Ex-Norman educator starts new role at Loveworks Leadership | News


Ed Taylor is a builder of dreams. And for four days last week, Loveworks Leadership’s new executive director was surrounded by new and returning dreamers and doers.

Taylor, who has been in his new role since December, brings an infectious enthusiasm to Loveworks, an after-school leadership program for middle-schoolers that just resumed activities following several weeks off.

The Anadarko native, a former Norman High School assistant principal, is encouraging local students to learn more about its programming.

“Loveworks, is an after-school leadership program. All leadership,” Taylor told The Transcript. “Even though it’s after school, our purpose is to turn students into leaders and inspire them to dream big dreams, then to help them pursue their dreams.”

The organization builds a community of students by surrounding them with Norman-based influencers, many from nearby University of Oklahoma.

“These are people who are experts in their fields. They are mentors,” Taylor said. “They may be college students or high school age students that are involved in what we call passion projects.”

Students find a need in the community and figure out ways of helping out. At the end of five weeks, they are judged by community leaders on how they approached their challenges.

Associate Director Carolyn Le oversees student programs and volunteers for Loveworks. She said students attend Loveworks Leadership one or two days a week.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, students learn about leadership. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, they experience Discovery Day. Typically, students attend on Mondays and Wednesdays or on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“Discovery Day is centered on hands-on learning, which is project-based learning,” Le said. “We have a project program called The Now Project, which is a community service-based one, where they find a need in the community and find a way to help.”

At the end of the process, students give a group presentation about what they have learned, Taylor said.

“We bring in judges from our city, and those judges have score cards,” he said. “At the end of the evening, we announce a winner, and they receive an award from us. It is a cool deal.”

Loveworks Leadership also encourages students to engage in passion projects, and offers entrepreneurship simulation where students band together to solve a problem with a mock product.

“They learn how to pitch, sell, and they get to make that product,” Le said. “They participate in a pitch competition at the end, plus there’s a sales expo. It’s a ton of fun.”

Enrollment is open. Loveworks Leadership has arranged for transportation from each of the Norman Public Schools middle school sites. Classes start at 4 p.m.

“We have a celebration for them when they arrive, a healthy snack, and then we end the evening at 6 p.m. and we serve a meal at 5:30,” said Taylor.

Loveworks Leadership works with all area students, including those who attend virtual school, homeschool or private school.

“As long as they are in the sixth to eighth grade, and you want to sign up to be a leader, you are accepted,” said Le.

Loveworks Leadership is located at 151 12th Ave. SE.

To sign up, visit loveworksleadership.blog, fill out paperwork at one of the NPS middle schools, or fill out paperwork on site.