The Isle of Chamber of Commerce in 2013 launched a leadership development program structured especially for high school students, the Student Leadership Institute. The Student Leadership Institute program is the first offered to high school students in the Hampton Roads region.
The Student Leadership Institute is offered to juniors from the following schools: Isle of Wight Academy, Nansemond Suffolk Academy, Smithfield High School, and Windsor High School, as well as home-schooled students.
The students learn about team building, utilizing resources, building self-confidence and making a difference in their communities. An ethics component is built into each class which will parallel the academic year. The program is privately funded through sponsorships to offset the bulk of its expenses, and students pay only a nominal participation fee.
Experienced educator Martha Russ chairs this initiative. Facilitators for 2018-19 are Renee Rountree and Judy Winslow.
The Student Leadership Institute is sponsored by Smithfield Foods, SmithfieldVA Events, and the Town of Smithfield.
“The Student Leadership Institute taught me valuable skills; such as cooperation, understanding, and dedication that I am able to use, not only for my current leadership positions, but also for my future endeavors.”
- Jenny Saunders
“Leadership Isle of Wight did more for me than any other program in which I’ve been involved. During the course of the year, I was able to create a bond with fellow classmates who represented education, business and local government. From this core of contacts, I have been able to serve much more effectively as a community volunteer. The program was most instructive in assisting me to professionally conduct business in Isle of Wight County.”
- Bob Cole, Class of 2005
The Leadership Isle of Wight Institute is looking for emerging leaders who will lead us through the new century. Every two years, approximately 30 individuals come together and spend the ensuing ten months learning about the challenges facing Isle of Wight. These individuals begin the year as strangers and end having formed a life-long association of friends and colleagues. Most importantly, these individuals leave Leadership Isle of Wight with a commitment to assume responsibility in this community and beyond.
The program strives to enhance communication among leaders from diverse backgrounds and interests and to provide men and women with a practical and sophisticated understanding of the major issues facing Isle of Wight. The program serves as a link between the new, current, and past leaders of the area.
Today, the alumni of Leadership Isle of Wight Institute have become many of the rising leaders of our community and are serving on boards, commissions and committees throughout Isle of Wight County.
Eligibility and Selection
Applicants are individuals who have made a commitment to further contribute to the community through education and guidance. Individuals from every sector of the community, including business, professional, government, healthcare, education, and community services are encouraged to apply.