Vice presidents don’t get a lot of respect (see US Vice President John Nance Garner’s infamous quote that the position was “not worth a bucket of warm spit”). If you are a newly-elected PTA vice president, you may be wondering what exactly it is you’re supposed to do. The answer depends on your PTA president.

If you look at your PTA’s bylaws, you’ll likely see that the vice president’s duties are to act as an aide to the president and to fill in when the president is absent or unable to serve. So if your PTA’s president is always at the meetings and doesn’t assign you anything to do, you aren’t going to have much to do as vice president.

However, many PTA presidents want to have a co-president to serve with them. Illinois PTA discourages co-presidents (and other co-officer positions) because there must be one person responsible for signing official documents, listed as president on Illinois PTA forms or government forms, and other similar situations that require one of the co-presidents to be the actual president. Because of how the duties of vice president are worded in bylaws, Illinois PTA encourages PTA presidents to use their vice president like they would use a co-president by having them help out with various tasks as assigned. This also helps prepare the vice president to potential serve as PTA president later.

Tasks that a PTA president could assign to a vice president might include:

  • Leading a committee that doesn’t have a chairperson or filling a vacancy if a chairperson needs to resign.
  • Assisting a chairperson that might be struggling with their committee assignment.
  • Acting as the public spokesperson for the PTA if the president is not as comfortable with speaking to the media, school board, or other body.
  • Serving as a committee member of a critical committee (e.g., membership, fundraising) to ensure the president is aware of how the committee is doing without having to attend meetings themselves.
  • Assisting with PTA meeting preparations and logistics (e.g., confirming the people running the babysitting during the meeting will be there, printing the agenda or minutes, contacting committee chairs to see if they have any agenda items).

As vice president, keep in mind that your PTA president may not know what to do with you either, so don’t hesitate to speak up and identify opportunities where you can help out and take a task or two off their plate.