The "Essence" of the PTA

The Greenwch PTA Council gives its first award honoring one of their own ...

The end of school is a time to look back and reflect on the school year - what was learned, what still needs to be worked on next year, etc. But, one thing that has not been done before in Greenwich is recognize the efforts of the 4,600 PTA members in Greenwich on behalf of the 9,000 public school children.

PTA members contribute far more than their money to the school. They contribute their time, efforts, talents and passions. It is obvious that the number one reason why parents join a PTA is to benefit their child. Studies confirm that a parent's involvement in a student's education has a positive impact on the student performance, as well as school performance and teacher morale.

Being PTA volunteers is about being role models for our children and to give back to those who support them. Parents expect an excellent school system, and their involvement both fosters that goal and sends a message to their children that their education is deserving of the best efforts of the whole family. Parents want to be proactive in their involvement to both help this goal become a reality but also to be examples to their children, to send a very clear message to their children that the school system is something that deserves and requires parents' participation and contributions. Parents have talents that they would like to share with the District to benefit all children and it is up to the PTA to make it happen. 

On May 31, at the Greenwich PTA Council Annual Dinner, the first PTAC Essence Award: Excellence in Volunteerism was given. The award was created to acknowledge individuals who tirelessly and admirably work to better the Greenwich Public Schools, whether in a position of leadership or as a member of a team working in the trenches. 

The 2011 recipient of the Essence Award was Lauren Rabin, PTA co-president. 

Rabin, has been an active PTA member for 14 years, volunteering at all three of the schools where her two sons have attended. In her most recent position on the GHS PTA, she helped lead the charge for the passing of the MISA project. Rabin also has held the positions of president, treasurer, secretary and VP of fundraising at New Lebanon School; treasurer at Western Middle School and served on the PTA Council as co-chair of technology, treasurer and produced the PTAC Directory for five years.  The scope of her volunteerism speaks to her ability and desire to help the community as a whole.

Rabin, who also holds a full time job, believes there is a need to offer working parents opportunities to get involved. She also credits her supportive husband and family who have allowed her to share her time with the many PTAs.

Nominations for the PTA Council Essence Award came from PTA Executive Boards, principals and the GHS administration, which is an indication that the work of PTA members does not go unnoticed. The nominations were reviewed by the Essence Award Committee led by Chair Leslie Breck and included 4 additional members of PTA Council Leadership.

The honorees and winner of the PTAC Essence Award all demonstrated the characteristics that define this award, which are: inspiring others, representing selfless spirit, making a significant difference in their school community, being a team member, showing leadership qualities and sustaining an ongoing involvement in their schools, not just a do it and get done attitude. And finally, all the nominees had a willingness and determination to make our school communities better for all.

In addition to Rabin, the 2011 nominees were:

  • Tara Butcher ofnominated by Kerrie Steele Rubin and Jane Hentenmann, North Street School PTA Presidents;
  • Donna Gioffre of Greenwich High School nominated by Diane Chiapetta Fox, GHS Student Activities Director;
  • Anne Marie Graham of nominated by Shelley Somers, Principal of Central Middle School;
  • Deborah Jezierski ofnominated by Anne Connerty, Tammy Grimes and Deborah Olesen, Cos Cob School PTA Presidents;
  • Christina Russell of for her work on behalf of the PTA Council ALP Committee nominated by Stacey Loveless and Mike Trogni, ISD PTA Presidents;
  • Blakely Stinebaugh of nominated by Ralph Mayo, Principal of Eastern Middle School;
  • Wendy Yu of nominated by Maureen Bonanno and Jill Vollmer, Old Greenwich PTA Presidents.

Applications for 2012 PTAC Essence Award can be found on the Greenwich Public School website under the PTA tab.


*Sue Rogers, the education writer for Greenwich Patch, is completing her term as PTA Council president, which ends June 30.

Joanne May June 21, 2011 at 03:25 AM
Ms. Rogers has come up with yet another award out of whole cloth to promote her agenda. First, it was Sid Freund. Now, it is Ms. Rabin, a nominee on Republican ticket for BOE. Like Ms. Ospina who was not a member of the DTC but who was a member of PTAC and GHS PTA co-president, Ms. Rabin is not a member of the RTC, and comes in at the last minute to become a "Republican" candidate for the BOE. Have we seen this movie before? This is pretty heavy handed and obvious.
Barbara Heins (Editor) June 21, 2011 at 01:02 PM
"Joanne, thank you for your comments on this column. 'The Report Card' focuses on issues, programs and events in Greenwich schools. This installment highlighted the volunteer work of several women who were honored with awards from the PTA Council, of which Sue Rogers recently completed her term as president. Patch believes in transparency and Sue's full bio can be found by clicking on her name. Since this column is not an endorsement of any candidate for office, we feel it's not necessary to tag it as an 'Opinion' piece. Thank you, and please let me know if you have further questions. I can be reached at barbara.heins@patch.com.
Joanne May June 21, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Ms. Heins, you state that "Sue Rogers recently completed her term as president" of PTA Council, yet the article posted says otherwise: "*Sue Rogers, the education writer for Greenwich Patch, is completing her term as PTA Council president, which ends June 30."
Barbara Heins (Editor) June 21, 2011 at 01:43 PM
I stand corrected - Sue will complete her term as PTA Council president June 30.
Cardinal Mom June 21, 2011 at 03:16 PM
Sue Rogers and the other PTA Council members, and the rest of the hard-working PTA volunteers in this town, should be congratulated for the great work they do. It's sometimes tedious and boring but it benefits the children and the rest of the taxpayers (because volunteers are unpaid labor). Sniping at our parent volunteers and accusing them of sinister agendas is just plain tacky.
Chris Davies June 21, 2011 at 03:26 PM
This last comment is perfection! Let's turn this around. Marianna Ponns Cohen and Peter Sherr "should be congratulated for the great work they do. It's sometimes tedious and boring but it benefits the children and the rest of the taxpayers (because volunteers are unpaid labor). Sniping at our parent [Board] volunteers and accusing them of sinister agendas is just plain tacky." The PTA crowd has hijacked the education agenda in Greenwich for decades. They feel entitled to positions on the Board of Education. The Town has awakened, and will fight it -- finally. How dare anyone else have a point of view PTAC does not approve!
Anderson June 27, 2011 at 12:04 AM


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