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Election Season Tips To Ease Officer Transition


Steps to take now to ensure that the transition to a new board goes smoothly.

by Rose Hamilton


Before the end of the school year, many groups will hold elections that either will usher in a brand-new lineup of leaders or bring in a just a few new faces. Either way, it helps to take steps now to ensure that the transition to a new board goes smoothly. Here are some key questions to consider:

1. Where do you stand?

If you are a board member now and your term isn’t up, have you taken the time to decide if you want to stay on? If you are excited about another year, that’s terrific! But if you’re ready to move on, it’s best to let your team know as soon as possible.

2. Is your nominating committee busy?

If not, give it a nudge. By now, the committee should be recruiting candidates and making plans to get the word out about the election.

3. Is your board ready to tackle elections if there isn’t a nominating committee?

At your next general meeting, start by talking to parents about the upcoming election and explain each board member’s job. Get the word out in other ways as well, including your group’s newsletter and social channels.

Help your new leaders transition smoothly and keep your group going strong

4. Who’s likely to run?

At this time, you should be aware of one or two folks who have expressed interest in running for office. Make yourself available to potential candidates by offering to answer questions, inviting them to sit in on an upcoming board meeting, or even asking them to shadow you at an upcoming event. Do what you can so they understand what goes into the job of a PTO leader.

5. What’s on file?

At your next board meeting, discuss how your group is doing in the record-keeping department. Are there up-to-date notes on committees and activities so new leaders will have the information they need to run a project next year? If not, set aside time now to gather the information you need.

6. Are you staying positive?

As we move into the final months of the year, it’s not hard to get stressed. Parent groups are busy with spring activities, teacher appreciation events, and end-of the-year celebrations. But what you don’t want is for for potential new leaders to see grumbling, stressed-out board members. Time permitting, invite candidate out for coffee and talk about your group’s accomplishments and the rewards of getting involved. Speak from the heart about why you have loved being a parent group leader.

Originally posted in 2014 and updated regularly.

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