The U.S. Virgin Islands Congress of Parents, Teachers and Students Association Inc. (USVI PTSA) announced its newly constituted 2019 board of directors, which took place during the 2019 Annual Meeting and Leadership Training at the Post Board Meeting held on St. Thomas on Sunday, May 26. The USVI PTSA Board is made up of parents, a farming executive, education professionals, legal professionals, media experts and business leaders from across the Virgin Islands community.
The USVI PTSA Board is constituted of the following officers and board members:
President: Yvette Browne
Acting President-Elect: Margarita Benjamin
Secretary: Wanda L. Dowling
Treasurer: Laverne Slack
Past Immediate President: Richard Muhammad
Nominations: Janice Melchior
Budget: Laverne Slack
Legislative: Barry Leerdam
Programs: Deborah Johnson
Reflections: Julie Todman Esq.
Membership: Lisa Mitchell-Harris
By-laws: Margarita Benjamin
Public Relations: Genevieve Whitaker J.D.
Special Projects: Lennox Hanley
Fundraising: Nicole Crossman
At the 2019 Annual Meeting and Leadership Training held on Saturday, May 25, the USVI PTSA welcomed Leslie Boggs, the National PTA president-elect, as keynote speaker, who gave a speech centered around the important role that the organization plays in the lives of children, reflecting on the history of advocacy efforts of the PTA such as the school lunch program and educational policies to improve the lives of children.
Also, in attendance was the Commissioner-designee for the Virgin Islands Department of Education Racquel Berry-Benjamin, who gave her presentation on re-emphasizing the importance of stakeholder understanding of the “critical role they play in the development and well-being of our children.”
“It is very important that we as a community, take our responsibilities to our children of the U.S. Virgin Islands seriously. We as parents should stand out as the strongest advocates for improvement in our educational institutions in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“We can no longer just blame the system for failing our children when we are in control of the very system, we express dissatisfaction with. It is time for us to take the initiatives to join forces and do our part in shifting the paradigm to stimulate stronger development in our community on the behalf of all children. We are lacking the enthusiasm to fight for what is warranted to build a stronger foundation for our children,” said Yvette Browne, president, USVI PTSA.
President Browne also expressed that, “Unity is the key to what is and what is to come. And in closing, she said, “Change must begin somewhere, and so I am presenting that opportunity now. I am requesting all schools to begin rebuilding their PTSA units through our assistance. Parents, please get involved and join the PTA unit at your child’s school. Join us in making the shift from today into the future.”
At its recognition luncheon, the USVI PTSA expressed thanks to all volunteers and supporters of the Town Hall Meeting and School Supply Distribution following hurricanes Irma and Maria. The National PTA, Department of Education, Community Foundation of the Virgin Islands, United Way of the Virgin Islands, Emerald Beach Hotel, the Committee for the Betterment of the Virgin Islands, Plaza Extra St. Croix and Ms. Jerae Forde were presented with awards for their outstanding contribution and support.