If you ask new National PTA President, Anna King, about why she is so passionate about our mission work, you will get a firm, immediate answer, “It’s all for our kids.”
As a mother of three and a proud grandmother of 11, King firmly believes everything is possible for all children when we put our egos aside and work inclusively together to make sure our mission works for every single child in the United States.
Her Journey with PTA
With over 20 years of leadership experience at all levels of PTA, including Oklahoma PTA president, King still volunteers at the local level and loves working with students as they use their voices for change.
King says as we focus on the growth and well-being of the children and families in our school communities, we must practice servant leadership. She first learned this from her mother.
“When we had work to do around the house, my mother would always tell us to roll up our sleeves and get the work done, together,” King said.
“The pandemic brought much needed attention to the inequities in our schools and communities that have existed for far too long. PTA will continue to tackle tough— but necessary—conversations in the coming years to create a better future for our children. And we must do it together, as ONE PTA.”
Under King’s leadership over the next two years, PTA will focus its work in three key areas:
- Growth in mission and membership
- Leadership development
- Organizational effectiveness
The association will also focus on diversity, equity and inclusion for justice; the PTA brand—which includes culture and communications for a new era—and advocacy for impact at all levels.
We sat down with Anna to discuss her PTA journey and her goals for her term as the association’s 57th national president.
How has your experience as a PTA parent shaped your leadership?
I have always used my voice to speak up for my children and family. Becoming a member and a leader in PTA has enriched that voice. PTA provided the mentors, tools, resources and experiences that helped me learn how to run a small non-profit business, work with a budget on many levels, and create working relationships with everyone from teachers, administrators and school board members to public officials and community leaders across the country.
I have learned how to create and understand policy, became a public speaker, facilitator, trainer and a very vocal advocate for all children. I’m extremely grateful for the many lessons and opportunities I have been given throughout my PTA journey. Each one has enabled me to become the leader I am today.
What is your advice to the PTA leader who’s trying to grow their membership?
Ask everyone to join and provide the reason “Why” you need them as a member of your PTA/PTSA. Every person in your school and community should be a member of your PTA! Our association is inclusive, and we must stop being selective about who we engage or ask to join. People will join our association if they are asked and shown how their membership will support our children, teachers and school communities.
Why are diversity, equity and inclusion so essential in our PTAs and school communities?
Because we advocate for all children! Diversity identifies the uniqueness we have as humans. We are stronger because of our differences. Equity means we are being fair and confirms we are providing our students and families with the tools and resources they need to succeed. Inclusion puts our practice of diversity into action.
By creating an environment that is welcoming, we will encourage a positive culture. We can’t be successful advocates for ALL children, if all voices are not recognized in the room, welcomed to have a seat at the table and given the tools they need to be successful.
What’s the one thing parents need to know about PTA?
PTA is for all children. We are not a fundraising association. We are child advocates that are committed to bringing knowledge, tools and resources into our schools and communities that support our families. Being a member of our wonderful association lends your voice to other child advocates that speak up for every child, from the classroom to Capitol Hill.
You have 11 grandchildren, how do you help your children support their own kids’ needs?
My children were taught at a young age how to use their voices to create change. They have been with me at every step of my PTA journey. They have seen the difference it makes when you have working relationships with teachers, staff and community leaders. Those relationships personally impacted each one of them while in school and growing up in our community.
Watching my children become parents has been a blessing. They are loving, dedicated, supportive and engaged in my grandchildren’s lives. I support them by continuing to be their mother and their biggest cheerleader. If they need me to be that LOUD voice in the room, they know I’m only a call away.