes when I get home without being asked.” – Gavin Olson

“Begin with the End in Mind can help me accomplish hard goals that I make.”– Sienna Sharp

“I love the habit Put First Things First.  You do your chores.  Then you can play outside or watch television.” – Priscilla Heckenlively

“One time my brother asked if he could have some of my snack and I gave him half.  That was habit number 4, Think Win-Win.” – Tiffany Shattler

“Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood means that if someone makes a suggestion, you listen.  You don’t just say no and then sit in the corner.” – Cayla Tillema

“One habit that helps me in a group is Synergize.  When we all have different ideas, we put them together.  Then we get a good idea.” – Emma Thomsen

“Sharpen the Saw is about getting enough sleep.  You also need to go out for recess to freshen your mind.” – Preston Reynolds 

We all can take advice from these young students and implement these Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. These strategies can certainly shape their character and assist them in being successful at school. As for myself, I’ll focus on “Put First Things First”.  “Honey, if I put my clothes in the wash and take out the garbage, can I go to the golf course?”




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