Westside Elementary recognized as Lighthouse School by ‘Leader in Me’


Westside Elementary earned a national distinction, the prestigious Lighthouse School Certification from the “Leader in Me” program.

Westside Elementary Principal Amanda Lillard said Westside Elementary has been on a leadership journey for the last four years.

“We are beginning our fifth year officially recognized as a ‘Leader in Me’ Lighthouse school,” Lillard said. “This honor means that our students, staff and community exemplify and engage in a sustainable culture centered around leadership.” 

Leadership at Westside Elementary begins with creating a common language, Lillard said.

“After we embed the language into our culture, we begin to look at our campus systems and events to ensure we are living our mission to ‘Lead, grow and inspire’ each day,” she said. “As a result, our students, teachers and staff learn to lead in our school, our community and in our world.” 

Lillard said the people of Westside Elementary are what make the school a Lighthouse school. 

“Our ability to provide this process for our students begin with our community’s willingness to fundraise and support this initiative for all kids at Westside,” she said. “The Westside community, teachers and students believe that a culture centered around leadership build the leaders of our tomorrow. When we live our mission to ‘Lead, grow, inspire,’ we are intentional at growing leaders, growing our students academics and inspiring our worlds. This is what we believe builds our future leaders to be productive members of our society.” 

The Leader in Me program is a national school improvement model that helps schools focus on campus culture through school leadership and academic performance. The program, based on the concept by Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits for Highly Effective People,” places structures and processes in the school to empower students with leadership and life skills.

Westside joins about 300 schools in the world and five in the Austin area to earn Lighthouse status, joining Rutledge Elementary as the two Leander ISD schools. To receive the designation, the schools must conduct annual training, teach the curriculum to all students, engage families with the leadership content and reflect the learning throughout the school building and campus culture.