When Cedar City's Enoch Elementary School principal, Lenora Roundy, was awarded, the prestigious Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Education, along with seven other principals nationwide, she was extremely honored, but cried and was even a bit sad. "I wanted every one of my teachers to have the recognition because I knew that they had earned it even more than I."
"What it means" Roundy continued, "is I have a whole bunch of wonderful people that make me look good. So I'm probably not a great leader it's just a wonderful group who just does it."
"She's an awesome lady," says Enoch Elementary 5th grade teacher, Melinda Huntsman. "She will stop at nothing to help kids learn and she's super supportive as a mentor," even staying late to talk to a teacher for hours. "Her door is always open."
Growing up in what used to be rural Iron County, Roundy dreamed of being a teacher. "Oh, I was going to be a teacher as long as I can remember," she says. Her father was a principal and a teacher and she was on a mission to follow his leadership footprints. So, too, was brother, Hal Adams, of Moab, who won last year's Utah's Teacher of the Year.
And Roundy's no stranger to leadership herself — first rearing seven children as a stay-at-home-mom. Most of her children are now either doctors or the equivalent of — who is on her seventh year as principal at Enoch. Prior to that tenure, she was principal at Escalante High School in Garfield County and has also worked the classroom as a teacher. Total years as an educator? Twenty four, not counting the mom stint. "I've taught everyone from kindergarten to seniors in high school," she says with gratitude and a smile.
"It's been really valuable to have that wealth of information in one person," says Huntsman.
"I've learned one thing," Roundy asserts when talking about the fact that 50 percent of her students come from low-income families, "that we can succeed if we just love the kids and teach them they will learn."
She adds passionately, "Our children are hungry to learn and just bright and beautiful."
Top-notch leaders create positive environments where people get along. It's no different at Enoch Elementary. "My teachers are each other's best friends," asserts Roundy. "You can't fail under those circumstances."
"Her door is always open," says Huntsman. "You can sit and vent and she offers suggestions. I've really appreciated her as a principal."
"We're just like any family and community. We have our happy times, our successes and our failures, but failure here is just like stepping stones; they don't stop anyone for too long."
"Every person in our school is so important. We're a working community."
And who says leadership doesn't start in the home or leave footprints? Don't tell this to Roundy. After all, she's walking proof.