It was a rowdy year for this usually staid Georgia schools organization

Dec 28, 2017
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
After a tumultuous election observed by a concerned National PTA, a new Georgia PTA board was installed in 2017. From left: Lynn McIntyre, Lori Sweet, Shanda Ross, Debbie Rabjohn, Karen Hallacy and Tyler Barr. RACHAEL PARKS/PTA

Think PTA, and the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t political intrigue, yet Georgia’s parent-teacher association was consumed by power struggles in 2017.

The turmoil started with the removal of president Lisa-Marie Haygood at the beginning of the year. She had just led the group’s successful campaign against a controversial Opportunity School District proposal, a constitutional amendment that failed at the polls.

The overthrow of the high-profile leader led to insurrections by local units. The turbulence eventually caught the attention of the National PTA, which threatened to revoke the group’s charter.

Georgia PTA was placed on probation, and with inconvenient timing the infighting reached the local level, with one metro Atlanta district leadership election dispute causing consternation in the spring.

The disharmony peaked in August, when PTA members across the state convened in Atlanta to pick new leadership. It was a chaotic affair, with organizers initially unable to complete a task as essential as counting the number of voting delegates.

“We found the fun in dysfunction,” one participant quipped.

The election eventually went on, ending with a surprise result. The PTA has been quiet since.

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