Student leadership being developed at Jackson County Schools

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McKenzie Parr, Jose Alex Torres, Kelcie Zimmer and Kristin Betz discuss their strengths as leaders.

By KATIE JUSTICE, kjustice@clickthepaper.com

What’s a leadership mindset? That’s exactly what 46 Jackson County high school sophomore and junior students learned on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

The students gathered at the Gordon Street Center to participate in the first of eight sessions designed to promote leadership and community involvement.

“A goal of our Jackson Student Leadership is to train student teams who will model, promote and facilitate leadership within their school and community,” said Todd Shultz, Jackson County Director of Career, Technical and Agriculture Education, or CTAE.

Jackson County Comprehensive High School and East Jackson High School each chose 23 students to take part in a leadership training program.

Jackson County Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Green discusses the values of emotional intelligence with the students.

During the first year, student training sessions will include “Building a Leadership Mindset,” “Building Team Leaders,” “Building Leadership Habits” and “Building Leadership Change.”

In their second year, student will be taught lessons involving ethics, communication, vision and culture.

The students attended their first session, “Building a Leadership Mindset,” on Oct. 24.

School Superintendent Dr. John Green led the day’s lesson with a series of PowerPoint and video presentations, discussions and activities.

As he introduced students to the six concepts of a leadership mindset, courage, authenticity, service, truthfulness, love and effectiveness, he encouraged the students to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses.

Evan Breakspear and York Delloyd practice approaching difficult conversations with the help of JCCHS teacher Natalie Smith.

For JCCHS junior Evan Breakspear, figuring out his strength is effectiveness was easy, “because I try to get things done as best and as fast as possible.”

Students were also taught the importance of emotional intelligence, self awareness, self management, social awareness, understanding trust and reserve judgment.

“Students are very powerful resources if they have the tools to do things the appropriate way,” said Green.

The hope of the program is that those participating in it will take what they have learned and pass it along to their peers.

“We’re just getting started. As you build a significant number, the more kids become connected to leadership thinking and the more of an improvement we can make,” said Green.

“I’m interested to see how much we can change [our schools] in the three years we have in it,” said JCCHS sophomore Chelsey Bell.

“This program will empower students to positively lead others. The student leaders will be directly involved in identifying areas of need and make recommendations for school improvement.

In addition, student will be committing to their peers to lead and foster leadership in others,” said Shultz.