The National PTA has named Laura Bay, a former educator and parent of three, as president of their organization leading over 4 million members. She succeeded former President Otha Thornton at the organization’s 2015 Convention and Expo in Charlotte, N.C. on June 28.
Bay began her long career with the nonprofit over 20 years ago when her eldest son started kindergarten, according to the PTA. She has served in multiple positions for the PTA such as president of Washington State PTA and secretary-treasurer of the National PTA.
Bay said her heavy interest in the PTA continued because she had “a passion and a love for the association and what it was doing.”
Before becoming president, Bay served as president-elect for two years. She traveled while representing the organization, doing outreach and preparing for her term.
She has outlined several goals she’d like to accomplish during her two-year term, among them STEM education and college and career programs for students. She also wants to work on strengthening programs that support the whole child.
“I think a lot of times people think the PTA is just about advocating for public education as far as learning but really when you look at national PTA platform...we’re worried about the whole child whether it’s obesity, nutrition, cyber security, bullying...” Bay said.
The National PTA is a heavy advocate of family engagement, health and wellness programs, school safety, and juvenile justice. The National PTA also is in the midst of its #FamiliesRead challenge encouraging families to read together.
The nonprofit is currently focused on advocating for legislators to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. In addition, The U.S. Department of Education unveiled “A Set of Family Rights” at the National PTA’s 2015 Convention and Expo urging members to demand that their legislators deliver on those rights.
“We try to be a resource for parents...we try to provide information knowing that the PTAs use this in their local communities as a local decision making process,” Bay said. “The parent bill is just another example of how we provide resources.”
As National PTA president, Bay has already run her first official board meeting and is preparing for the 2015 State Convention and Expo in Oklahoma.
“I am honored to lead National PTA,” Bay said in the press release, “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.”
Bay’s term will end in June 2017.
This article was updated 7/10/15.
A version of this news article first appeared in the K-12 Parents and the Public blog.