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National PTA Taps
First Man To Serve
As President-Elect


Charles Saylors has a message for dads who think the PTA is just for moms: The PTA needs you. Saylors, a PTA veteran, is slated to be the first man to serve as president of the 110-year-old National PTA. Getting more fathers involved is one of his top priorities. Included: A look at the president-elect's agenda.

Charles J. (Chuck) Saylors always has believed that fathers should be as active in PTAs as mothers, and now he is setting a pretty big example to follow. Saylors, of Taylors, South Carolina, is the first man tapped as president-elect of the 110-year-old National PTA. Saylors is scheduled to serve as president-elect for two years, and then be installed as the first male president.

A father of four, Saylors and his wife have been active in the PTA for 15 years. In June he completed a two-year term as National PTA secretary-treasurer.<.p>

Much has changed in society since the PTA was founded in 1897 in Washington, D.C., as the National Congress of Mothers, and Saylors is hopeful that his new role will inspire more fathers to join their local PTAs.

Charles J. Saylors
Education World: Why did you want to serve in a national PTA office?

Charles J. Saylors: As a local (PTA) leader and state president, I saw what good National PTA could do in providing services to parents. I thought to myself, "I'd like to try that and make a difference." I just did not know I would end up being the first dad to be a national president. How cool! I grew up in a home where service was valued. My family and employer both support that same service mindset and to that end I am very blessed.

EW: What are your goals as president-elect?

Saylors: Getting more dads and families involved. In addition, PTA must go from the mindset that "We are a non-profit that has limited resources" to "We are a not-for-profit that has endless opportunities." We must focus on customer service and growth.

EW: What perspectives do you think you will bring to the national organization as the first male president-elect?

Saylors: Too many dads believe that they don't have the time [to be active in the PTA]. They believe PTA meetings are boring. They believe that PTA has nothing to offer them. Well, as a fellow dad I believe that I can help change that mindset. Moms have done and are doing a great job -- but we need dads too! When I interviewed for the nomination as president-elect, I told our committee that if you want to get dads' attention, you need one in the front of the room.

"Moms realize that PTA needs dads to get more involved and my leadership will shine a spotlight on that need."

EW: What does the PTA need to do to get more parents -- particularly dads -- involved?

Saylors: We are working to revolutionize parent involvement. We want to plan events and activities that are easy to embrace -- events, activities and programs that are short and to the point -- that's what today's parents need. Parents today have less time to volunteer than in years past, and we need to adjust to that.

EW: What, if any, new issues do you see the PTA tackling in the next five years?

Saylors: [The condition of] school buildings -- helping to see that all school buildings are safe, secure, and state of the art -- bullying prevention, Internet safety, and youth involvement; that is, getting more students involved and active in the PTA .Those are just start. We need to keep our service to PTA's up to date and relevant, which is an ongoing activity. This means, we need to help local PTAs be able to offer relevant resources to "today's" parents -- resources that this new generation of parents can use. Every community is different, so we need to make sure that PTAs have programs for working parents, single parents, minority parents, etc.

EW: Why and when did you join the PTA ?

Saylors:I joined in 1988 at Woodland Elementary School in Greer, South Carolina. My wife and I volunteered when our oldest son, now 23, was in first grade and we haven't slowed down since!

EW: Were there other fathers in the PTA when you joined?

Saylors: Yes, but in much smaller numbers. Involvement by dads has grown incrementally in recent years, but we need all dads.

"When I interviewed for the nomination as president-elect, I told our committee that if you want to get dads' attention, you need one in the front of the room."

EW: What was the response of the mothers to your involvement?

Saylors: They loved it! Moms realize that PTA needs dads to get more involved and my leadership will shine a spotlight on that need.

EW: What was your kids' reaction?

Saylors: "Cool!" So far the "wow" factor has them amazed. My family and business are very supportive. I am a lucky man!

This e-interview with Charles Saylors is part of the Education World Wire Side Chat series. Click here to see other articles in the series.


Article by Ellen R. Delisio
Education World®
Copyright © 2007 Education World

Published 08/16/2007