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Merrimac Elementary School




"Leadership is communicating a person’s worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.”   - Dr. Stephen Covey

The Leader in Me process is designed to help teachers develop leadership skills in their students. Helping students discover their own strengths allows teachers to find opportunities for every child to shine - to be a leader. Teachers are incorporating the common language of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Dr. Stephen R. Covey, into all curriculum areas as well as the 5 Core Paradigms. The Leader in Me,, a CASEL-Endorsed Social and Emotional Learning Program, aims to shift mindsets with five core paradigms: everyone can be a leader, everyone has genius, change starts with me, educators empower students to lead their own thinking, and develop the whole person. The program provides teachers with a variety of practices that support leadership, culture, and academics.

In February 2020, we were received RECERTIFICATION as a Leader in Me Lighthouse School. Lighthouse status is an external recognition of an internal transformation. It is reserved for schools that have developed a great leadership culture that is impacting their community - student, teachers, administrators, parents and others - in meaningful ways. Awarding lighthouse status is a way that Franklin Covey honors the greatness in schools. When a school achieves lighthouse status, their circle of influence gets larger and they are able to impact more people around the globe as they share their successes and mentor other schools. In our Lighthouse Review, Sean Covey, President of Franklin Covey Education, stated “We are proud of the legacy you are leaving for the schools in the New York Leader in Me community and beyond. With this sustained high performance, Merrimac Elementary School exemplifies the ongoing power of the Leader in Me to empower students, staff, and families to achieve measurable results. But more than that, Merrimac is a model for other schools and makes our community of Lighthouse Schools strong.”

The process includes student participation in goal setting, data tracking, leadership roles, Student-Led Conferences, leadership environments, and Leadership Events. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is also a key component of the overall Leader in Me process and is a synthesis of universal, timeless principles of personal, interpersonal, and organizational effectiveness such as responsibility, vision, integrity, teamwork, collaboration, and renewal. The 7 Habits are: 1. Be Proactive, 2. Begin with the End in Mind, 3. Put First Things First, 4. Think Win-win, 5. Seek First to Understand and then to be Understood, 6. Synergize, 7. Sharpen the Saw, 8. Find your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs.

Incorporating Leader in Me practices within our school's environment and curriculum will help our students become even more prepared to succeed in the 21st Century, with critical skills and characteristics such as: trustworthiness, strong work ethic, motivation, problem-solving skills, goal setting, effective interpersonal skills, a sense of teamwork, academic achievement and valuing diversity in a global market. By developing the WHOLE-child; socially, emotionally and academically, we will foster a school climate that promotes greatness!

For more information about The Leader in Me, visit

Lighthouse Teams
The Leader in Me provides our school with the vision and language to lead the school in a way that addresses all areas of development. As each child discovers and develops his/her unique gifts and talents, they are given opportunities to lead. As leaders, they become active, engaged partners in their own education and their self-confidence, responsibility, and initiative grows. The children quickly understand the benefits of different gifts and talents; they learn to listen to new ideas, work together to achieve results, and motivate one another to be the best.

Merrimac has a Lighthouse Team comprised of students, staff and parents. We work collaboratively to begin with the end in mind by setting goals and formulating a plan action for the school year. We link our school-wide goals to our classroom and individual goals.

Our Student Lighthouse Team is a group of students with exceptional leadership skills who are committed to serving our school. This team is led by Ms. Barbara Montalbano. Throughout the year they will work on school improvement projects, community service projects, and plan leadership events and opportunities.

The purpose of the Lighthouse Team is to promote The Leader in Me model inside the school so that it stays strong and vibrant year after year. They are the champions of the process. They are called the Lighthouse Team because they coordinate the school-wide work needed to achieve and maintain Lighthouse status.

The Student Lighthouse Team represents Merrimac Elementary in the community. This team is composed of a student from each class - K-5. The Student Lighthouse Team is involved in decision-making, school projects, and public appearances, such as speaking to community groups to represent our school.