It’s my favorite day of the week when we get to shine the spotlight on another fabulous PTO leader and highlight their story of involvement and learn from their experience.
This week, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Michelle West, an 11 year veteran of PTO in the Brentwood, California area.
As you’ll see, Michelle is an absolute rock star with a wealth of knowledge to share with us!
Tell us a little about your family and your PTO/PTA journey
I’m a mom of 2 very active young men, 16 and 12.
My PTO journey started when my oldest was in Kindergarten and I stopped two kinders walking off campus.
I contacted the Principal about needed supervision in the kinder loop and from that day I begin my volunteering.
By Spring the Principal called to invite me to a PTO meeting and I was voted in as Vice President.
I’ve been Vice President and President ever since.
Now being the President of my youngest’s Middle School and VP of the oldest’s High School, I’ve learned how different the PTOs are throughout the schooling journey.
The needs and requests are very different from elementary school.
I still go back to where it all started and help out with special projects.
I love being involved and my kids enjoy it as well.
Tell us about why you got involved in your school parent group?
I absolutely took after my mom, she was always at school volunteering in the classroom or PTA.
I’m lucky to be a stay at home mom and have that availability to be at school.
I feel it’s important to give back to the community, not only am I at school but involved in a lot of committees on the school district level.
What’s your favorite way to volunteer?
I love the events and raising money.
Seeing the joy in the eyes of the students as they get to do fun things.
The Holiday Luncheon and Staff Appreciation Weeks are my jam!
I love showing the school staff how much we appreciate them.
What’s coming up in your PTO/PTA that you’re excited about?
For high school we were invited to be apart of their Halloween Trick or Treating that Leadership puts on.
My living room couch is filled with over 3,000 pieces of candy that were donated.
I’m excited to decorate my car with the PTO board and see these cool high school kids being kids.
What’s something you’ve accomplished with your PTA/PTO that you’re super proud of?
That very first meeting I attended I remember the president saying they didn’t make their budget and if they didn’t donate the requested $150 to pull out your check book.
I was like heck no!
That next year as VP, I worked hard and helped raise over our budget and each year we raised more and more over our budget.
We were able to purchase the first Chromebook cart in the district.
We were able to increase the teacher reimbursements and made a wish list of items to purchase.
We checked off items on the wish list throughout the years.
I always worked a year in advance making sure that we have the budget already in the bank which came in handy once Covid hit.
We had the money to cover us the following year and provide extra support of teachers to distant teach.
What’s one piece of advice for PTO/PTA leaders who are just starting out you’d like to share?
Don’t burn yourself out, have committees and ask for help.
Regularly check in on your kids, a lot of time our kids get the short hand of the stick because we are too busy making sure the other kids are taken care of.
Lastly, have fun!
In a word, sum up your life as a PTO/PTA volunteer
Want to hang out with Michelle more?
Come join us in the Super Star PTO Leaders Facebook Group!