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Ask the Outgoing PTO Officer THIS Before They Leave

PTO Officer Transitions: What You Gotta Do

You’ve been elected to a new position.  Congratulations!

Now what?  The very first thing I recommend is to reach out to the outgoing officer or committee chair and schedule a transition sit down with them.  

Now, if they have been awesome and have been documenting everything for the next person to take on the role, count yourself totally lucky.  Because that doesn’t always happen.  

In either case, you undoubtedly will have questions about things that haven’t been written down.  And that’s where the sit-down domes into play.  It’s an opportunity to get the answers to everything that you’ll need to know about how to do your job!  

But what are the questions you should be asking?  I have a run down of some of the questions I’ve asked in the past and some of the questions I wished I had asked:

How much time did you really spend on this position?

Because you’re a smart cookie, I bet you already have some idea, but now’s the time to get confirmation if you don’t already know.  This answer to this question is just to give you a general idea of the time commitment.  

Whatever the number is, just use the information to give you of the level of commitment you’re going to need to make.  Of course, if your predecessor didn’t do such a hot job, you’ll have to put in more time to do the job well.  But if your predecessor was an overachiever, you can go there yourself or reel it in a little.  

Again, lemme stress that this is just to give you a general idea.  It’s not carving out anything in stone or meant to induce guilt, anxiety or overwhelm.

Who were your go to supports in the school?

Knowing who are true allies within the school is information pure gold, baby!  It’s always good to know who you can turn to when you need help, especially when some of those people might not have already been on your radar.

What worked?  What didn’t work?

Both of these things can be asked on two levels- on the macro level and micro!  It’s always a good idea to know generally what did and didn’t work as well as on the event or program specific level.

What should change?  What shouldn’t change?  What suggestions do you have for how things should change?

The answers to these questions are also a gold mine of info for you.    Out going officers who were the boots on the ground should be able to rattle off a bunch of things for you that will help give you an idea of how to proceed: a copy and repeat everything, start from scratch or a mix of the two.

What pitfalls could I run into?

Again, this is a great question to arm yourself with the exact information you’ll need to do the job.  I tend to be the sort of person who inadvertently can step into things, so I like to have a heads up about problem areas.  That way, I can try to avoid them!

What did they wish someone had told them when starting this position?

This catch all question is pure genius because this gets down to the nitty gritty of matters and cuts right to the chase!  I love this there may be several things that you wouldn’t otherwise know, or discover late.

colorful binder and planner kits for pto pta leaders on white background

Even more guidance

Before you go, lemme suggest another tool to make the transfer of info from officer to officer go infinitely smoother:  PTO Success Kit.  It has forms that officers and committee chairs can use to help get the knowledge about how to actually run the PTO put of their head and down on paper! 

Over to you!

These questions will allow you to get the most out of your time with the outgoing officer.  I’ve never met a PTO volunteer who has oodles of time (seriously, how do we do it all?), so you’ll want to make the most of the time with the outgoing officer!  It’s best you get a game plan together and figure out what you want to know.  Prepare yourself to dig for gold during your convo.  It’ll help you immensely to get all of this information and whatever else they’re willing to offer up!

What other questions would you add?  Let me hear it in the comments below!


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