What is a Nominating Committee? Who can serve on it? Why is it important to have one? We've put together this resource to help you learn more about how to establish your local PTA’s Nominating Committee and how to be sure to operate the nomination process in accordance with your standing rules and the Washington State PTA (WSPTA) Uniform Bylaws.
Much of this information is adapted from the WSPTA Nominating Committee Handbook, available on the Leadership Resources page of the WSPTA website. (Note: login and password are required. Find them in the latest issue of WSPTA Leadership News or Contact Council.)
Why have a Nominating Committee?
The Nominating Committee serves the vital role of finding and recruiting the most qualified people to fill your PTA’s elected positions. Because of this, this committee can shape the nature of your PTA and can help set your PTA up for future success. The executive committee (the elected roles on your PTA board) are in office for a one year term (with a term limit of two consecutive years). This means that there are new PTA officers entering into leadership every year! Finding passionate and qualified volunteers for these roles is the work of your Nominating Committee.
Who can serve on a Nominating Committee?
The Nominating Committee consists of three PTA members who are elected at a membership meeting at least 30 days before the officer elections take place.
Things to keep in mind when electing your Nominating Committee:
• Members of the Nominating Committee must be elected. They may not just volunteer for the job and they cannot be appointed by the board of directors or president.
• A candidate for the Nominating Committee must be a member of the local PTA for at least 15 days preceding her/his election.
• The Nominating Committee cannot include the current PTA president or school principal. Neither the PTA president nor the school principal may participate in the committee’s deliberations.
• Nominating Committee members may not serve on the committee for more than two consecutive years.
Additionally, the members of the Nominating Committee members should have a strong knowledge of the PTA’s goals, needs and culture as finding qualified PTA officer candidates can be a challenge. Connections within the school community are helpful in reaching potential candidates. Don't forget - Nominating Committee members are still eligible to be nominated for an elected office!
When should your Nominating Committee be elected and start work?
The goal of the Nominating Committee is to present to your membership a signed and dated report stating the names of one or more candidates for each office to be elected at least 15 days prior to the election.
Giving your Nominating Committee time to locate candidates allows for the best possible slate of candidates. State guidance suggests that the Nominating Committee be elected at the first general membership meeting of the school year. This may be difficult for PTA’s that are still getting their year organized. Having the committee in place by the first of the year is a great goal, this way the committee will have a few months to work prior to the election.
How can your current board support the Nominating Committee?
Setting up your Nominating Committee for success is very important! It is recommended that the PTA president conduct an orientation meeting shortly after the committee is elected.
Topics to discuss at this first meeting include:
1. The president must not be involved in the Nominating Committee process or selection of officers.
2. The committee must hold its own counsel and have honest discussions about individuals being considered for nomination.
3. The committee must keep their work confidential and the group should discuss what confidentiality means.
4. Develop a committee calendar and double-check relevant dates and deadlines paying special attention to your electronic voting policy if needed:
• Dates of PTA events for the year.
• Dates of local PTA membership meetings.
• Date of the meeting during which the election is to occur.
• Date the nominating committee report is due to the local PTA members.
At this orientation meeting, the president can assist the committee by providing:
• The PTA’s current membership roster
• The WSPTA Uniform Bylaws*
• The current WSPTA Nominating Committee Handbook*
• The local PTA’s standing rules
• Job descriptions for all elected positions
• A sample “Nominating Committee Recommendation Form”*
• A sample “Nominating Committee Report”*
*These forms can be found on the WSPTA PTA Leaders webpage under either Governance or Leader Resources.
What does a Nominating Committee need to consider when choosing a candidate?
Nominating Committee meetings give committee members the opportunity to review the roles that need to be filled and any potential candidates, including recommendations from board members and/or their PTA community. All candidates must be given the same scrutiny and evaluation. Candidates who wish to be considered for co-officer positions can be considered together as long as the opportunity to serve together is something that both candidates agree to prior to the election.
According to the WSPTA Uniform Bylaws, there are also some minimum qualifications for any role under consideration.
The Nominating Committee is the responsible for confirming the following for each candidate being considered:
• Candidate is a PTA member (though not necessarily a member of the pertinent PTA) at least 15 days preceding the election for local PTAs.
• Candidate must be willing to attend required PTA training for the position to which he or she will be elected.
• Candidate must be enthusiastic and supportive of the local PTA.
• Candidate must believe in the purposes of PTA.
• Candidate should have previous experience in PTA, though other association work may also be considered.
• Candidate should have knowledge of PTA and its role in the school and community.
• Candidate should be relied upon to give PTA a satisfactory level of priority and commitment.
• Candidate should have good relationships with people.
• Candidate must be fair, objective, able to subordinate personal interests to the interests and well-being of the local PTA or council.
• Candidate should have vision and be innovative.
• Candidate must be at least 18 years old.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: If I make a recommendation to the Nominating Committee, will that person automatically be on the Nomination Report?
A: All recommendations received by the Nominating Committee are recommendations rather than nominations. Think of these recommendations as suggestions that the committee will then take and use to help inform their decision-making process.
Q: Does the Nominating Committee elect the officers?
A: The Nominating Committee is the group that will NOMINATE someone for election via its report to the members. The members of your PTA will be the ones who officially elect officers during a general membership meeting.
Q: Should the Nominating Committee find someone for every role?
A: That is the goal, however, the Nominating Committee should only put forward individuals they feel are well qualified for the position for which they are running. Individuals who are not well-suited or who are not qualified for the position should not be nominated by the committee, even if that position must be left open on the nominating committee report. Just because someone is interested in a position does not mean the committee should put the name forward.
Q: If someone isn't nominated by the Nominating Committee, can they still be elected to a role?
A: Every qualified person has the right to be “nominated from the floor”, whether in-person or virtually, in the event that they want to run for an office and is not on the Nominating Committee Report of presented slate of candidates.
Q: Is the Nominating Committee obligated to nominate a current officer for a second term?
A: Current officers are not guaranteed a nomination the second year. Current officers should be evaluated just as you would any candidate. If the committee finds a more qualified candidate, that's who they should nominate.
Q: Can a member of the Nominating Committee run for an elected position?
A: Yes! However, the committee member should recuse themselves from and leave the room during all discussion about their nominations, including discussion about other potential nominees for that position.
Q: What do you do if you cannot find a candidate for a position?
A: This is an especially relevant question this year! Because we have been virtual with no in-person events in which to meet and greet with those in our community, it could be harder than ever to find candidates for PTA officers. Here are a couple of ideas to broaden your reach when searching for candidates:
What if you STILL can’t find a candidate for a position?
Have another question about the Nominating Committee that wasn't listed here? Contact Council and we can help!
Additional Election Information:
As stated earlier, elections of officers will happen during a general membership meeting. The Washington State PTA offers a script for the proper language to conduct elections in the Nominating Committee Handbook. In the case of an in-person meeting, additional nominees from the floor can be submitted at the time of the election if the candidate was not part of the presented Nominating Committee report. In the case of a virtual election, there will be a stated time that self nominations may be submitted prior to the meeting. Please referrer to the handbook for more information on holding elections.
• Nominating Committee Handbook
• Nominating Committee webinar
• Sample Recommendation for Nomination (pdf)
• Sample Nominating Committee Report (pdf)
Special Note from Council:
Make sure to express your appreciation to all the leaders who take on the important role of Nominating Committee Member. Being a part of it helps to ensure the strength and viability of your PTA for another year. That is the reason Washington State PTA calls the Nominating Committee, “the most important committee we have”!