Parris South Elementary leads state in 'Leader in Me' program

May 18– Parris South Elementary has achieved the distinction of being the first school in the state to become an official Lighthouse School.

Lighthouse status is the highest ranking evaluation any school can receive through the Leader in Me program.  

Leader in Me, based on Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is a program designed to equip students with leadership and life skills.

Michael Davis, Hardin County director of schools, made the announcement yesterday during a “Facebook Live” school assembly.

“I’m proud of you students and teachers for all you have accomplished,” said Davis.

Parris South has been working toward this goal for five years.

“When Parris South started the Leader In Me process there were less than 100 schools around the world that had ever received this honor,” said Mitzi Baker, Parris South principal. “Today, Parris South becomes the first school in Tennessee to earn this prestigious award.”


Many officials were on hand for the announcement, including state Rep. David Byrd, Hardin County Mayor Kevin Davis, Hardin County school board members David Baker and Janie Milender, and Darryl Worley Foundation Board members Carolyn Blakney and Jack Adams. 

Country music artist Darryl Worley sent a video message of congratulations to the students and staff, wishing he could be with them on their special day. The Hardin County-based Darryl Worley Foundation has been financially supportive   in seeing the program continue not only at Parris South, but throughout schools in the community.

After the announcement, the Parris South Student and Teacher Lighthouse Team was called to the front for more applause from students.

“We’re so excited. Being a Lighthouse School was part of the vision set out from the beginning,” said Baker. “It raises the bar for us. Our motto at Parris South is, ‘Love to Learn and Live to Lead’ and we do that daily. We’ll be an example for other schools now.”

Father and son team Stephen and Sean Covey developed the The Leader in Me program to help schools around the world.

“Anyone who enters the doors at Parris South can clearly see something special and be greeted by all of the student leaders who strive for excellence, setting and accomplishing goals, and demonstrating unparalleled support of one another,” said Baker. “We are humbled by this recognition and motivated to continue to lead others throughout our state and country to instill leadership qualities in all students.”

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