Hawks Highway or Synergize Circle at Hoover Middle School

By January 29, 2014 Local Interest

classroomWhen a student enter the halls of Hoover Middle School—white walls, mundane talk, and a lack of energy are characteristics almost unseen or heard of to the nearly 780 students enrolled on a daily basis.

“How?” You ask. It’s quite simple—and only three words: Leader in Me™.

“Leader in Me™? Well, what’s that,” you ask.

“Leader in Me™ is a lifestyle,” says Principal Mike Fisher. The Leader in Me™  program is based off of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and first debuted in 1999 when an elementary school across the United States was near closure. The principal of the school did initial research, and aligned the 7 Habits to the needs expressed by the school and community.

By learning and implementing the 7 Habits, students were learning more than improving test scores and standardized tests, but understanding soft skills, leadership, and the potential of each and every person around them—including themselves.

Last January, Hoover made a big step for the Cedar Valley by taking on Leader in Me™, in the hopes of becoming a model school. One year later- Leader in Me™ will complete its first full academic year in May—but the results will impact students forever.

“[Leader in Me™] allows kids to shine, saying ‘this is my school’, and the students love the ownership,” Fisher stated.

And their school, they made it. Over the summer, students and faculty worked diligently to transform their school, built in 1968. Purple accent wall now flourish the library, student-made posters line the hallways as reminders to all those who walk them, inspirational quotes peer above lockers and doorways, and yes—they’ve even made outside road sides lining the drop-off lane in front of the school reminding all citizens of the importance of living by the 7 Habits.

Leader in Me™ certified teacher, Kayla Irwin has spent many hours with students “allowing them to find their passion and talents” through their summer projects, but also by teaching these same habits, six periods a day.

As students walk in the classroom, they are greeted by Mrs. Irwin. When the bell rings, a student has already taken the attendance—and within seconds that day’s curriculum is in full swing. Moments later, a fellow student is at the head of the class leading discussion on a particular habit and is choosing others to contribute their voices to the matter. Leadership in motion, daily, by students—who are our future.

“This is the first taste of opportunity, confidence, and risk for some. They get it, and they get it right,” stated Irwin.

“This is a way of doing life, not a program to keep for a couple years and then lose. It’s Student’s First, and that’s what we mean,” commented Fisher.

Hoover, with its brilliantly named hallways (Hawks Highway and Synergize Circle- just to name two) join the numerous Leader in Me Schools in the Cedar Valley, all 13 listed below.

Cedar Falls:

Lincoln Elementary

North Cedar Elementary

Orchard Hill Elementary

Southdale Elementary


Dr. Walter Cunningham Elementary

Fred Becker Elementary

Orange Elementary

Kittrell Elementary

Poyner Elementary

Hoover Middle School

George Washington Carver Academy

Cedar Valley Catholic:

Blessed Maria Middle School

St. Edwards Elementary

To learn more about Leader in Me™, click here!

And to learn more about Leader Valley, focused on the Cedar Valley, click here!