Woman keeps on working with PTA

January 13, 1997


Staff Writer

BUNKER HILL, W.Va. - When Sherry Smith's daughter entered school, she followed and joined the school's Parent-Teacher Association.

Now, 25 years later, Smith is working to get other parents involved with their children's schools and form PTAs.

She is the new director of the West Virginia PTA's Region VIII, covering eight counties, including Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties.

Her job is to help local parents form PTAs at their schools. She also will work with the existing organizations on a variety of issues. There are 27 PTAs across her region.


Smith, 55, said her involvement with the PTA began when she went to her daughter's school to see how she could help.

Her two daughters have since graduated and she now has a grandson in the third grade.

But her work with PTAs and the school board continued because she said she believes the work done by the PTAs is important in improving education. She is a life member of PTA in West Virginia and with the national organization.

She retired from her job with Virginia Tech last year after 36 years, but her work on volunteer organizations keeps her active, from serving on the administration of the Paynes Chapel Untied Methodist Church to boards on scholarship committees.

The state and national PTAs are active following education issues to serve as advocates for children with the West Virginia legislature and Congress, she said.

"Today the voices of over 6 million PTA members, working together, can spark changes in programs and policies that affect every child in every community," she said.

The West Virginia PTA also has videotapes to help local PTAs on a variety of issues, she said.

The first PTA was founded on Feb. 17, 1897, by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst in Washington, D.C., Smith said. Two hundred members were expected at the first meeting, but 2,000 people traveled across the country to attend.

The goal of the organization has remained the same over the years, but the technology has made it much easier for PTAs, she said.

Local PTAs can access resource materials to help them through the national's Web page at, she said.

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