Leader Valley and the University of Northern Iowa to Cosponsor 2015 Franklin Covey Leader in Me Symposium

posted on Monday, March 17, 2014 in Blog

WATERLOO & CEDAR FALLS, IOWA –The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and Leader Valley, in partnership with the University of Northern Iowa, announce that the Cedar Valley has been selected as a 2015 Leader in Me Symposium Series site by FranklinCovey. The Leader in Me Symposium will be held April 22-24, 2015 on the UNI Campus. An estimated 400 people are expected at this regional professional learning conference. Attendees will be introduced to the advancements of Cedar Valley schools implementing Leader in Me, FranklinCovey's whole school education transformation process, which teaches leadership principles to students in K-12 schools and embeds leadership as a core within their school culture.
Leader Valley Director, Melissa Reade, is particularly excited about this opportunity. “We've gone through an extensive vetting process to be selected as a Symposium site and we are thrilled for many reasons. This professional learning conference is world class. To be able to host it here in the Cedar Valley is a unique opportunity and honor.”

Symposium participants will learn in a high-powered environment that hosts an impressive lineup of inspirational thought leaders on education leadership topics. Participants will observe students demonstrating their leadership mind-set and skill-set through public speaking, practitioner sessions, talent presentations, and assigned leadership roles. Participants will also visit Leader in Me schools throughout the Cedar Valley to learn first-hand how leadership is infused into all facets of school life, including relationships, environment, curriculum, instruction, systems, and traditions of each school. Lastly, participants will engage in dynamic breakout sessions on developing leadership cultures and building family and community partnerships, as well as providing students with authentic and meaningful leadership opportunities.
CBE Companies CEO and current Greater Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber Board Chair Tom Penaluna accepted a congratulatory call from FranklinCovey's Sean Covey, during which Penaluna was informed of the Cedar Valley's selection as a Symposium site. Covey reiterated the significance of the work that Leader Valley is doing to collectively support all of the students and schools in Waterloo-Cedar Falls. Dustin Odham, Leader Valley's assigned FranklinCovey Education Practice Leader went on to say, “Leader Valley is creating a community unlike any other. The school and community leaders involved in this leadership work are doing it for the right reasons and have the heart and desire to do this well. I leave more inspired every time I visit and I want many more people to have the same opportunity. That is why I fought to ensure this community hosted a Leader in Me Symposium.”
UNI College of Education Dean Dr. Dwight Watson expressed his excitement about the announcement by saying, “It is an honor to host the 2015 Leader in Me Symposium. I have been a fan of Covey’s work since the beginning of my professional career. I celebrate the fact The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has been transferred into K-12 practices for children and youth because these habits are important elements in their leadership and character development. Our hope is that the Symposium will showcase how engaged the Cedar Valley is in the work of Leader in Me and that we can perfect what we do by learning from others.”
Reade says, “It is reflection of the great leadership work being done collectively in our Cedar Valley schools. When you consider that the Symposiums are typically held in larger cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Denver, and Brooklyn, FranklinCovey believes we are doing something right. The Symposium provides an opportunity to not only showcase student leadership from the Cedar Falls Schools, Cedar Valley Catholic Schools, and Waterloo Schools, but also highlight our higher-education partnership in this leadership work, as well as bring attention to the Cedar Valley.”

“As we learn more about the preparation process for the Symposium, we are confident there will be ample opportunities for Leader Valley and UNI to synergize with other education and community organizations, as well as Iowa Leader in Me schools outside the Cedar Valley and businesses to make this Symposium one of the best,” said Reade. Hawkeye Community College and CBE Companies have already committed as awareness partners for the upcoming promotions of the Symposium.
Leader in Me has been adopted as a core operating system in 1,500 schools in more than 35 countries, with more than 600,000 students and 50,000 staff having been trained worldwide. Across the Cedar Valley, there are 14 Leader in Me schools, with 6,075 students and 842 educators already trained and embarking on their leadership journey. Within the Waterloo Community School District, Dr. Walter Cunningham Elementary, Fred Becker Elementary, Kittrell Elementary, Orange Elementary, Poyner Elementary, George Washington Carver Academy, and Hoover Middle School are implementing Leader in Me. Cedar Falls Community Schools implementing Leader in Me include North Cedar Elementary, Orchard Hill Elementary, Southdale Elementary, and Lincoln Elementary. Cedar Valley Catholic Schools infusing Leader in Me include Blessed Maria Assunta Pallotta Middle School and St. Edwards Elementary.
For more information on the Leader in Me Symposium, visit or can also learn more by contacting Melissa Reade, Leader Valley Program Director at (319) 232-1156 or at