Betsy Landers

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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Betsy Landers was installed as the National PTA®President at the June 2011 National PTA Convention and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida. She previously served a two-year term as National PTA President-elect (2009–2011) and Secretary-Treasurer (2007–2009). Her role in National PTA also included chairing the National PTA Advisory Board, the National Council of States, the Strategic Plan Committee, the Resource Development Committee, and the Finance Committee. Landers was a key player in negotiating new partnerships and alliances for the association to increase PTA’s role in serving diverse families, as well as improve the financial strength of the association.  

From the moment she joined PTA® in 1989, Landers’ dedication to PTA has been unwavering. When she encountered challenges with her first PTA experience, she stayed with the group to ensure future volunteers had a better experience. When her children transferred to a new school, she helped form its first PTA and served as unit secretary. When her children transferred yet again, she helped form the first PTA in their new school, this time as president. She took on increasing responsibilities for Shelby County Council PTA, and then for the Tennessee PTA Board of Managers. Her goal was to help foster a widespread culture of excellence throughout the PTA local units in her state.  

As Tennessee PTA State President, Landers led that organization in working with the State Board of Education and several legislators to write what would become the Parent Involvement Act, using what is now called the PTA National Standards for Family-School Partnerships as a model. This Tennessee law mandates that all school districts in the state have a written parent involvement policy. In 2004, she was honored with the Shelby County Schools Board of Education Community Service Award and in 2002, was named one of the "50 Women Who Make a Difference" by Memphis Women’s Magazine.  

Landers has a special devotion to children’s safety. She dedicates time to the National Emergency Medical Services to Children (EMSC) Partnership for Children Stakeholder Group, the Tennessee EMSC Foundation, the Committee on Pediatric Emergency Care, and the Trauma Care Advisory Committee of Tennessee.  

Although she occupied the highest office in PTA, Landers recognized that the real power of PTA lies at the local level and took a “back to basics” approach as the cornerstone of her tenure as National PTA President. “It’s the parents who dedicate themselves to improving their children’s education, PTA members who are committed to advocating for all children—those are the people who make a real difference.”  

Landers and her husband Ben G. Landers have three children—Benton, Nicholas, and Mary Frances. They make their home in Germantown, Tennessee.