The 1990 graduate of Pierson Middle-High School, who has four daughters in middle school through college, has just been elected the school’s new PTSA president. A former teacher, member of the boards of John Jermain Memorial Library and Mashashimuet Park, and current ADHD family coach, Ms. Hallock has a lot to say about communication, collaboration and positive thinking.
Think back to your experience in school. Was there some kind of parent-and-school partnership back then? How do you think it impacted you?
As a graduate of Pierson, although I didn’t attend Pierson for all four years, I would say that I do remember that the Pierson PTSA was active in supporting a lot of school events. It was nice knowing that they were there and they were supportive. Kids often aren’t appreciative, when they are students, of realizing what that involvement is, and looking back on it now, I can see that it was helpful to have this kind of network that we weren’t always even aware of there to support us and create a great school experience.
What made you interested in becoming PTSA president?
I have always been extremely involved in the community, especially in the schools. … The process was I was nominated. I feel the president position is a phenomenal opportunity to really bring together the parents, teachers and students to work together. I want a wonderful experience not only for our kids but for the parents and the teachers, because our teachers are showing up every day to take on a number of roles other than just instructing our kids. And for parents of teenagers, sometimes it can be difficult figuring out how to be involved in your child’s life, at a time when teenagers are often pushing their parents away. Being involved in the PTSA is a way to be involved in your kids’ lives in an indirect way, so you’re involved but you’re also allowing them to have space, and the camaraderie of connecting parents who are going through this time period with their children is also helpful. … I feel like it is our responsibility to be part of creating the community that we want and to do so in a positive and supportive way.
What are some of your goals?
The number one priority I have is to really build and strengthen our school community in a positive way. I want to strengthen the bonds between everyone involved in the school – the parents, the teacher, the students, the administration, and get as much involvement as possible. When more people are involved and communicating with one another, that’s when magical things happen. There is a real value in listening to different groups of people and when people feel heard and validated and are contributors to problem solving, you’re much more likely to have fantastic results. With that said, I hope to build membership with parents, teachers and students, also bridge and connect more with the elementary school PTA so there is a really natural flow from the elementary school to the middle school, and the PTSA can provide an opportunity to perhaps make that transition a little bit smoother. I would love to bring back the school directory that the PTA and PTSA had put out a few years ago. It was a ton of work, but it is very difficult to communicate between parents, whether for play dates or other information, without the means of having information. It’s really wanting to create an active and balanced organization that is led by all of the members.
What are you looking forward to about working with the new PTSA board, including vice presidents Disa Martin and Carlos Lama, corresponding secretary Cheryl Bedini, recording secretary Chris Alotta and treasurer Rachel Lucyk?
Everyone who was running – they are all phenomenal people. Whether they were elected or not, everyone is committed to working together for this coming school year, which is just tremendous. The 2018-19 board are such a positive, fun and dedicated group of parents. We’re looking forward to having a really great time and also getting a lot done.
The PTSA is currently holding an online “mixed bag” fundraiser through June 2. More information can be found at mixedbagdesigns.com/?fundraiserid=813876.