Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Time


So I have tossed and turned over this decision and things have happened...probably little signs from God telling me...it is time to step down as the President of the Windham PTA.

As I reflect back on my three years with the PTA, in this role (that is the only role I have held in this organization), I look back at stressful times, fond memories and moments that changed my life forever.

I remember when Zack brought home the pink flyer...the notorious PTA pink one. It talked about the need for volunteers to step up into PTA board roles. I thought...hey, now that group is a good idea...I would love to support my stepkids in school and give something back. When I connected with the then President, she told me that the PTA was in danger of disbanding...she was stepping down and no one was willing to step up to take on the job.

She said I was more than willing to come to a meeting...as I expressed interest in other board positions. The problem was, though, those other positions would not exist and nor would the group as a whole if no one stepped up to be President.

I told Rob one Summer evening in 2006, "I am going to a meeting to discuss the future of the PTA and how I can help...it is at one of the ladies homes in town." He said "great...thank you for taking such an interest in the kids..." etc etc...

I came back from the meeting that night and he asked, "how did it go?" and my reply? "I think I am the new President." He asked, "How do these things happen?" and the rest is history.

It has been a wild ride!! During my first board meeting, I walked into the most unfriendly room you could imagine. People weren't talking to each other...no one would make eye contact...and I was scared to death about what I had just gotten myself into.

I knew that one of my first goals would be to make everyone feel comfortable and wanted. We were all volunteers....shouldn't this be fun? I can proudly say that by my 2nd meeting, the vibe had turned around and we were off...most of our executive team was brand new and there was such fresh energy and creative ideas being tossed around...there was no looking back.

As many of you know, we have been building our first high school in Windham for the last several years. Election time was coming up and we decided as a group to take an active role in educating the public on their options and pushing for an option that would give us certain athletic facilities and a greenhouse for our science program. It was my first taste of politics and although at first I was petrified and felt bullied into speaking publicly on our stand and holding up signs, I truly was bitten by a bug.

Not everything passed during that election but because of our efforts, some things did pass and more progress was made on our high school plans. I also started to build some credibility in the community and meet some fantastic and influential individuals who have taught me so much.

I also learned some things the hard way. As a group, we made a few mistakes. At that time, I realized not everyone was a fan. One fellow resident, called the Attorney General on me and the PTA and I ended up getting a call at work. What I thought was a joke at first, turned out to be a serious complaint and we were issued a cease and desist that prohibited us from promoting our election beliefs on school property.

Scary? Yes! However, I have been through much scarier times in business and I found this time to be such a learning experience.

When all was said and done during my first year as President, we ended up winning the Top PTA unit in the State of NH. We were told at the Statewide Annual Conference, that we won this award with flying colors...no one even came close because of our grass roots advocacy initiative and the ongoing programs and education that we drove at all of our schools.

I am so proud of that award and the plaque still sits on my desk so I can look at it every day.

Last year was not as eventful, however, we continued to maintain some of the exciting programs we had started the year before. We also decided that during the election, instead of choosing to get behind a specific stand/article, we would make it our mission to educate the townspeople. It is disheartening, however, that after all of our hard work, only 1200 voters show up to the polls.

This year, I have felt that I have hit a wall. There seems to be some dissatisfaction among the group as I am not accessible during the day (I work whereas several board members do not) and I am now the mom of that beautiful little girl. Because of feeling some dissatisfaction and wanting to continue to impact my stepson's educational experience, I have decided that this will be my last year on the PTA board for awhile.

I am stepping down as President to give someone else a chance. I am also stepping down so that I have time to devote to the High School Boosters Program which is brand new. I am going to be heading up Publicity and PR and I am so excited. It is such a fun group and we already have plans in the works for some real fun fund-raising programs starting in the Spring- they will include a Gala and a Golf Tournament :)

Dr. Bass, our Superintendent, also called me personally. I was honored and even more excited. He asked me to be on a committee with him and a few others in town. This committee will make it their mission to publicize and educate the town on various educational initiatives coming down the pike.

In addition to the high school, there are several projects that need to be done- repairs to the other schools, a new middle school and public kindergarten starting this fall!

The PTA has been one of the highlights of my life...my plan is to rejoin...in some capacity once Diana is at Goldenbrook...until then...they are in great hands and I am ready to fly on to my next project once this school year wraps up :)

It's been real...

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