In the Media: Leader Valley is Creating tomorrow's leaders today

posted on Thursday, February 22, 2018 in Blog

“WATERLOO — Melissa Reade is passionate about creating leaders, and in her role as director of Leader Valley, that is exactly what she helps to do.

Under the auspices of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber, Leader Valley is a talent development initiative that “prepares pre-K-12 students for success by providing them with the essential soft skills needed for a life of effectiveness and competitive advantage in the workforce,” according to the Alliance's website,

Leader Valley's priority is implementing the Leader in Me program in Cedar Valley Schools. North Cedar Elementary in Cedar Falls and Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence in Waterloo were the first area schools to implement the program in 2010. To date, 23 Cedar Valley schools are on board.

‘The big picture,’ Reade said, ‘is we want to implement Leader in Me in all Cedar Valley schools. We are in schools in Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Cedar Valley Catholic schools. We want to expand to the greater Cedar Valley and into the rural schools. Next will be Waverly-Shell Rock and Janesville.’

An impact study done by the University of Northern Iowa on Leader in Me schools shows increased student confidence.

‘They are more empowered, they are risk takers, they are more engaged in school,’ Reade said.

‘The students and staff feel safer, more cared about, more respected,’ she said. ‘There is less bullying and teasing.’

The local Leader in Me effort is unique for a few reasons.

‘We are the only multi-district region in the world,’ Reade said.

Additionally, Reade and Teri Trask, Leader Valley facilitator and coach, are piloting the district model with FranklinCovey for onsite certified facilitators.

‘We are the only two,’ Reade said. ‘We are building it with them. We are on the front end of innovation.’

Read more:

Leader Valley: Creating tomorrow’s leaders today, by Holly Hudson, The Courier,February 21, 2018