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What Does a Vice President Do?


The vice president’s role is often the least understood, but the office provides a real opportunity for a motivated PTO leader.

by Christy Forhan


The role of vice president is typically one of the least-defined jobs on the PTO executive board. Most bylaws identify the duties with a vague description like “Assist the president.” These loose guidelines allow vice presidents the unique opportunity to tailor the job to their own skills and interests.

As vice president, you will play a role in day-to-day operations of the PTO, help formulate the group’s long-range plan, work out issues as they arise, and participate in executive board discussions and decisionmaking. That equates to a fair amount of responsibility but not necessarily a lot of time demands, which means you can take on additional responsibilities that suit your talents and availability.

Maybe you decide to focus on increasing involvement for kindergarten parents. Or maybe you provide training and leadership support for the committee chairpeople. You could even volunteer to chair a specific project like the spiritwear sale. That’s the thing about being vice president—the job is flexible enough that it can be what you make of it.

Serving as vice president is a good entry-level executive board position and provides good training for future presidents. And as vice president, you get the best of both worlds: You are part of the PTO’s overall leadership team, but you can also get in the trenches and do some of the work that defines the PTO.

All the know-how you need to be an effective and successful parent group leader!

Job Qualifications

  • A passion for the school and the PTO

  • Good listening skills

Basic Duties

Optional Additional Duties

These optional duties might be included in your PTO’s bylaws:

Keep in Mind:

  • The vice president is subordinate to the president, not a copresident.

  • The president is ultimately responsible for the executive board’s decisions.

Originally posted in 2008 and updated regularly.


