Character First Education is a division of Strata Leadership, the world’s largest character-based leadership development program for business, government, public safety, education, and families. While character formation begins at home, we believe everyone who interacts with a child or teen has an opportunity to teach or encourage positive social values. 

Character First Education exists to help teachers, administrators, and parents build future leaders with character. We offer curriculum and training that works in public and private schools, home school families, mentoring programs, summer camps, and almost any educational setting.

Our goal is to provide fun, engaging, positive, practical, and research-based lessons that will help students build the character and competence needed for success. Click to download an informational flyer.




Character First promotes timeless values and concepts that transcend social and cultural differences. Below are the character qualities we focus on through different types of curriculum.

Elementary Curriculum (22 Traits):

Attentiveness, Availability, Compassion, Conservation, Courage, Determination, Diligence, Enthusiasm, Flexibility, Forgiveness, Generosity, Gratefulness, Honesty, Loyalty, Obedience, Orderliness, Patience, Respect, Responsibility, Self-Control, Tolerance, Wisdom | Learn more

ENGAGE Curriculum (18 Traits):

Virtue, Alertness, Discernment, Tolerance, Sensitivity, Initiative, Sincerity, Wisdom, Respect, Deference, Gentleness, Responsibility, Thoroughness, Decisiveness, Persuasiveness, Courage, Humility, Leadership | Learn more

Intermediate Curriculum (36 Traits):

Attentiveness, Availability, Boldness, Cautiousness, Compassion, Creativity, Deference, Dependability, Determination, Diligence, Discernment, Discretion, Enthusiasm, Flexibility, Forgiveness, Generosity, Gratefulness, Hospitality, Initiative, Loyalty, Obedience, Orderliness, Patience, Persuasiveness, Punctuality, Resourcefulness, Responsibility, Self-Control, Sensitivity, Sincerity, Thoroughness, Thriftiness, Tolerance, Truthfulness, Virtue, Wisdom | Learn more



Character First Education offers a variety of Inservice Training programs for classroom teachers and school staff. The cost is generally $1200 for up to one half-day of in-person training, plus materials and travel expenses. Contact us to discuss details or to request a proposal for your school or district.

Popular Inservice Topics:

  • Building a Better Student — Understanding the C3 Concept
  • Bully No More — How to Create a Culture of Respect
  • Welcome to the Jungle! — Classroom Management Skills
  • Put Up Your Dukes — Dealing With Conflict

Looking for training for your school administration and support staff? We recommend the workshops and programs offered by Strata Leadership that are specifically designed for building a healthy workplace culture. Learn more at



Do you have questions about Character First Education? Need help finding something? We are ready to help!

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Use our Contact Page for additional information or to request curriculum samples.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Character?

When we talk about character, we mean the inward values that determine outward actions; the mental model used for making decisions; the moral compass that guides your choices; who we are when no one else is watching.

Why does Character matter?

Many problems in today’s classroom can be traced to a lack of character, including bullying, disrespect, cheating, tardiness, vandalism, profanity, and drug abuse—which hinder childhood development, student achievement, school safety, and public confidence.

That’s why more than 100,000 teachers, parents, and youth workers around the world have used Character First Education to help them define behavioral objectives, reinforce positive behaviors, and create a culture that values good character.

Read a report on The Nuts and Bolts of Character Education to gather statistical evidence of why character education matters.

How did Character First Begin?

Character First began in 1992 as a leadership development program at Kimray Inc, an Oklahoma City-based manufacturing company. Every month, Kimray employees would study a different character trait and how it related to corporate values such as honesty, quality, safety, and service. It made such a difference in their workplace culture that in 1996, local school and police officials asked if Character First could be adapted to public education—and Character First Education was born.

In 2012, Character First was acquired by Strata Leadership LLC, which offers a wider range of character-based programs for business, government, public safety, families, and education. Character First Education is directed by Dr. Virginia Smith, a life-long educator (visit Virginia’s Blog).

Do you have materials in other languages?

We currently offer a limited option for Spanish materials through our Oklahoma headquarters. Our representatives in Mexico and Costa Rica may have more items available. We do have limited options for other languages available through our International representatives. Please contact us to learn more.

Can I be a distributor of Character First?

You may purchase materials at quantity discount when you contact us, but we do not offer franchise or distributor opportunities at this time.

Is Character First a religious program?

Thus far, all Character First Education curriculum is compatible with public education (non-sectarian lessons). If we develop “faith-based” resources in the future, they will be clearly marked so there is no confusion.

Do you have other questions? Please contact us!