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Nancie Payne, LDA President
Nancie Payne, LDA President

Writing a good message that those of you in the LDA community will read, and possibly appreciate, in some ways occasionally presents difficulties.  And, so was the case, with getting started on this message. Thus, after some reflective thinking I have decided to share something that was shared with me several years ago.  The authors, Maury Forman, Ph.D. and Michelle Harvey are from Washington State. Dr. Forman is the Director of Education and Training for the Department of Commerce and Ms. Harvey is the Communications Coordinator for the Association of Washington Cities. Together these two highly intelligent and well-published individuals wrote the Ten Commandments of Community Leadership

Why would I choose to share this publication and list with you?  Because these commandments are a set of principles by which to facilitate and manage for each of us in our roles as LDA volunteers.  These statements are about assisting to create a strong future for our organizations and communities.  Each commandment contains two important distinctions:

  • “As community leaders, our job is to be proactive and positive – to focus on what can be done, not what can’t be.”
  • “A community’s future is shaped by the attitudes of its members, especially young people. The youth of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.”

Thus, with no more justifications, here are the Ten Commandments of Community Leadership.  As you read these, see how they connect for you with your volunteer role in the LDA community.

  1. Create a vision for the future – focus on what could be, not what is and dream of complete LDA communities.
  2. Develop a strategic plan – create flexibility for anticipated growth and regularly communicate LDA’s progress at all levels, national, state and local.
  3. Build a sustainable economy for the next generation – ensure LDA communities continue to thrive and grow as our families and children need all levels of our support.
  4. Seek public/private partnerships – recognize the importance of working together as a region and work with leaders to nurture LDA nationwide.
  5. Invest in education and training – support academic achievement so youth with learning disabilities have the skills to compete and become life-long learners.
  6. Promote respect – recognize that integrity and fairness establish credibility.
  7. Demonstrate a high standard of ethical behavior – make decisions based on what is good for “the many” and set and maintain high expectations for all.
  8. Value history, art, and culture – advocate keeping the arts as a part of K-12 education and reach out to those with LD to hear their story.
  9. Prepare for a global environment – insist on our learners being able to access a world-class technology and communications infrastructure.
  10. Develop future leaders – promote leadership training programs and use current leaders to identify new leaders, especially among youth with LD.

I encourage each within our LDA community to begin to incorporate these ten principles into your daily, weekly and monthly activities.  The difference between a successful LDA community and a struggling one is the leadership scaffolding that exists as well as that which is built as a result of that scaffolding.  As today’s leaders in our LDA world, we have the opportunity to set the example and make the difference that will lead to a stronger and better LDA. 

As always, thank you for all you do for LDA. 


Forman, M., Harvey, M. (2007). The Ten Commandments of Community Leadership. Olympia, WA: Association of Washington Cities and Washington State Department of Trade and Economic Development


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