Case Study: National PTA

PTA - Executive Search
Executive Director

The Client

Founded in 1897 as the National Congress of Mothers, PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the country. The National PTA (NPTA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership association of more than four million members. NPTA is organized into 22,000 local units and 54 state and territorial congresses across the United States and around the world. NPTA has a rich history of advocacy on behalf of students, families, and educational matters and is a recognized and influential advocacy organization with a strong presence on Capitol Hill and with the various educational regulatory bodies.

NPTA is governed by a 29-member board of directors. NPTA’s professional staff numbers 58, most of whom are located at the headquarters facility in Old Town Alexandria, VA. NPTA’s annual operating budget is $12 million.

The Challenge

NPTA needed to recover from what had been a prolonged period of organizational turmoil. Following the retirement of a long-standing Executive Director in 2002, the organization had three full-time and two interim Executive Directors. NPTA has also had significant turnover among the staff. An Interim Executive Director had been serving for 10 months when Sterling Martin Associates was engaged for the search.

NPTA had also suffered from a lack of cooperation and collaboration at the board level, and there had been distrust and tension at the state and local levels. In addition, membership had been declining with a concomitant decline in revenue. Several systems, processes, and policies needed to be fixed. All of these issues had a negative and cumulative effect on NPTA’s ability to direct robust, state-of-the-art, programs that affect the mission in the most effective way. NPTA needed a seasoned turnaround specialist, a leader who could set the organization on a stronger course for impact and growth. They needed an Executive Director who could restore trust at all levels, rebuild and inspire the professional staff, improve communications across the organization, further develop NPTA’s programs, grow the membership, help make the organization more reflective of the American landscape, and have a strong impact on NPTA’s existing activities.

The Solution

Following a national search led by Managing Partner David Martin, our placement was Nathan Monell. Nathan brought more than 20 years of experience leading nonprofits and associations, having most recently served as the President and CEO of the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP). NCCEP is the advocacy, technical assistance, and training organization for the federal GEAR UP program (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs). Prior to this position, Nathan had served as President and CEO of Foster Care Alumni of America, a national advocacy association of adults who were in the foster care system as children.
Nathan holds an M.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Michigan, and he earned his B.A. in Speech from Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich. He is a 2002 graduate of the Georgetown University Center for Professional Development’s Nonprofit Management Certification Program and received his Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives in 2009.

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