This class was held on Aug 25, 2012 at our annual kick off


A president has charisma, a vision of the “big picture”, and is an efficient manager! They inspire participants to be motivated to accomplish the vision of the organization. Being a leader is a skill and a talent!

“…the job of a leader is to create a vision, establish overall goals related to the vision, and show the way and influence others to move in that direction.” PTO Today

  • You are President and the one to take the lead
  1. You represent your board, and your school. Be professional.
  2. You are the liaison between your board, administration, and community.
  3. Sometimes you will wear two hats (parent and leader)
  4. Preside and conduct all board meetings of the organization
  • Determine Vice President role. President Elect to serve as President nest year?
  1. Be sure all paperwork of the organization is properly filed. Yourself or delegate!
  2. Establish protocol for mass emails, and passwords (who gets them? How often?)
  • Know your Organization
  1. What type of organization? Formal or informal?
  • Follow non-profit laws
  • If incorporated, you are separate from the school
    • Work hand in hand with administration
    • Must still follow campus rules and district policy
  1. Support the Organizations Mission Statement/Purpose
  • It is not about your personal agenda.
  • Bylaws will spell out your organization’s purpose. Get on the same page.
  • Bylaws don’t spell out how to run event. President oversees events that support mission statement.
  1. Follow bylaws
  • Your bylaws are the ruling document of your organization and back you up!
  • Be aware of what your bylaws allow in regards to supporting candidates, propositions, etc.
  • Follow bylaws to change bylaws…if needed
  • Build relationship with Principal/Coach/Director, etc..
  1. Meet and set goals. Be prepared when you meet. Have a list of questions/ideas. Take notes. Be respectful of their busy time. Say thanks!
  2. Work together. Your organization is not their “personal fundraising program or volunteer pool”. You operate separately but are there to support. However, you are on their campus and they can choose not to recognize your organization. We’re all here for the kids!
  3. Meet regularly. Keep them in the loop. Ask their suggestions.
  4. Invite them to your board meetings.
  5. Be respectful of boundaries. You have your areas to be in charge, and your principal, coach/directors have theirs.
  6. What if there is a problem?
  • Talk, train, appreciate your principal/coach.
  • Last resort, you may have to go over their head to the district (or administration if it is a coach/director) as a group.
  • Communication is key
  1. With parents, teachers. Your board members should be your organization cheerleaders!
  2. Train your new board. Your leadership style. Bylaws. Duties of each board member.
  • Perhaps a meeting to review bylaws and duties, or a one on one meeting to determine duties and vision.
  1. Use names!
  2. Avoid saying “we’ve always done it this way…”
  • Listen
  1. To fellow board members, teachers, principal, parents, etc..
  2. Don’t dismiss new ideas or your fellow board members.
  3. Only address your parent organization issues. Direct them to the correct person (a parent doesn’t like a school policy, send them to the principal. It is not a PTSO issue)
  • Delegate! Lead with confidence, not dictatorship.
  1. Help everyone feel useful, even for small tasks, phone calls, work on computer, work from home, etc.
  2. It’s okay to ask for help!
  3. Give chairmen their budget and a timeline. Have them report progress, but let them take the lead and make decisions.
  4. As president, you are ultimately responsible for events to be completed, however, you have a team to work with. Oversee and direct, but don’t micromanage.
  5. As president, your bylaws probably allow you to be ex-officio member of all committees…this does not mean you have to! However, you should be aware of what your committees are doing.
  • Final product will reflect on you and the organization


