Your PTA members look to you for leadership in creating partnerships within your community and fostering an environment where family engagement is encouraged and respected. Responsibilities include:
- Chairing board and general meetings
- Overseeing fiscal compliance
- Serving as a liaison with school administration or community partners
- Checking in regularly with officers and committees to ensure the overall plan is on target
- Identifying challenges and inviting solutions
- Familiarizing yourself with all PTA programs and resources
- Representing PTA to the community
- Recruiting and mentoring volunteers and future leaders
- Volunteering at events, when available
Great presidents often have leadership, planning and public speaking skills and experience.
A PTA President’s First 30 Days
If your team takes each of the following steps in (roughly) your first month in office, you'll be off to a fantastic start! These are great things to do during the summer months as you prepare for the school year.
There are several items you'll want to put your hands on right away, to be sure important records aren't lost in the transition. PTA records and materials belong to the unit, not to any one individual, and all materials should be passed on to the new leaders. These include:
- Your PTA's Bylaws. You and your board are responsible for following the bylaws, so you need to know what they say. If they are old and no longer relevant, one of your first moves should be to establish a bylaws revision committee to start the work necessary to make the document work for your current PTA. Your State PTA can help.
- PTA Procedure Book or "Board Book". Whether it is an electronic file, a cardboard box full of papers, or a binder thick with documents, get up to speed on what has happened in the past.
- The most recent audit. You may need to talk to the treasurer about this. If an audit did not occur after the latest transition of officers, make sure to get one done as soon as possible. You will want to start fresh with a new set of books, so be sure the previous accounts are "closed" or "zeroed out" and audited.
- Bank statements and electronic access. Make sure you have the usernames and passwords, documents, accounts, etc., to access your PTA's financial information.
Before you begin planning, it is important to understand your unique community's strengths and needs. You will do more of this in the months to come, but for now:
- Convene with the outgoing president and officers. Talk about how you will reach out into your school and community to understand the priorities for your PTA. What worked last year? What did not? Who do they see as volunteers to encourage and grow?
- Introduce yourself to the school personnel and administration. Ask about their priorities for the year and tell them you are interested in helping them achieve their goals. If your PTA is a community or district-wide PTA, reach out to district and community partners in your area and offer to work collaboratively.
- Introduce yourself to families and members of your PTA. Ask what they think is working or not working. It is important for members to see a smooth transition and to feel that new leaders welcome their questions, ideas, and participation in the year ahead. A great way to start is with a survey. Every interaction is an opportunity to encourage members to renew and new families or teachers to join.
Take these few, critical steps right away to safeguard your PTA's nonprofit status and protect your unit from theft, fraud, and liability.
- Your unit is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (all PTAs are), so ask your outgoing president or treasurer for the most recent IRS Form 990 filing. For more info, see Your 501(c)(3) Status.
- Change the signatures on your PTA's bank accounts. You will want to be sure previous officers no longer have access to your financial accounts. A transition letter from the outgoing treasurer to the bank may be necessary to enact this change.
Ask your state office if you are required to have insurance and when the payment is due. Insurance can protect your board members, events, and PTA property.