National PTA President- Laura Bay
Laura Bay takes helm of National PTA, will focus on diversifying the association’s education platform and strengthening programs that support the whole child
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (July 6, 2015) — Laura Bay, a parent and educator from Poulsbo, Wash., has been installed as president of National PTA, the oldest and largest volunteer child advocacy association in the United States. National PTA comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Bay’s installation took place during a ceremony held in conjunction with the 2015 National PTA Convention and Expo in Charlotte, N.C.
Bay is the mother of three adopted children. She has been an engaged parent and active in PTA ever since entering a kindergarten classroom with her oldest son more than 20 years ago. After first getting involved, Bay quickly realized, and firmly believes, that in order to help her own children succeed and reach their full potential, every child needed support and needed to see that someone cares.
In addition to her personal involvement in education and PTA, Bay also brings classroom and district-level experience to her role as president. She currently works for the Bremerton School District as a coordinator for assessment and instruction, and prior to this position, was a teacher in the district.
“Laura is a dedicated and passionate advocate for education and issues affecting children, and we are thrilled to welcome her as president,” said Nathan R. Monell, CAE, executive director of National PTA. “Her outstanding leadership, extensive personal and professional experience, and steadfast commitment to the mission of PTA will strengthen the association as it continues moving forward to improve the education and well-being of all of our nation’s children.”
Bay has served in a variety of positions and at all levels of PTA. For the past two years, she served as president-elect of National PTA. Prior to her election, she served a two-year term as secretary-treasurer and served on the National PTA Board of Directors as well as the finance, field service and organizational viability committees. In 2007–2009, Bay served as president of Washington State PTA. She also served on the Washington State PTA Board of Directors for six years as region director, secretary and leadership director. Additionally, Bay was involved in local unit, council and regional PTA activities for many years.
“PTA brings together families, educators, business and community leaders to solve the toughest problems and is a powerful voice for all children from schools and local communities to state legislatures and the halls of Congress. We understand and believe that opportunity starts and ends with access to a great education, and we are committed to working for the betterment of every child, every day,” Bay said. “I am honored to lead National PTA, and I am looking forward to working with the Board of the Directors, members, partners and staff to build on the legacy of the association, ensure that all children are provided a high-quality education and make every child’s potential a reality.”
As president, Bay is committed to diversifying National PTA’s education platform, strengthening programs that support the whole child, and advocating to make sure that all children have a safe place to live, learn and thrive. She will work to enhance the association’s STEM and early learning efforts as well as college and career programs. She also will focus on engaging diverse communities in education and PTA.
Bay will serve as president of National PTA until June 2017.
National PTA is the conscience of the country for children issues. Through advocacy, as well as family and community education, National PTA has established programs and called for legislation that improves children’s lives, such as:
- Early childhood education
- Health and wellness programs
- Family engagement
- School safety
- Juvenile justice
- Arts in education
For more information about National PTA and its programs and initiatives, visit PTA.org.
Past National PTA President Otha Thornton 2013-2015
Photo courtesy of Lifetouch School Portraits
CINCINNATI (June 23, 2013)—Mr. Otha Thornton was installed as president of the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), making history as the first African-American male chosen to lead the association. The ceremony took place at the PTA’s annual convention at Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, where he addressed the more than 1,000 attendees in his first official speech in the position.
“This is an exciting opportunity, and I am proud to have been elected to lead the charge for parents and teachers across the nation, and to ensure that our children have the tools and support they need to succeed,” Thornton said. “As president, I am committed to expanding PTA’s membership, leadership development and advocacy efforts to strengthen the association and fully empower families, teachers and communities to advocate for all children.”
Mr. Thornton brings unique experience and extensive involvement at all levels of the PTA to his leadership role. A retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel who earned the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations in 2009 and 2010 during Operations Iraqi Freedom, he and his family have lived all over the world, and his two children have been part of school systems in Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Texas, as well as the Department of Defense Schools overseas.
“We are thrilled to welcome Otha as president,” said Eric Hargis, executive director of National PTA. “His extensive leadership experience in various PTA roles across the country and globe bring a dynamic perspective that will energize the National PTA’s continuing work to promote children’s health, well-being and educational success through strong parent, family and community involvement.”
Mr. Thornton previously served on the Georgia PTA Board of Directors and on the PTA’s national Board of Directors. He currently resides in Savannah, Georgia, with his wife of 20 years.
“The PTA is critical in bringing the voices of parents to the forefront on issues, working together to strengthen school safety, provide kids with healthy, nutritious lunches and implement consistent learning goals across the country,” Thornton said. “Parents are an essential voice in the education reform debate, and we need to be much more than an audience. We need to be partners in the education of our children, and I am looking forward to engaging with diverse communities across the country to ensure that all parents have a voice in their children’s education.”
About National PTA
National Parent Teacher Association is dedicated to making every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. National PTA is comprised of 55 state congresses and nearly 26,000 local units in 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Pacific. More information about National PTA and our ongoing work is available on Twitter, Facebook and at www.pta.org.
Past National PTA President 2011-2013
Betsy Landers, of Memphis, Tennessee, became National PTA’s 52nd President on Sunday, June 12 during a special ceremony at the association’s convention in Orlando.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to expand my commitment to children and public education as the president of an association that makes a real difference in the lives of all parents and children across the country,” said Landers.
Representing a long line of visionary leaders since 1897, Landers will work to continue the association’s rich legacy of engaging parents, schools, legislators, and community leaders in improving children’s health, safety, and educational success.
“As president-elect the last two years, I’ve worked closely with out-going president Chuck Saylors and I’m committed to working with the national staff, state PTAs and members everywhere to continue taking action for all of our nation’s kids,” said Landers.
She will lead National PTA’s Board of Directors to continue long-term strategies and priorities that benefit families nationwide. They’ll continue to integrate PTA's core values with the association's strategic plan to speak for every child with one voice.
A member since 1989, Landers has held several positions from the local, state and national level, including: local PTA president, Tennessee PTA president, and National PTA secretary-treasurer.
As President of Tennessee PTA, Landers led that organization in working with the State Board of Education and several legislators to write what would become the Parent Involvement Act, using the PTA National Standards as a model. Now Tennessee law, the Act mandates that all school districts in the state have a written parent involvement policy.
Landers is married to Ben G. Landers and has three children; Benton, Nicholas, and Mary Frances.