The PTA nominations and elections process is designed to ensure officers are selected using a fair and transparent process. But, it can feel daunting at times – especially when it’s difficult to find people to fill the positions. The following steps might help streamline the process and ease the workload.
The Nominating Committee is elected by your membership at a General Membership Meeting. Your by-laws may specific when this meeting needs to take place.
Most by-laws say the committee should consist of 3 – 5 members. This is so there is an odd number in case of a tie. The only person who can’t be on the committee is the current president. People who would like to run for office may be on the committee. The committee’s job is to put together the officer slate, but that doesn’t mean they should be the only people who are nominating. Any board member – including the President – can nominate officers. As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to make sure at last part of the Nominating Committee are current board members because they have a good idea of what’s needed to be on the board and can easily answer questions. But, the committee doesn’t have to consist entirely of current board members.
The committee develops the slate for your elected officers only, which are outlined in your by-laws. Committee Chairs are appointed, typically by the President and/or officers. However, most PTAs find it makes sense to promote all positions at the same time.
Promoting your Board Positions
Board positions can be promoted in a variety of ways, including:
- PTA committees – committee members are great people to join the board since they are familiar with the work of PTA
- Recommendations from school administrators and/or teachers. Ask teachers who has been involved in the classroom and who they think would make a great PTA leader.
- Social media
- Outreach to incoming parents. Middle and high schools can ask their feeder elementary schools to promote to 5th and 8th grade parents.
- Fliers and announcements at a school event
- Emails to current PTA members. Click here for a sample nominations email.
- Individual asks – sometimes people don’t think about an opportunity until someone they know asks them!
Additional tips for Board Promotions
- Some PTAs use a form to solicit nominations. The form can include the nominator’s name and contact information and the following information for the nominee: name, contact information, PTA experience, other relevant details.
- When promoting your elected officer positions, be sure to promote committee chair positions as well. Depending on your structure, you might have those interested in elected officer positions contact the Nominating Committee Chair and those interested in Committee Chair roles contact the President. Alternatively, all inquiries could go to the same person for simplicity.
- All PTA positions should be advertised (even if there is someone interested in a role) to provide equal opportunity. However, when individuals reach out with inquiries it’s okay to let them know which positions don’t have any interest since some people may only be interested in those.
- Provide brief job descriptions to give people an idea of what they would be responsible for. More lengthy descriptions and processes can be saved for after someone has expressed interest.
- Provide a realistic idea of the time commitment, while also letting people know that some positions vary depending on the board goals for the year. For example, a Programs Chair might have a smaller commitment if the board decides to do fewer programs.
- Consider co-chairs when possible, to ease the workload.
- Ask current board members to share personal stories about why they enjoy being on the board.
- Share the impact that PTA has on the school, to give people a tangible reason to be a part of the team.
Once you’ve promoted your officer positions, the next step is for the Nominating Committee to develop the officer slate. The slate consists of one person for every elected officer position. If someone is nominated for a position, someone on the committee should reach out and ask if they accept the nomination. The committee then selects the slate from everyone who was nominated and accepts.
The qualities for consideration will vary for each unit, but generally it’s a good idea to look at the following:
- Ability to make the time commitment
- Commitment to the PTA mission and to the school
- Previous PTA experience is ideal, although not always possible
- Specific skills depending on the role (such as leadership skills for President or financial skills for Treasurer)
Publish the slate in advance (look at your by-laws for the specific number of days). This announcement should include a note that PTA members can run “from the floor” if desired. Running from the floor means that their name would be brought up during the elections meeting, and the members would be able to vote on their or the person on the slate. It’s a good idea to provide a deadline for people to let the committee know if they want to run from the floor so there is time to check that they are a PTA member.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
In order for PTA to best serve our school communities, our board should be representative of our school. It’s important for diverse voices to have a seat at the table and on the leadership team to ensure PTA is achieving our mission of serving all children. Our DEI Toolkit helps PTAs no matter where they are on their DEI journey, including reasons why PTAs aren’t as diverse as we should be and tips for having difficult conversations about diversity.
Click here for more details from Florida PTA, including a sample script for an elections meeting. Note that the process and the meeting don’t have to be as formal as suggested. The most important thing is to make sure the process is transparent and open to all who are interested, so that everyone has an equal opportunity.