ATPE is proud to bring you this series of posts from your board members. The ATPE Board of Directors is made up of 20 regional members, who are elected by their constituents; four state officers, who are elected annually by the entire House of Delegates at the ATPE Summit; and the most recent state past president. Board members were sent questions via email, and their responses will be posted to the ATPE Blog in the order they were received. Today’s blog post is from Region 14 Director Tonja Gray.
How and why did you get involved in a leadership role at ATPE?
I checked the little box on the application saying I would be willing to be a volunteer. I completely forgotten about checking the little box until one day I received a call from ATPE asking if I would like to start a local unit in my school district. I had no idea what that meant, but I agreed to meet. And the rest is history. That was approximately 20 years ago.
What is your favorite part of serving on the ATPE board?
I absolutely love doing the business of ATPE. I enjoy learning about what goes on in schools around the state, good and bad. I also love meeting other leaders and sharing ideas.
How has being on the board helped your region?
My region leaders love getting reports from the BOD meetings. I try very hard to keep them informed so that they know what is going on in Austin and around the state. I believe keeping the leaders in the know helps them feel that we truly are an inclusive organization that is member owned and governed.
What advice would you give to others who might be interested in serving on the board?
It is very important to be actively engaged. You must stay up on what is going on. Be sure to always be prepared for the meetings. At the meetings, it is very important to share your ideas and concerns. The best ideas and solutions only come when everything has been fully discussed. You need to represent your region; however, ultimately, every decision has to be about what is best for the entire organization. You must be able to step back and look at issues from another’s point of view. At the end of the day, remember we are all on the same team.
Can you share something fun about yourself that our members might not know?
My favorite hobby is dancing, but I didn’t take my first dance class until I was 25. I teach lyrical, ballet, and liturgical dance three nights a week at Turning Pointe Dance Academy. I had the privilege to travel with a pre-professional dance group for 10 years and three of those were as the director. I have also taught theatre. When I am not at the dance studio, I can often be found at Abilene Community Theatre building sets, working front of house, or possibly on stage as an actor.