Lady Leaders Setting Examples with Leadership Skills


John Roberts

Lady Leaders from Bullitt East gathered to take a picture alongside their mentors. These girls were notified about their involvement with the conference last month and have been preparing for it ever since, now that the conference has passed they are now looking for ways to improve for the one in March. "We have our first Bullitt County Lady leaders Conference Day on Friday, Sept. 20. Anytime you doing something for the first time, there are always areas to improve for the next time so our Bullitt County Lady Leaders team will make a plan to address those areas and be ready for our next conference day which is March 20," said Adrienne Usher.

Molly Shannon, Creative Editor

Led by example, followed by example.

This year Bullitt County Public Schools incorporated a program where 25 junior girls were chosen to be a part of Bullitt County Lady Leaders because of their leadership skills.

At the end of last school year teachers nominated girls going into their junior year who had leadership skills or who could benefit from having a mentor. The first conference of the year was held Sept. 20 and was divided into sessions for each person to go to depending on their interests. Although this is a program county-wide, youth service coordinator Erin Emington White, plans on turning it into a club for those selected at Bullitt East as well.

Lady Leaders is an idea thought of by Adrienne Usher after being selected to be a member of KASA’s Kentucky Women in Education Leadership. Over the course of this year, those in charge of running the program hopes to fulfil their goal of providing a leadership, mentoring and personal development experience for young girls and to present them with an opportunity to increase their potential for future success through collaboration between school and community. “The idea originated after I was selected to be a member of KASA’s Kentucky Women in Education Leadership. This group serves to provide growth and development for female educators who are aspiring or currently hold leadership positions in education. However, I wanted to partner with the community to create a leadership and mentoring program for young girls in our schools in collaboration with the community. I initiated a meeting with Mrs. Anita Stump at the Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce and Mrs. Kim Boggs at JCTC Bullitt County Campus to pitch the idea. The idea was received with positive reviews and we had our first planning meeting March 2019 with a great community turnout to cast the vision and put the program in motion,” said Usher.

Towards the end of last school year, teachers were given the opportunity to nominate students who they found fit for the program. Other schools in the county had those who were interested sign up but Bullitt East took a different approach because schools who have done this in the past have said that by teachers nominating students it ensures well rounded individuals with stand out leadership skills. “The program is set up to provide students with leadership, mentoring and personal development learning experiences through conference days on Sept. 20, 2019 and March 20, 2020. It allows young girls to identify their strengths and talents along with being mentored by a female community role model to support each girl’s goals,” said Usher.

The conference was held at the JCTC Bullitt County campus. It started with the Keynote Speaker, Roshana Nazari Kirchhofer, who shared her journey from growing up in Afghanistan and suffering from poverty to moving to America, receiving the education she needed and becoming a travel nurse and an author. After she was done speaking the members of the program went to two sessions they had signed up for prior to the conference, there was a variety of sessions each made to fit the interests of the Lady Leaders. Once everyone had finished two of the conferences the students got to meet their randomly assigned mentors and received the opportunity to have lunch with them. Mentors were asked to be a part of this program because of the leadership they’ve shown in their line of work, being a part of this program will involve them checking in monthly with the student they were assigned via email or text message and helping to provide them with assistance whenever needed. “I think the conference went great. I saw that there were smiles on a lot of peoples faces and there seemed to be positive feedback from both students and mentors,” said White.

During one session, Bullitt Central senior, Shaelin Warner planned to help inspire girls by opening up about how she has turned the hardships she has faced in her life into experiences to learn and grow from ultimately making her become the person she is today. Her mom was originally chosen to speak but was out of town the day of the conference, but because of her being in the same age group of the girls who attended it was easy for her to relate. “I wanted to be a part of the session to listen to others’ stories and see what they’ve been through to put them in the position to be a leader,” said junior Julia Dodson who attended the session Warner spoke at.

White plans to turn this program into a smaller club for Bullitt East students in order to individually work with the students selected and provide them with the skills they need to succeed while continuing to work on improving leadership skills. Within this program, there are two conferences held throughout the school year. The first one was held on Sept. 20 and the second one will be held on March 20.