Holloway’s Plan for QSD: Step 1. A Paradigm Shift
Quitman School District Superintendent Dr. Toriano Holloway gets excited when you ask him about Stephen R. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He gets so excited, in fact, that he jumps up from his desk, scans his bookshelves, and collects all the Covey books he’s been reading. Though some may accuse him of being a salesman of a Covey program, the energetic superintendent is quick to explain, “This is not a program. This is a process. It’s a paradigm shift.” He smiles.
Paradigm shifts, as Covey explains them in Chapter 1 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, happen when time is invested in the growth and development of character. And that’s exactly what Holloway is planning on doing with the students in grades kindergarten through eighth at Quitman School District. Fortunately, for him and the students, Holloway has plenty of help.
Teachers, administrators, and counselors from Quitman Lower Elementary, Quitman Upper Elementary, and Quitman Junior High are also investing time in reading Covey’s works and attending conferences based on the principles contained within it, but it wasn’t a book or a conference which convinced Holloway that a paradigm shift would be an effective tool at Quitman School District. He explains,
“I used the seven habits when I taught and coached basketball. We implemented it at Starkville School District when I was there, but what really brought it home to me was it did with my daughter. Her school had implemented the process. She had a slumber party for her eighth birthday, and I was taking all the girls to breakfast the next morning. I was driving, and they were in the backseat arguing when all of a sudden one of them said, ‘Hey, let’s synergize and make this a win-win.’ I had to turn and look. That was a third grader saying that. That was powerful, and it is going to be so powerful here. These are life skills that will outlast anything instructional we can give our students, and it’s going to lay the foundation for our kids to become better students which will lead to better academic performance.”
Holloway believes that everyone wants the children of Quitman School District to succeed. He is also convinced that obtaining the success will include a common language, a common vision, and a common goal. He says, “This year teachers and students will begin to speak the same language and live it. People will be amazed when they begin to hear us all singing the same song. It’s going to sound great!”
For anyone in the Panther Nation community wanting to take part in the collective music Holloway has planned for students in the 2018 – 2019 school year, East Mississippi Regional Library offers two copies of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for free reading. As you can imagine, the book comes highly recommended.