Job sharing Proves Brilliant for PTA Co-Presidents

Meet erin & elizabeth:

Ever thought about job sharing PTA or another demanding volunteer role but knew there was no way you could fit it into your insane work schedule or kid schedule?

Meet Erin Dooner, top left photo. Business owner. Wickedly talented interior designer. Photographer. Mom of two. 

Meet Elizabeth McQueen, the photo just to the right of Erin’s, dancing her head off. KUTX DJ. Podcast producer. Musician. Austin Music Commission board member. Shift. board member. Mom of two.

Parent Prom photo job share PTA presidents organized

They’re also co-organizers of the 1st ever Maplewood Parent Prom, a smashing success! Talented? Most definitely. Time-strapped? Yup. Able to take on one more demanding volunteer role like PTA President? NO WAY. Sorry, not sorry.

Now meet Maplewood Elementary PTA Co-Presidents, Erin Dooner & Elizabeth McQueen

Together, they’ve got this. Only by job sharing, were Erin and Elizabeth able to take on the beyond demanding volunteer role of a PTA president. The PTA Co-President job share partners work toward their strengths to make a real difference for the more than 420 kids who need them.

Why PTA job shares make a difference for our school

Maplewood is a 1950’s East Austin public elementary school. The red brick hallways beckon you back to the elementary you grew up in, and it feels just as good. Morning assembly starts our day out together as a community where Maplewood Peacemakers are publicly honored for their kind behavior and good deeds.

One of the most diverse schools in Texas, half of Maplewood’s students are economically disadvantaged and the other half from mostly dual-working parent households–which means parents don’t have the resources or time to fill in the gap, and PTA board roles went largely unfilled in the past. This left a handful of parents doing the heavy lifting, completely burnt out, and a revolving PTA board. Who wants to line up for that job?  Crickets…

At the end of last school year, an exiting PTA leader whose daughter was moving on to middle school, gathered a group of about ten parents at a coffeehouse to learn about being on the board.  Anybody for PTA President? (Crickets)…Treasurer? (Crickets)… Secretary? (Chirp). I thought I saw a twinkle in his eye across the table, when, “Okay.  I have an idea.  What if we job share the larger board roles? It works really well.”

I nearly fell off my chair.  Seriously.

And that is how it started.  

We job share our larger PTA board roles because we need involved parents to create the community and raise funds that our over 420 kids need to succeed. Bottom line.

 Anybody for PTA President? (Crickets) Treasurer? (Crickets)…Secretary? (Chirp). I thought I saw a twinkle in his eye across the table, when, “Okay.  I have an idea.  What if we job share the larger board roles? It works really well.”

How to job share PTA board roles at your school

We met this morning to map out a PTA co-president job share plan. Believe it or not, we almost had a triumvirate of three, which would have been totally fine. It’s really easy to get started:

  1. If you don’t know one another, grab a cup of joe and get to know one another. Although your income is not tied to one another, your school is depending on you. Can you see yourself working together?  Do you both have an equal amount of time to commit to the role so one of you is not left holding the bag and feeling resentful?
  2. List 1 – Make a list of the calendar of events and deadlines for the school year.
  3. List 2 – Make a list of the overall responsibilities and duties of the position (like public speaking at PTA meetings, follow up with board chairs, financial responsibilities, deadline reminders to parent volunteers/school/staff, principal liaison, organizational duties, etc.)
  4. Discuss your individual strengths and weaknesses. What do you feel super-comfortable doing and what makes you cringe? (Elizabeth loves public speaking but dealing with financials gives her the heebie-jeebies.  Erin gets hives at the thought of public speaking but rules at managing her family and business finances)
  5. Together, decide which duties you will divide & conquer and which you will share,
  6. And, discuss what form of communication works best for you and what check-ins you need to have throughout the year to stay on track.

Job sharing is the only way I could possibly think about even maybe taking on the duties of PTA co-president. – Elizabeth McQueen

If you’ve wanted to be more involved with the school (or non-profit or charity) close to your heart, now you can be!  Do it!  Make a difference, job share the role while keeping your sanity and having fun! Your school and community will thank you.

 

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This article previously appeared on Linked In.

Melissa Nicholson is the Founder & CEO of Work Muse, a job share solutions firm. Job sharing is a partnership between two people to share the responsibilities of one full-time position. Work Muse drives adoption of job sharing in business as a source of competitive advantage while helping individuals find work-life balance. Join the #JobshareRevolution here –– events, resources, and relevant content to empower you in work and life! For more info, hello@workmuse.com.

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