• Reflecting on the PTA Legacy: A Challenge for 21st Century Leaders

     Sandra L. Zelno, Consultant to the Pennsylvania PTA. 


    The National Congress of Mothers was founded on February 17, 1897 in Washington, D.C. by Alice McLellan White Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst.  It later became known as the National Congress of Parents and Teachers or the National PTA.  With the help of the National PTA, Selena Sloan Butler founded the National Congress of  Colored Parents and Teachers in 1926 which operated where individual state laws segregated schools.  In 1970, the two organizations merged, as did their identicalmission to improve children's lives and the organization we know as today’s National PTA. All three women are credited with founding the National PTA.

    This series of articles is intended to reflect on the rich history of the PTA and focus on its importance and relevance for today’s leaders.  All historical facts are documented in The PTA Story:  A Century of Commitment to Children, published by the National PTA in 1997. 

    The author of this series is a Past President of the Pennsylvania PTA (1992-1994) and served in a variety of elected and appointed roles with the National PTA, including as a Region Director on the National Board of Directors during the National PTA’s 100th Anniversary.