Every day, I become more and more convinced that our society will ask for a different level of leadership and engagement from our children as they move into adulthood. The purpose of this blog is not to walk through the reasons why that is the case or the litany of challenges our children face, but to share just a little about how we at Darlington hope to foster leadership and citizenship in a purposeful, meaningful way so that our students continue to be the confident contributors our world needs.
The Darlington School Leadership Institute (DSLI) is a new program that will engage all of our students in grades 7 through 12 in the principles of individual leadership development. Below is our mission:
To help create an engaged and confident citizenry by training and equipping students with inclusive and comprehensive leadership skills and provide opportunities for service and action so that students are prepared for a diverse and ever-changing world.
We have partnered with the J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development at the University of Georgia. Our partnership began last year and has continued this fall with both faculty professional development and certification of our teaching team in Fanning’s Youth Leadership in Action program. Why utilize the Fanning Institute for this project? The answer is simple, their expertise is unquestioned and we believe strongly in the alignment of the The Darlington Leadership Institute and the leadership principles of Mr. J.W. Fanning.
This winter, we will launch the Leadership Institute through the Exploratory Period in both seventh and eighth grade. Existing programs in the Upper School will continue to highlight individual leadership development while beginning to connect more clearly with the principles of leadership listed above.
Leadership is action not title. All people are leaders, whether that leadership is positive or negative, loud or quiet. As we work to strengthen the confidence, compassion and connection in leaders today, we know that each will positively impact the world tomorrow.
Thanks to the following faculty members and students who have been integral in the development of our program: Kristen Bell, Becks Nolin, Noah Murphy, Jennifer Rundles, Kim Tunnell, Nathan West, Bebe Zazzaro, Thomas Bethel, Belle Brooks, Anaya Desei, Michael Kearns, Jack Quandt and Kate Scott. We are excited to begin this journey and look forward to sharing more about DSLI as it builds.