Freshmen Leadership Initiative: A Framework for Developing Self-Leadership

Kelly Verkamp and Matt Wrenholt

Do we believe that every student can be a leader?  Is leadership for everyone?   Yes.


This freshmen leadership project is based on the leadership beliefs established by the Kellogg Foundation (2000):

1. Every student has the potential to be a leader

2. Leadership cannot be separated from values

3. Leadership skills must be taught

4. In today’s world, every student will need leadership skills


The goal of this project is to help each freshman student develop his/her self-leadership while also developing ways to influence others in a positive manner.  Students must first acquire the skills necessary to lead themselves before they can lead others.  For this reason, our focus is on instruction in self-leadership as part of the transition experience for freshmen and as part of an initiative to improve the school culture for learning (Nebraska’s Performance Framework for Principals, Standard 4, B). 

 We continue to see academic and behavioral trends in freshmen that indicate a continued need to improve their transition experience for greater overall school success. With that in mind, our project will provide each freshman with leadership instruction using Dr. Tim Elmore’s book entitled, Habitudes – Book One, The Art of Self Leadership.  Through guided lessons using this book, the leadership principles of time management, self-discipline, building character, and taking initiative will all be addressed.  We agree with Dr. Elmore’s premise that ALL students will benefit from discovering and developing their personal leadership strengths, and we believe that ultimately this project can lead to those results.

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