2018 Advocacy Awards Winners

In This Section



Outstanding State PTA Advocacy Award

New York State PTA

New York State PTA has dedicated its efforts over the past several years to educating the public about the dangers of e-cigarettes and advocating for legislation to make it more difficult for youth to purchase e-cigarettes as well as to end the marketing of e-cigarettes to children. During the 2017 legislative session, PTA members met with over 40 state legislators and senior gubernatorial staff to advocate to protect youth against e-cigarettes. New York State PTA also posted on social media, in multiple e-newsletters, conducted several parent workshops and worked with other advocacy organizations during its campaign. New York PTA successfully advocated to impose a tax rate of $0.10 per milliliter on e-cigarettes. PTA members also successfully advocated to expand the definition of tobacco products to include vapor products used in electronic delivery systems such as e-cigarettes, hookah pens and vape pens in the Clean Indoor Air Act and ban their use on school grounds.

Outstanding Local PTA Advocacy Award

Huntsville Council of PTAs (Alabama)

Huntsville Council of PTAs conducted an advocacy campaign to educate voters about ad valorem tax proposals, which would have devastating consequences for school districts in Alabama if they were not renewed. Huntsville Council of PTAs partnered with other local non-profits and advocacy associations to secure the 200 signatures needed to request that the renewals be added to the ballot for a special election held in December. Once added to the ballot, PTA leaders sent information about tax renewal meetings to their neighborhood associations. Huntsville Council of PTAs and two other organizations also provided financing to purchase yard signs for families at each school as well as other community members. The PTA also promoted the importance of the tax renewal at meetings and leadership trainings as well as on social media, the radio and TV prior to the election. Voters overwhelmingly supported the renewal of the taxes Dec. 12, securing funding for schools in the area for another 30 years.

Shirley Igo Advocate of the Year Award

Angie Gallo (Florida)

Among her many advocacy efforts, Angie Gallo worked alongside the advocacy organization “Recess Moms” to urge the passage of a bill to require 20 minutes of daily recess for all elementary students in Florida. She met with many Florida legislators on both sides of the aisle to gain support for this important piece of legislation, including the speaker of the house. The recess mandate become law in the summer of 2017, and Florida become the first state in the country to meet physical activity recommendations for its elementary school students. Gallo has served as legislative chair for Florida PTA for the past three years, working tirelessly to build relationships with legislators as well as with lobbyists and advocacy allies. Her efforts have changed the way many policymakers view Florida PTA, garnering new respect for the association’s voice and a seat for the association at many tables.

Outstanding Youth Advocate of the Year Award

Eleanor Schoenbrun (Texas)

Eleanor Schoenbrun dedicated her efforts to improving the courtyard at Franklin High School to make it a safe and welcoming space for students to gather and eat lunch. She began her advocacy campaign by writing and securing grants from Disney and generationOn. She also successfully advocated for Franklin High School PTSA to donate funds to purchase shaded tables for the courtyard. Through Schoenbrun’s efforts and leadership, the courtyard is now fit to hold school pep rallies and student bands performances and is a welcoming environment for students during lunch. Schoenburn plans to continue her efforts by meeting with administration and food services personnel to create a menu that attracts more students to stay at school and eat lunch in the courtyard.

Congressional Voice for Children Award - Senate

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC)

Fueled by a desire to make a difference in his local community, Senator Tillis’ involvement in public service began by serving as president of the PTA at his daughter’s high school. Since arriving in Washington, Senator Tillis has been a leader on family engagement and has been supporting the SFECs program, including advocating for funding for the program during the FY2017 and FY2018 appropriations processes. Senator Tillis has also established himself as a leading voice for bipartisan immigration reform that addresses the undocumented population. Senator Tillis currently serves on the Committee on Armed Services, Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.


Congressional Voice for Children Award - House

Representative Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA-11)

Representative DeSaulnier is a member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He introduced the bipartisan Family Engagement in Education Act in the 114th Congress. His leadership on family engagement was also instrumental in ensuring that the Statewide Family Engagement Centers (SFECs) program was included in the Every Student Succeeds Act as well as offering an amendment to fund the program in the U.S. House of Representatives FY2018 appropriations bill. In addition to family engagement, Representative DeSaulnier worked in a bipartisan manner to introduce the School Food Modernization Act and is a co-sponsor of the IDEA Full Funding Act and the Rebuild America’s Schools Act.

 

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 PTA Advocacy Award

The Outstanding Local 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.