Understanding Nominating Committees
The nature of PTA leadership is inherently cyclical. Executive committee (elected) roles on local PTAs are all 1 year terms (and have a term limit of 2 years), meaning there are new PTA officers entering into leadership every year! Finding passionate and qualified volunteers for these jobs is the work of the local PTA nominating committee. We've put together this resource to help you learn more about how to establish your local PTA nominating committee and operate the nomination process in accordance with standing rules and bylaws.
Much of this information is adapted from the Washington State PTA 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Nominating Committee serves the vital role of finding qualified people to fill the elected PTA positions. This committee shapes the nature of the local PTA and sets the PTA up for future success.
The goal of the Nominating Committee is to present a written report to membership at least 15 days prior to the election. All work is done in anticipation of that goal. The written report must be dated and signed by all Nominating Committee members.
The Nominating Committee consists of 3 PTA members who are elected at a general membership meeting at least 30 days before the officer elections. The committee cannot include the current president or school principal and neither the president nor the principal may participate in the committee deliberations.
Finding qualified PTA officer candidates can be a challenge so committee members should have a strong knowledge of the PTA goals, needs and culture. Connections within the school community are helpful in reaching potential candidates. Nominating Committee members are eligible for nomination to elected office but they may not serve on the committee for more than 2 consecutive years.
Giving the Nominating Committee time to locate candidates allows for the best possible slate of candidates. State guidance suggests the Nominating Committee be elected at the first meeting of the school year. That may be difficult for PTA’s that are still getting their year organized, but having the committee in place by the first of the year is a strong goal so that they have a few months to work prior to spring elections. Note: members of the Nominating Committee must be elected. They may not just volunteer for the job nor may they be appointed by the board of directors or president.
Setting up the Nominating Committee for success with a strong orientation is very important! It is recommended that the PTA President conduct an orientation meeting shortly after the committee is elected. Reminders for this first meeting include:
At this meeting, the president can also assist the committee by providing:
Nominating Committee meetings give them 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. There are also minimum qualifications for any role under consideration.
A Few Tips...
Frequently Asked Questions
What if you cannot find a candidate for a position?
There are a couple options here.
Are you obligated to nominate a current officer for a second term?
Current officers should be evaluated just as you would any candidate. If the committee finds a more qualified candidate, nominate her/him. People are not guaranteed a nomination the second year.
Can a member of the Nominating Committee run for a position?
Yes! But the member should recuse her/himself from and leave the room during all discussion about her/his nominations, including discussion about other potential nominees for that position.
The Washington State PTA offers a script for the proper language to conduct elections in the Nominating Committee Handbook. Additional nominees from the floor can be submitted at the time of the election if the candidate was not part of the nominating committee report. If the committee is unable to find a candidate for a role and there is not a nomination from the floor the executive committee has the authority to appoint someone to the position until the next membership meeting, when he or she may be elected.
Make sure to express your appreciation to all the leaders who take on this vital role every year, ensuring the strength and viability of our PTAs for another year. That is the reason Washington State PTA calls the Nominating Committee the most important committee we have!
Questions about Nominating Committees? Northshore Council is here to help! Contact your area VP:
VP East - Melissa Kline
VP West - Marcilla Proudfit
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