  • Run a good meeting! Don’t waste everyone’s valuable time.
  1. Communicate. Be sure everyone is aware of meeting and location is secure.
  2. Start on time. Have enough seating.
  3. Preside, don’t sway decisions. President can abstain from voting unless to break or create a tie.
  4. Establish a quorum to conduct business (refer to bylaws)
  5. Be familiar with bylaws. If something controversial comes up, consider tabling until next meeting to review your organizations policies.
  6. Be enthusiastic! Nurture new members. Introductions.
  7. Agenda. You or secretary should get it out early enough for additions/changes.
    1. Follow it!
    2. Follow Robert’s Rules of order, if needed
    3. Stay on task! Save the chit chat for after the meeting.
    4. Committees don’t need to report on every detail. Just give an update.
  8. Voting.
  • Approve minutes. Approve treasurer report. Elections.
  • Motion. 2nd. Discussion. Vote. (only motion and outcome in minutes)
  1. Meeting suggestions from PTO Today:
  2. Conduct business one item at a time. Jumping around from one item to another can be confusing, and it generally delays progress on any of the items.
  3. Let committees do their work. Your general meeting is to resolve the major issues. Save everybody’s time by letting committees deal with the smaller details.
  4. Don’t allow crosstalk. Require all speakers to address the chairperson. This helps you keep control and ensures everyone will hear the business at hand.
  5. Limit discussion to the topic at hand. Keep things focused, and don’t be shy about asking speakers to deal only with the current topic.
  6. Cut off discussion when it becomes redundant. For controversial issues, setting a time limit for each speaker can help. When discussion becomes circular, summarize the points on each side and ask for anything new–or shut off discussion by calling for a motion.
  • Decision making. As president, you will have to make some final decisions.
  1. Consensus. Not a vote, but everyone agrees.
  2. Accommodation. Not everyone will agree, but may go along with it.
  3. Formal vote. Majority determines decision.
  4. Be sure to allow time for discussion with decision making options. Listen!
  5. Suggest chairmen or committees make decisions (how to advertise, which rides to choose, etc.)
  6. Whatever the outcome, the board should stand united
  • Finances
  1. Follow bylaws
  2. As president, you should have access to all accounts, passwords, keys, etc.
  3. Be sure bank statements are not sent to someone’s home and are reviewed monthly by several people.
  4. Know how to read the treasurer’s report!
  5. Know bank balance
  6. Who has the checkbook and who can sign
  7. Tax ID and your fiscal year
  8. Know when incorporation, tax, district paperwork are due
  9. Be sure Treasurer is following bylaws and non-profit laws
  • Get to know your campus
  1. Where are items you need? What access are you allowed? Custodians can be your best friend!
  2. When is best time to be on campus?
  3. Leave copies of minutes/bylaws in front office (per Clyde)
  • Public Speaking
  1. Be prepared. What points do you want to cover? Write it down.
  2. Speak to your audience type (your board, parents, students)
  3. Get to the point
  4. Practice your presentation
  5. Parents respect that you volunteered for a difficult job!
  6. Connect with the audience. Think of it as a conversation. Make eye contact with individuals. Ask a question to break the ice…Who is new to school?
  7. If something goes wrong, make a joke of it!
  • Not everyone will like you…get over it!
  1. Don’t take things personally
  2. Discuss disagreements. Take emotion out of discussion.
  3. Consider the source. Is it legitimate or hearsay?
  4. Address in person, if possible. You are the leader. Take charge.
  5. Invite the complainer to be on the committee. Stop the negative remarks before they go public.
  6. Handle criticism about your organization as the leader. If parents complain to you about principal, coach, teacher, direct them to speak to the appropriate administration. That is not your job.
  • Know how to run elections when your term is over. Follow bylaws.
  • Why do we do it? To make a difference in our children’s lives!

How to recognize a micromanager




make the most

Of your leadership role!

“…the job of a leader is to create a vision, establish overall goals related to the vision, and show the way and influence others to move in that direction.” PTO Today


Rate Your

Leadership Skills

Take the quiz to see what your strengths

are as a leader and determine which skills

could use some work.


1. It’s a week before the big fall festival and the committee

cochairs tell you they have everything under control. You:


a. Feel lucky to have such capable leaders in charge and

are relieved you don’t have to do it all yourself. (2)

b. Ask them whether they remembered to use the event

checklist. (1)

c. Would never delegate such an important task. (-1)


2. The principal tells you that reports of bullying have

skyrocketed this year. You:


a. Think it’s none of your business until your own child

is bullied. (-1)

b. Research how other schools have addressed the issue

and bring ideas to the group. (2)

c. Plan a town meeting for parents on the subject. (1)






3. Last year, you served as treasurer. When you hand

over the records to your successor, you give her:


a. A perfectly organized notebook and a flash drive with

the budget spreadsheets. (2)

b. A jumble of papers she will be lucky to make heads

or tails of. (1)

c. An apology. You’re still trying to find where you put

that box of receipts. (-1)

4. At a board meeting, officers cannot agree about which

cookie dough company to use for a fundraiser. You:


a. Make the decision yourself. (0)

b. Ask the fundraising chair to share the pros and cons

of each vendor with the board. (2)

c. Tell the fundraising committee to figure it out on

its own. (1)


5. A parent complains that the PTO is always asking

for money. Your first instinct is to:


a. Show them the door. (-1)

b. Ask for their input on what the group should do

differently. (2)

c. Vow to provide more tangible benefits to families. (1)


6. The parent group has raised all the money it needs

for new playground equipment. You:


a. Decide the group should buy the biggest climbing

wall there is. It’s your son’s favorite. (-1)

b. Form a subcommittee to research products, vendors,

and safety requirements. (2)

c. Put off the decision on how to proceed until next

fall, when someone else takes office. It’s just so

much trouble. (1)