Inspiration for New PTO and PTA Leaders

by Rose Hamilton

02/07/2016

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We asked our community members to share their best advice for new leaders who may be nervous about running a PTO or PTA, and here’s what they had to say:

Ask for help and don't take on too much. Pound the pavement asking for help. Say hi and introduce yourself to many people. - Christine H. 

You’re already doing more then others by stepping up and taking an active role. You will do just fine. - Rose Mary C. 

Do your best, you won't make everyone happy! - Trinette J. 

My best resource was the prior officers and the school staff, and we are constantly asking for help from our members. - Jill T. 

Be positive and listen to others’ ideas as well as coming up with your own. Spend time getting to know your other board members; it’s a big help when you’re all on the same page. - Kerry B. 

You are enough. Don't compare yourself to previous leaders, because we all bring our own strengths and weaknesses. I am a completely shy, quiet, and awkward person. I was president for four years. They even asked me to come back. My strength is empathy and positivity. - Erika M. 

Make personal connections to as many people within the school as you can (families and staff). It is so much easier to recruit help as a friend rather than as a faceless entity. - Jill R. 

Don't apologize for being new and not knowing how to do something. An attitude of "we'll figure this out together" goes a long way!  - Kathy H. 

Make a list of stuff you really want to do and talk to your board to see how much support you have. Try to keep an open and friendly relationship with the administration. Secretaries and janitorial staff are great resources.  - Mel B. 

Be yourself, follow your gut and go get 'em! - Dawn B.

Encourage the whole board to reach out and meet as many new parents as possible. - Holly G. 

Ask for one hour of help, instead of broad requests. Thank your people over and over.   - Maggie M.

Just do what you can do. Without lots of help, you can still be efficient and make good things happen. But if you can't do something, take it off the list. Have a great year! - Sheri T. 

If you don't believe in yourself no one will believe in you! Stand your ground but don't come across as aggressive. - Nicole P.

Accept all forms of help. Not all parents can make meetings, but some are excellent at crafts or computers or business relationships, so make connections with them. - Samantha K.

 Do your best and don't let anyone try and bring you down. You are doing this for the kids! It’s very rewarding to know that what you are doing is making memories these kids will remember! Good luck! - Melissa D.

 Have a good open relationship with your school principal; after all the PTO is there to support the school as they educate our children. - Kim N.

Remember that you joined the PTA to help out your own kids and their school, not to make an impression on other moms. - Laura O. 

The entire gig is kind of like planning a wedding—it all ends up coming together and the things that don't "go according to plan" will only be noticed by you, so don't sweat it! - Jenette K. 

Be positive, listen, be open to new ideas, delegate, include the rest of your board with decisions, provide support when needed to chairs, and most of all, remember communication is key!! - Josephine M. 

Always try to base your decisions on what is best for the students, and find ways to inspire new leaders! Enjoy it! You got this! - Kimberly S.
Look at old binders kept by the PTO treasurer to get an idea of what has been done. Meeting minutes and agendas also can be very helpful to learn what has been important to the group in the past. - Paige H.

Relax! You are a volunteer with a huge heart! That will make you a success! Smile and shine on! - Kindra P.
Delegate, follow up, reach out to other PTA presidents and ask for help. - Kristina P. 

Take every challenge one at a time and take them head on! If you start thinking of the hundreds of things that need to be done, you'll go crazy - Kelley H. 

Stay organized! Enjoy your time! Make friends! Always show compassion! Be respectful! Have fun! - Elisabeth H.

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