Heidi May Wilson, Senior Manager, Media Relations
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 28, 2021)—National PTA is pleased to announce that four PTA leaders from across the country have been selected to serve as Whole Child Fellows with the Center for Family Engagement over the next year. The fellowship is part of National PTA’s efforts to support the mental health and social and emotional well-being of children by helping parent and community leaders create solutions that enhance whole child learning and development.
The Whole Child Fellows are:
- Danni Kim (California)
Danni Kim is president of Benjamin Franklin Magnet Elementary School PTA in California and is an advocate for empowering children through social and emotional learning and development, diversity, equity, inclusion and art. She has a wealth of experience implementing relevant programming having previously chaired the culture of kindness committee.
- Ashley Miller (New Jersey)
Ashley Miller is president of Benjamin Franklin Elementary School PTA in New Jersey. Professionally, she holds a master’s degree in social work and is an adjunct professor, teaching introduction to sociology and student success. Miller uses her social work expertise to enhance families’ understanding of mental health terminology, policies and concepts.
- Laura Mitchell (Maryland)
Laura Mitchell is involved at every level of PTA and is the president of her grandchild’s school PTSA, and vice president of advocacy and chair of the substance use prevention committee for Montgomery County Council of PTAs. She is particularly passionate about ensuring equity in mental health and substance use prevention and treatment, trauma informed care and other issues that create barriers to student learning.
- Michelle Smith (Texas)
Michelle Smith is president of Northwest High School PTSA, vice president of programs for Gene Pike Middle School PTA, vice president of advocacy for Clara Love Elementary School PTA and programs chair for Northwest ISD Council of PTAs. Smith believes strongly in diverse and equitable learning for all children, focusing on the whole child. She also values providing volunteer opportunities for students and parents to model mentorship and build a strong sense of community.
“We are thrilled to have Danni, Ashley, Laura and Michelle as the Whole Child Fellows for our Center for Family Engagement,” said Anna King, president of National PTA. “Danni, Ashley, Laura and Michelle are exceptional and passionate leaders who are committed to ensuring the needs of the whole child are met—social, emotional, environmental, intellectual and physical—which is essential for student success and is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As fellows, Kim, Miller, Mitchell and Smith will expand their knowledge of whole child development approaches and best practices. They will also support the development of tools and resources that will help guide PTAs nationwide in advancing mental health and social and emotional well-being. Additionally, they will share their knowledge and experience with their local stakeholders and champion these issues in their own communities.
“Mental health is always among the most pressing issues to address, and especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Nathan R. Monell, CAE, National PTA executive director. “These Whole Child Fellows will play an important role in supporting PTAs across the country in helping their schools advance mental health and social and emotional well-being as well as advocating for improved mental health programs and services, which is critical to help children reach their fullest potential.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information, visit PTA.org.