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2017 Advocacy Awards Winners

Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award

Georgia PTA

Georgia PTAGeorgia PTA dedicated its efforts over the past year to advocating against the Opportunity School District ballot initiative, which would have put a state political appointee in charge of public schools with few accountability measures and removed control from locally elected school boards and families. Georgia PTA members traveled the state, creating and participating in town hall meetings to educate and empower voters. The association also partnered with other organizations to produce television commercials, a social media campaign and a direct mail campaign. During its annual Georgia PTA Advocacy Day at the state capitol building, the association organized a training session on the ballot initiative, an advocacy walk and a rally with a press conference. Due to the advocacy efforts of Georgia PTA, the proposed ballot initiative failed—with 60% of the voters in the state voting “no”—effectively ensuring that families and local elected officials continue to have control over their students’ education. 

Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Council PTA

Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Council PTA

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District was facing funding challenges because of outdated state school finance laws in Texas. Members of the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District Council PTA came together to advocate for using the only available means of raising additional funds locally—a Tax Ratification Election (TRE). The Council PTA used its network of PTAs to register voters and educate the community on the TRE. The association also invited elected officials to meetings, wrote letters to the editors of newspapers and had PTA members speak at school board and city council meetings. Despite having no budget and facing a $50,000 opposition campaign, the Tax Ratification Election advocated by Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District Council PTA passed, successfully saving critical academic, athletic and arts programs from being cut in their schools.

Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award

Rose Acerra (New Jersey)

Rose Acerra

Rose Acerra has been a dedicated PTA advocate since her children entered school. As president of New Jersey PTA, Acerra led efforts to include cameras on school bus extension arms to deter cars from speeding past; create a fairer state education funding formula; and require higher academic standards for all students across the state. Additionally, after the signing of the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA)—the federal law that governs K-12 education, Acerra worked to get parents a seat at the table where the New Jersey Department of Education was developing the state education plan. Now, New Jersey PTA is a critical resource and partner for the New Jersey Department of Education in the planning and implementation process of ESSA and is helping to ensure that students receive the education they deserve.

Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award

Christian Ranieri (New York)

Christian Ranieri

Christian Ranieri has long been an advocate for children with special needs. Since age 13, Ranieri has fought to get his school district to recognize the need for positive behavior goals, including through the teaching of social skills and the inclusion of students with disabilities in extracurricular activities. Through his efforts, Ranieri has not only influenced his school community to embrace better practices in recognizing and educating students with disabilities, but also his state, as a Youth Ambassador for Self-Advocacy in New York and a member of the New York Department of Education's Youth Advisory Panel. Ranieri continues to work hard to dispel the "mystery" of autism and students with disabilities among his peers by proposing and collaborating on awareness programs.

About the Awards

Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award

The Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award is presented to a state PTA that, through their dedication, leadership and efforts positively affected legislative and/or regulatory policy compatible with PTA’s mission and goals. These efforts must be based on a statewide issue, involve working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration, and contain a public awareness/advocacy training component for PTA members and the community at large.

Outstanding Local/District/Regional PTA Advocacy Award

The Outstanding Local/District/Regional PTA Advocacy Award is presented to a local, district, council or regional PTA that, through their dedication, leadership and efforts positively affected legislative and/or regulatory policy compatible with PTA’s mission and goals. These efforts must include an education/learning component for PTA members and the community-at-large. Working with multiple organizations or coalitions through grassroots collaboration is preferred.  

Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award

The Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award is presented to an individual PTA member, who through their leadership and advocacy efforts, affected federal policy priorities within PTA’s annual Public Policy Agenda. Shirley was a model of public service and volunteerism throughout her life. She was an impassioned and compassionate leader, dedicated to moving PTA forward and committed to ensuring that others would follow. 

Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award

The Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award is presented to a young person—who—through his or her creativity, leadership, and dedication, has positively affected policy or change in his or her school or community in a way that aligns with PTA’s mission and goals.

PTA Congressional Voice for Children Award

The PTA Congressional Voice for Children Award is given to two Members of Congress each year (bicameral, bipartisan) in recognition of outstanding leadership related to child and education advocacy. Congressional award winners are nominated and selected by the National PTA Legislation Committee and National PTA President.

 


 

2016 Advocacy Award Winners

View our 2016 Advocacy Award Winners