Thirty years have passed since Greg Williams last walked the hallways of Hillcrest High School in Midvale as a teacher.
Williams pursued a career in finance after working as a history, psychology, and geography teacher and coach at the school. But he didn't leave his passion for education behind as he climbed the ranks as a financial adviser for the Massachusetts-based MassMutual Financial Group.
Williams joined the board of the Jordan Education Foundation more than a decade ago, where he has worked to raise money for school activities and programs.
So when Williams' company offered a contest of sorts to honor volunteers with an award of $10,000 to donate to the winners' favorite charity he submitted an application.
Out of more than 5,000 people in Williams' company, he was recently selected as one of 10 winners nationwide for his history of community service and success as a financial adviser at Intermountain Financial Group in Salt Lake City.
The $10,000 grant will be used to fund a program called The Leader in Me, modeled after Stephen Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, at Silver Crest Elementary in Herriman and Southland Elementary in Riverton.
Twenty-two schools in the Jordan School District already have the program, which costs about $5,000 to sponsor at each school. The program is funded through donations from business partners and the Jordan Education Foundation.
The program incorporates The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The 7 Habits of Happy Kids, written by the late Stephen Covey's son Sean Covey, into the school's culture and curriculum. Students and teachers focus on such habits as being proactive, finishing work before play and planning. Children keep data folders with individual mission statements, goals, and academic scorecards and figure out what types of learners they are. Students then take classes in certain subjects based on their ability level.
"It think The Leader in Me program kind of permeates everything the student, the teacher, the parent, the home and the community. It teaches values and it doesn't focus on one thing," said Williams. "I think it would have a long-term impact for the kids and the school. It changes their study habits; it improves disciplinary problems."
Sandy Riesgraf, a spokeswoman for the Jordan School District, said school officials eventually would like to offer The Leader in Me program at all elementary schools. She said it's exciting that Williams' grant will expand the program to two more schools.
Williams said he's pleased he won the grant and plans to continue his volunteer work with the district.
"I'm real committed to education and to the students," he said. "That was how I started my career; that is how I want to continue in my career."
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Habit 1 Â» Be proactive you're in charge.
Habit 2 Â» Begin with the end in mind have a plan.
Habit 3 Â» Put first things first work first, then play.
Habit 4 Â» Think win-win everyone can win.
Habit 5 Â» Seek first to understand, then to be understood listen before you talk.
Habit 6 Â» Synergize together Is better.
Habit 7 Â» Sharpen the saw balance feels best.
Source • FranklinCovey