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What to do as a New PTO Leader

Soooo….  you’re a newly-elected PTO Officer.  Excited?  Sweet.   Freaked out or overwhelmed?  Don’t be.  In either case, this is the post for you!  I’m going to tell you exactly what you should be doing right now, so no worries..

#1 Relax

That’s right!  Relax!  I remember when I was first elected PTA President, I was all kinds of excited and chock full o’ ideas.  I kind of overwhelmed myself.  I was pretty new to the school (my son was just finishing up Kindergarten) and I was just getting acclimated to the school.

Here I was, the President-elect of a PTA for  400 student school.  But then I thought about it it, as you should as well, and although the responsibilities of any PTO officer are great, let’s be honest… we’re not moving mountains.  

Let me repeat: we are not moving mountains.

We’re just trying to do good for the students, teachers and families of the school.  And that’s an entirely different bar to set for yourself.  Much more achievable, don’t you think?

So always, always, always keep that in the back of your mind.  When you start to get stressed out, remember this.  It’ll help.

#2 Take deep breath + get ready

What exactly should you get ready for? Handwork, occasional frustration and success!

The stereotypes of PTOs run true to a certain extent.

I wrote about how mean people can be in in PTO Land.

So you should definitely prep yourself for that.  

People are going to be mean to you.  

They’re going to be rude.  

They’re going to be plain not nice.  

So get ready for that and expect it to happen.

If by chance it doesn’t, count yourself super lucky!

Bottom line: Be ready for the rude to happen and maybe then it won’t sting so bad.

Now for the success part.  
You’re totally going to find it because, well, you’re you!  

And you’re one capable mama.  But in order to claim the success, you gotta define it.  

Yes, you gotta know what you’re aiming for.

So how to get ready the best way?

#3 Plan it out!

Planning, my friend, is the key to it all.  

You won’t get anywhere unless you know where you’re going.  

Gotta have some goals and a plan with a path to get you to those goals.

Need a good PTO/PTA planner?  You should get this one.  

Seriously, though.  It’s awesome and I just updated it!  It’s has everything you need to run your parent group.  And this year, I made it fillable, so you can use it electronically or in a paper format.  Or both.  You decide.

#4 Identify Your Support System

Next, you’re going to need to find your buddies and support system.

You can find this support system in a few different places- your spouse, maybe friends who don’t live in the same city/school district as you, and even the teachers at your child’s school.  

You should lean on them when needed, depending on your relationship with them.  

Another support system is the Facebook group I’ve created just for PTO superstars like yourself.  Come join the conversation!

Likewise, you’re also going to want to identify your super-allies.  

You know- those people who you can vent to when you need it most.  

These allies shouldn’t be your spouse.  

Because there probably will come a time when your partner won’t want to hear about PTO stuff anymore!

#5 Set Boundaries

You’re a caring person, or else you wouldn’t be doing this.  But as a matter of self preservation, you gotta set some limits.  

I’m talking about limits as far as how much PTO work you’re going to do on any given day, in any given week.

Because the truth is, the amount of work you could be doing is pretty much endless.  But you can’t do that.  Because your kid has to eat.  Errands have to be run.  Laundry has to be done.

So if you feel like you might have the tendency to go overboard with volunteering (and I’m totally guilty of this myself), then you might want to set some hard and fast limits.  If you don’t want to limit your time strictly, then limit the number of days you’ll go in the school building.

This is going to be hard, I know, but you gotta do this for yourself.  Cause no one is going to do it for you!

Over to You!

Hope you feel less overwhelmed and more confident that you know what to do as a new PTO / PTA leader!


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