One of the most important aspects of being a local leader is to help build an effective, diverse PTA team, one that can get things done. The president leads not by dictating, but by working together with members, officers, chairpersons, principal, staff and community leaders to form an effective team focused on children.
To be successful, the leadership team should:
- Make every effort to ensure that your board is representative of the whole community. Work to retain experienced board members but also include individuals who may not have served on the board previously.
- Distribute materials promptly to your board and principal. You need to keep everyone informed.
- Meet early and regularly with the board of directors to plan and set goals you can reasonably achieve for the coming year. Build consensus and buy-in to your plans.
- Create a climate of support and mutual respect where people can contribute and grow, listen and try to understand fellow PTA members’ opinions. Use their suggestions. Identify and make use of members’ special interests or abilities.
- Share responsibility by letting others shoulder responsibility and asking everyone to train and encourage the leaders who will succeed them.
- Network with other community leaders, groups and agencies that share the goals of PTA.
- Reach out. The PTA team becomes stronger and is of greater service when it actively welcomes all groups in the community—young and old, single parents, dual-income families, families with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds, families with special-needs children and area businesses.
- Choose the time and location of PTA meetings to suit the schedules of all families.
- Invite retired citizens and newlyweds to contribute their talents and skills to the PTA. There is no age limit on concern for children’s well-being. You don’t have to be a parent of a K-12 student to be a PTA member nor do you have to have a child attending that school.
- Bridge the language barrier. Find ways to reach out to people in their native language. One great place to start is the National PTA website where a wealth of materials has been translated for you.
- Communicate with everyone regularly and often. And, don’t forget that communication is a two way street. Listen to what people are saying (both verbally and non-verbally – pay attention to their actions and inactions).
- Delegate to others. You should provide clear instructions and clarify your expectations. Provide adequate training and support. Follow up regularly.
- Find and train your replacement. Always be on the lookout for someone to serve in your position after your term is up.