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Real (and Honest) Advice for New PTO and PTA Leaders

From remembering your "why" to setting boundaries and communication tips, our community shares their best advice for new PTO and PTA leaders.

by Kerri Beauchesne



We asked our amazing community of PTO and PTA leaders what advice they'd give to new board members and school volunteers, and well, let's just say, their wise words did not disappoint. (TBH, you might just want to bookmark this page for when you need a little boost!) 

"Biggest advice- you won’t ever please everyone. Remember why you took this on when times get tough. Try to have fun!"

"Set boundaries, you don't need to instantly reply to messages and emails. Set up clear communication for things through email or Google forms. Delegate - try to get a committee to help plan big events rather than the board members doing everything."

"No is a complete sentence."

"If someone doesn't like an event, program, etc., invite them to attend a meeting so that they have a voice in what is planned."

"Remember that we do this for the students."

"Take post-event notes so you remember all the things you learned."

"It's okay to not do everything. If the support isn't there, then somethings won't work."

"Take breaks. This "job" will suck you in and take up all of your time if you let it."

"Have fun with it! You and every other volunteer are there with the intention of bettering the school and your children’s learning environment."

"It is okay to say no and to delegate."

"You won’t please everyone. There will always be a complainer."

"Don’t compare your PTO to what other PTOs are doing. Every PTO has a different budget and volunteers."

"Remember that you are doing this for the kids and staff! Have fun!"

"Stay organized. If possible pass down notes/calendars from previous boards as a guideline to know where to start."

"Meet with Administration to establish their hopes for the year."

"Set a budget and stick to it."

"Decide up front your fundraisers and plan, promote, plan and promote.

"Understand flexibility - plans will change and have a backup plan to big events."

"You can’t please everyone. Above all, serve with a servant leaders heart."

"Remember your why: Why you joined. Why you volunteer. And remember, not everyone shares the same vision. Remember you! Remember to rest. Remember not everything can or will be perfect."

"PTO fulfills my commitment to being a lifelong learner in every way! Every obstacle I face is a teachable moment to myself and an opportunity for us to understand how to improve and grow our school community."

"Stay organized and plan early as possible. Make committees. Assign tasks, have meeting dates set. Communication, communication communication!!!! If you have an organized binder planned in your monthly/event order, it will make your school year run smoothly."


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