# Ms. Dolphin 2008-04-24 19:34
I am glad that this email was sent to me. I am the VP for the PTO at my child's school. This helps me to understand exactly what my role entails.
# Ms Letson 2008-04-25 00:31
I was recently voted for the upcoming school year as PTO VP. I haven't been given the bylaws and I am really up in the air about my responsibilities. This article helped me get some idea of what my responsibilites clould be. We will soon have a meeting and discuss everyone's responsibilities and their desire for our school and PTO activities.
# JESSICA 2008-05-07 15:20
# Kathryn Lagden from PTO Today 2008-05-07 16:44
Hi Jessica - sounds like you're jumping in with both feet and getting ready for your role as president. Nice! Here are a couple of articles i think you'll find useful: http://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/137-7-steps-to-
grow-involvement and http://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/608-build-a-strong-
# Madeline 2008-05-10 22:59
Hi, I'm Madeline
Well I'm running for VP and it was kind of a quick decision that I made, because only one person was running and everyone said they didn't want the other person to win. Well this next week we need t to have a short little speech ready. Well at the moment I have nothing... My mind runs empty when I think of things to say. does anyone have ideas that can help me. Our school is VERY small. We only have 25 high school students, and I really just need some points that can speak about. PLEASE HELP!!!
# cessalie 2008-09-13 00:03
I have just been elected VP of the pta at our school and we have got our hands full because the schools pta has not been good the last few years. We need to get some advise on how to get our pta back on track ! We have a BIG problem on our hands. We don't even know how to start . We ar haveing to start from the bottom. PLEASE HELP!!!
# Craig Bystrynski from PTO Today 2008-09-22 15:36
Hi Cessalie -- We have a couple of publications that might help you. The PTO Start-Up Guide walks you through all of the nuts and bolts of getting organized -- creating bylaws, filing for tax-exempt status, and more. Also, the Leadership Toolkit offers advice on some of the key topics of leading a PTO. You can find information on those and our other toolkits here: https://www.ptotoday.com/store#!/category/1002 I also strongly recommend that you post specific questions on our message boards. There are lots of experienced PTO leaders willing to help out with advice and support. http://www.ptotoday.com/boards/ Good luck! -- Craig
# Tracy 2008-09-23 23:05
We are in the process of getting Tax Exempt Status. We need to add a statement to our Articles of Incorporation, can we present at our next meeting and take a vote at the same time, since it is not our by-laws but our Articles of Incorporation?
# Matanah 2008-11-18 00:58
I am the current president of a PTO. I have been with the school as a non-parent for over 10 yrs. Just recently we have had parents that have stepped up and volunteered to serve on the exec. board. From the way these folks are acting, I have a distinct feeling that they don't want me at the helm. They think that a president should be around all of the time and not just (as they say) run things. I wish that is all I did. How do I get these folks to understand that we all have a job to do? Mine happens to be lead, help make responsible decisions, delegate projects, and do some myself.
# tori 2008-11-20 00:08
I'm writing a speech on why should people elect me as vice president . I'm very nervous .I will try my best . even if i dont when at least my voice would be heard .
# Nicole Pouwels 2009-01-09 17:31
We are getting ready for nominations for President, Vice President, and Treasurer. This information will be very helpful for the elections this year!!
# Jessica 2009-07-29 15:08
I am the current President of our school PTSO! I have some concern that our school has placed a student (age 15) at VP! It was a voiced election and I was unaware at the time. The past President (the students mother) helped with this selection. The administaration of the school is somewhat concerned as well. Our bylaws state that the VP is to assume the duties of the President and to do these duties you must be 18 years of age, however, the requirements to serve as VP do not state an age requirement! What is the national standing on students holding an office position? I would love to create a student representative position! HELP!
# Craig Bystrynski from PTO Today 2009-07-30 15:28
Hi Jessica -- As you mentioned, your bylaws really govern who can be a officer. If you're incorporated, there may be state regulations that apply to who can sit on your corporate board. That would certainly affect your president, but not necessarily the VP . The National PTA requires that officers of local units be 18 years old, and we know of at least one instance in which they invalidated the election of a high school student. But that doesn't apply to PTOs. If your bylaws allow it, you can always hold a recall election. Another option, and maybe the least divisive one, is to minimize the student's duties and consider it a learning year for him/her. With a positive approach it might turn out better than you think. Good luck!
# mickey 2009-12-28 01:10
i was voted vp of p.t.o please tell me
what i need to do i have friend on p.t.o
she wanteds me to vote with her on every thing
but i dont want vote with her what do i do
# lee 2010-01-15 05:05
I'm the VP for my school and this is the first year I got involved with the school PTO. I was dispoint when there are no documentation on PTO and expectation at our school until I saw all the info posted here. This really helps. I hope to share this info with my teams. It's alot of work when there are no ground rules set.
# Tally 2010-04-27 23:34
I am on the PTO board at my child's school. For the past few years a click of sorts has formed amongst 3 of the board members. They make decisions ahead of time and pretty much decide everything. I was glad that the treasurer would be gone at the end of this school year and break up the superiority trio but although her child will be leaving for middle school, we were informed last PTO meeting that she is staying on as treasurer next year. Is this right?? Can she serve on the PTO Board and not have a child in the school or work for the school?
# Craig Bystrynski 2010-04-28 14:20
Check your group's bylaws. Some PTOs only allow parents and guardians of students in the school to be members (and thus eligible to become officers). Even if your trio is still eligible to continue, the one thing they must do is hold elections. Officers can't just reappoint themselves. If you can find a group of interested parents who feel the way you do, perhaps you can vote them out.
# Mrs.G 2010-06-24 18:44
Thanks for the article... I was curious as our V.P doesn't do anything but show to the meetings.. At the end of the school year I found out she needed to take time for herself, which really made me livid.. As I volunteer for almost anything and everything possible even if my children are not in that school, I have put time into it.. Unfortunately, I decided not to join as the clicks make it impossible to enjoy.. Does anyone else have a problem with clicks within the P.T.O and find that there doing more than you feel others on the board should be?!?!

Thank you!
# jada 2010-09-28 17:37
Im only in the 9th grade..but reading the summary and your comments really did help me with my essay for my class..where doing a mock election and i was running for vice president.. I hope that with the information yall had put on here it helps me and i get a good grade on it..
# Kris 2011-01-08 22:29
Sadly some people think the PTO is a click because you only see the same 4-6 people running every and all events. SO NOT TRUE...I am VP on the PTO and we include everyone send out e-mails all the time and try to befriend everyone at events and meetings but we are still with the same 4-6 people who volunteer and we are still called a click.... really sad thats how people think....Maybe some people just need to be a bit more assertive and aggressive. We can only do so much.
# me 2011-05-19 21:57
Im running for VP
# gernnybe 2012-06-13 14:36
I have just been elected VP of the pta at our school and we have got our hands full because the schools pta has not been good the last few years. We need to get some advise on how to get our pta back on track ! We have a BIG problem on our hands. We don't even know how to start . We ar haveing to start from the bottom. PLEASE HELP!!!
# Rose Hamilton 2012-06-13 17:08
Hi gernnybe, The good news is you seem determined to set things right and that's a good start. Not sure what went wrong in the past few years, but consider this article on how to start a PTO. Your group doesn't sound brand new, but maybe you need a "let's take it from the top'' attitude and this article likely has many ideas you can apply to your group: http://www.ptotoday.com/pto-today-articles/article/837-how-to-start-a-pto

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