Short on new leaders? These tips can help.

by Tim Sullivan


Right around the beginning of spring is when many current officers are looking to find either their own replacement, or more help for the leadership team next year. No one wants to be stuck doing the work of six people alone, and your group needs leadership to thrive.

But what do you do if no one is stepping up? This is one of the most frustrating challenges a group can have. The good news is, if you find yourself in this position, there are steps you can take to get the help you need:

  • If there are feeder schools (in other words, the level below your current school), talk to PTO leaders there.

  • Hold an event for incoming kindergarten parents. Scope out their interest in leadership.

  • Hold off on looking until back-to-school time, when everyone is more energized.

  • Look outside your normal channels. Is there a grandparent who would participate? Or a local senior (a retired teacher, for example)?

  • And if you take these steps and still find yourself short, it might not be the worst thing to go without. If you’re short a treasurer, see if the school business staff can help out. If you need a secretary, ask somebody to take notes at the beginning of each meeting. If you need a president, choose a different chair for each meeting. Work by consensus, and make sure everyone knows what tasks they are assigned when the meeting ends.

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

We have some great resources for assessing and developing new leaders:

10 Questions for Potential Leaders

Developing New PTO and PTA Leaders

Rethink Your Volunteer Outreach

Originally posted in 2016 and updated regularly.


# Maria Bach 2017-05-08 16:05
Can a PTO exist without a President? Our bylaws don't mention anything about what to do if the president position is vacant. Nomination forms for the upcoming school year have gone out but haven't seen any interest.

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