Wilmington Christian Academy adopts ‘Leader in Me’ program


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



From left are Wilmington Christian Academy teachers Sheryl Cebula and Jinnifer Daugherty, Administrator Greg Oliver, and Leader in Me instructional coach Jorge Delgado.

From left are Wilmington Christian Academy teachers Sheryl Cebula and Jinnifer Daugherty, Administrator Greg Oliver, and Leader in Me instructional coach Jorge Delgado.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — The Wilmington Christian Academy (WCA) will teach the “Leader in Me” life strategies, and the school will start highlighting and modeling the program’s recommended habits when classes begin in late August.

Jorge Delgado has been hired as the Leader in Me instructional coach, said WCA’s new Administrator Greg Oliver. The Leader in Me’s K-12 educational program is rooted in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, published in 1989. To the original seven habits, an eighth one — Find your voice — has been added for the school program.

All WCA teachers will try to fuse instruction of the eight Leader in Me practices into their lesson plans.

One of the teachers on the school’s new Lighthouse Team who has a designated role is third-grade teacher Sheryl Cebula, whose special appointment when it comes to Leader in Me is in “school culture”.

Cebula said when there isn’t a systematic approach to incorporating life skills education into a student’s learning experience, then sometimes it can fall by the wayside when staff “has to get on with their day.”

Over time, Cebula anticipates seeing an increase in student engagement, which in turn should lead to academic success.

Another member of the Lighthouse Team is second-grade teacher Jinnifer Daugherty.

One thing about setting up Leader in Me in school that excites her is that the staff will apply the road map to their own lives and serve as examples and mentors.

“I think students catch more what they see, than when they are just told what to do,” said Daugherty.

She expects teachers will ask students to identify which of the recommended habits is involved when they’re doing an activity. And she thinks children will take the principles home to their families and parents and eventually have an influence on the community in the longer-term.

The teaching of the principles, of course, will vary depending on the grade level.

As the name of the Leader in Me program suggests, leadership is a key focus. Oliver foresees having students in the middle grades develop a mission statement about who they are and where they’re headed, and he hopes the program helps give students an internal compass.

Delgado, in addition to being the instructional coach for the K-12 building, is going to teach an upper-level Leader in Me class, utilizing the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” and related resources.

Daugherty thinks the aspects of Leader in Me that emphasize the importance of high-trust relationships and of taking time to recharge will help prevent burnout among the WCA staff.

“It’s not just about ‘Let me be a better person.’ But how can I also be in relationship with others, and be able to work together with everyone in doing things, being very intentional about having relationships with others so we can ‘Sharpen the Saw’ [habit 7] so that we can continue doing what we’re doing to make a difference,” Daugherty said.

Delgado said the point of the eighth guideline “Find your voice” is “so kids have the ability to actually speak up.”

Oliver said that long ago he was trained in the seven habits. He will lead a workshop on Tuesday, Sept. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., open to any parent who wants to learn more about the seven habits. It will be held at the Wilmington Christian Academy, located at 642 Davids Drive.

WCA’s total student enrollment is approximately 250, and there are about 27 staffers, Oliver said.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

From left are Wilmington Christian Academy teachers Sheryl Cebula and Jinnifer Daugherty, Administrator Greg Oliver, and Leader in Me instructional coach Jorge Delgado.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/07/web1_leader_in_me_c-1.jpgFrom left are Wilmington Christian Academy teachers Sheryl Cebula and Jinnifer Daugherty, Administrator Greg Oliver, and Leader in Me instructional coach Jorge Delgado. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com