What’s it like to be on the PTSA Executive Team?
Heidi Johnston, PTSA Co-Secretary 2017-18
Why did you join the PTSA Executive Team? I had volunteered for many/most events as a parent and PTSA member over the years, and was so impressed with the kindness, caring and fun attitude that the PTSA board brought to every event.
How many years have you been on the board and positions fulfilled? I served as (one of the 5) Vice Presidents last year , which was a great introduction to organizing events from a different perspective. This year, I am co-secretary which has expanded my understanding of how the PTA board at each school functions as a (not for profit) company.
What were your expectations, goals, hesitations, or worries becoming a board member? I was informed that the board met for 2 hours per month, and additional hours as needed with event/program committees. I also understood that additional time commitments would depend on how many parents sign up to support school events. This variable can’t be predicted – and ends up as a logical leap of HOPE, that the community (of more than 1,200 parents) will step in to help maintain the 10-12 programs at a chair (or volunteer) level.
What did your children think about you being a PTSA board member? My kiddo loves seeing a parent around school, helping with events. His world as an only child (and no local family), is pretty small… so working with all of the amazing parents and faculty at Hazelwood, and participating in events there has been a HUGE blessing for us.
What were your biggest challenges being a board member? I am more strict about offering only events & programs that have support. I feel that the programs can/should flux with volunteer supply. If nobody signs up to chair an event at parent meet & greet in August/September, (even if that event may have been run every year since our new school was hatched in 2005), then the board should be able to let it go for that year. The community that year, will see what it is like to not have the funding for Fun Run, for example, or maybe they will find a better way for a fundraising event? Currently, when parents do not volunteer to chair events, the work is absorbed by the board.
What is your favorite memory or experience as a board member?
Two things come to mind….
- DEFINITELY the best thing ever has been the gift of working with such talented, wise, compassionate, Fun, patient, dedicated parents – all towards a common goal of improving/supporting our school for our kids & our community.
- This is silly, but I actually enjoyed attending the PTA conference this year. It was very interesting to me to learn how HUGE the national PTA is, how Roberts Rules of meeting decorum maintain consistency over the years, and the detailed information on how to perform each job on the PTA board was informative & inspiring! (yep, I’m a nerd).
When the time comes to leave the PTSA Executive Team what will you miss the most? My son will be at Risdon next year! I have really enjoyed working on yearbook the past 2 years, capturing memories,…but there is NO question, the thing I’ll miss most is the wonderful people I was lucky enough to share time with working on the Hazelwood PTSA board.
Vanessa Marriott, PTSA Co-Secretary 2017-18
Why did you join the PTSA Executive Team? The first year I was on the Executive Team it was a way for me to be involved and get to know the ins and outs of Hazelwood. The second year I decided to join, I was afraid no one else would step up and continue, and I didn’t want to see a lot of hard work go by the wayside without a team in place.
How many years have you been on the board and positions fulfilled? This is my second year on the Board. My first year I was a VP and this year I am a Co-Secretary.
What were your expectations, goals, hesitations, or worries becoming a board member? Initially, I was worried that there would be a lot of work for very few people to oversee. I didn’t want to get stuck committing to chair many of the school’s events, because it takes a lot of work to pull off a successful event. I was pleased to see the Board positions filled with many capable people. It has been great working with them and seeing how the workload has been shared by all.
What did your children think about you being a PTSA board member? My kids aren’t really aware of everything that is done by the Board. They know that I have meetings and seeing me off on those evenings is second nature to them now. I get a wave and “see you later” and that’s really it.
What were your biggest challenges being a board member? With anything that I decide to take on at school or away from it, I am keenly aware that my time during the day is limited. The biggest challenge that I have is not having enough time to do everything I want to do – with three kids and their activities, running household, volunteering with a playgroup, Bible study, and trying to keep sane – it’s difficult to achieve!
What is your favorite memory or experience as a board member? I really like to see that the work we do is making a difference in someone’s life. I love being able to see the fruition of the STEAM funds, kids having fun at a PTSA sponsored event, or just a note of thanks from the teachers appreciating our efforts.
When the time comes to leave the PTSA Executive Team what will you miss the most? It’s great to be a part of something that makes change happen for our students. I think it’s safe to say that the members of the Board do it all for the kids. The time, effort, and energy spent is because we genuinely care about the school and what happens with our students.
Karin French, PTSA Treasurer 2017-18
Why did you join the PTSA Executive Team? I could see the organization needs volunteers to be effective. As Andre’s term expired, they were searching for a treasurer. I’m a numbers geek, so this seemed like a good fit.
How many years have you been on the board and positions fulfilled? First year, first position!
What were your expectations, goals, hesitations, or worries becoming a board member? I was looking for a greater sense of community and to be closer to the school. I was concerned about the time commitment and impact on my work/life balance. I definitely have enjoyed the PTSA Executive Team! Who knew record retention review could be fun? (it was.) Since most of my contribution is outside school hours, I don’t know that I feel closer to the school, but having a way to contribute off-hours hasn’t been a huge impact on work/life balance.
What did your children think about you being a PTSA board member? They love seeing me in the office when I’m there to pick-up treasurer documents. I like that part, too.
What were your biggest challenges being a board member? We have few committee chairs this year, so the board is taking on that role. It feels like we’re a tiny tribe, trying to do a lot. I’d love to see more parents more involved in meetings, committee leadership and determining the direction of our organization.
What is your favorite memory or experience as a board member? I like the relaxed moments, like the document retention afternoon. We could talk and purge old documents while catching up with each other – it was really nice to get to know folks a little better.
Rebecca Gordon, PTSA Co-President 2017-18
Why did you join the PTSA Executive Team? I wanted to be involved in my son’s school experience and be aware of school happenings and activities. I felt I would be more help outside the classroom assisting with small needs to large events and ensuring the funds raised benefit all the students at Hazelwood.
How many years have you been on the board and positions fulfilled? I have been on the board for 2 years. The first year I was a VP, this year I am Co-President.
What were your expectations, goals, hesitations, or worries becoming a board member? I was nervous and thought it would be a bigger time commitment than it was. Two meetings a month, sometimes only one. I have met some great friends and parents! I know more about the school, I know more teachers, they recognize and know me and I don’t feel like a stranger in my own son’s school. I definitely feel part of the Hazelwood community.
What did your children think about you being a PTSA board member? Barrett loves it. He thinks it’s fun to see me periodically at school. I think he has a sense of pride that his mom is part of his school PTSA board.
What were your biggest challenges being a board member? Feeling a little overwhelmed at first. There are a lot of events and activities. However, as a Board, we work together as a team and step by step it gets done and isn’t as difficult as it first seems.
What is your favorite memory or experience as a board member? My favorite memories so far have been the board meetings (we have a lot of fun), the events like Fun Run, Harvest Carnival and the Auctions. I like event planning and I love seeing the kids have fun at the school events.
Hazelwood Elementary PTSA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit run entirely by volunteers. Our volunteers include parents, siblings, grandparents, alumni, school staff, community members, and local businesses.
Together, we organize events and programs that support our school and the Hazelwood community. We also raise funds that go directly back to students and the school.