One of Richmond Hill’s own has taken the reins of the National Parent Teacher Association and has made history in the process.
Otha Thorton was named president of the association last week, making him the first African-American man to lead the group, according to the PTA. Thorton was installed during the PTA’s annual convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he addressed more than 1,000 attendees in his first official speech as president.
“This is an exciting opportunity, and I am proud to have been elected to lead the charge for parents and teachers across the nation, and to ensure that our children have the tools and support they need to succeed,” Thornton said. “As president, I am committed to expanding PTA’s membership, leadership development and advocacy efforts to strengthen the association and fully empower families, teachers and communities to advocate for all children.”
Mr. Thornton brings unique experience and extensive involvement at all levels of the PTA to his leadership role. A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who earned the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations in 2009 and 2010 during Operations Iraqi Freedom, he and his family have lived all over the world, and his two children have been part of school systems in Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Texas, as well as the Department of Defense Schools overseas, according to a press release from the association.
“We are thrilled to welcome Otha as president,” said Eric Hargis, executive director of National PTA. “His extensive leadership experience in various PTA roles across the country and globe bring a dynamic perspective that will energize the National PTA’s continuing work to promote children’s health, well-being and educational success through strong parent, family and community involvement.”
Mr. Thornton previously served on the Georgia PTA Board of Directors and on the PTA’s national Board of Directors. He currently resides in Richmond Hill with his wife of 20 years.
“The PTA is critical in bringing the voices of parents to the forefront on issues, working together to strengthen school safety, provide kids with healthy, nutritious lunches and implement consistent learning goals across the country,” Thornton said.
“Parents are an essential voice in the education reform debate, and we need to be much more than an audience.
“We need to be partners in the education of our children, and I am looking forward to engaging with diverse communities across the country to ensure that all parents have a voice in their children’s education.”
The National Parent Teacher Association is comprised of 55 state congresses and nearly 26,000 local units in 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Department of Defense Schools in Europe and the Pacific.
More information about National PTA and our ongoing work is available on Twitter, Facebook and at www.pta.org.