A President’s Tips by Michelle Ciulla Lipkin – PS 199, Manhattan
10 Things to Remember as President 1) The principal is the school leader. He/she was probably at the school before you arrived and will most likely be there after you leave. Create a strong partnership with your principal but remember to respect his/her authority.
2) Everyone is a volunteer. Every parent that does anything for the school is doing it in their free time and out of the goodness of their heart. Treat them well. Appreciate them. You can’t do it without them.
3) All committees do amazing work. Every committee has their priorities and their goals. It’s your job to balance the needs and requests of all the committees and to prioritize for the school as a whole.
4) The PTA buck stops with you. If there is a conflict with scheduling, an argument between committee chairs, a mistake in a flyer that went out, a grievance from a parent, it ultimately lands on you. Keep in the loop Stay involved. Check in with your chairs and your board. Know what is going on.
5) You can’t please all the people all the time. Don’t even try. Be consistent and clear with people.
6) Delegate. You have amazing, capable parents at your school who want to help. Find them and then let them help.
7) Say “no.” You are going to need to say no to ideas and suggestions. You can’t do everything.
8) The PTA is not the school. Some things are for the principal. Some things are for the SLT. Some things are for the custodian. Be clear what the line is and stick to it.
9) Say “thank you.” Say “thank you.” Say “thank you.” To everyone. All the time. Whether it’s the person who helps out at the bake sale or the people who co-chair your auction, everyone deserves appreciation and wants it.
10) Stick together. Your co-president is your partner through it all.* Get on the same page before going to meetings or responding to tricky emails. Copy each on everything. Trust each other. You are a team. You can’t do this alone! *If you don’t have a co-president, this refers to your vice president.