Programs + Events

Inspiring Keynote Speakers and Presenters

Convention attendees heard from exciting and powerful keynote speakers and special guests during the annual convention in each action-packed general meeting. See some of the highlights below.


National PTA Vice President for Membership Anna King

“You know, regardless of how a child comes into our life, once they have taken hold of our hearts, caring for them becomes part of our self-identity. Author Dave Eggers once said, ‘Humans are divided between those who can still look through the eyes of youth, and those who cannot.’

When we decide to care for a child, we become one of those who can still look through those eyes. We see their needs, their wants, their hopes and their dreams. We commit to doing what we can to give them every opportunity to succeed. We share a common bond, we see ourselves as parents and caregivers.

Despite the differences among us, it is that common bond that brings us together to create mission driven, passion filled PTAs across this country. This common bond is formed by three core beliefs:

We believe in public schools …

We believe in the value of diverse communitie…

And, we believe that the values of PTA are the values of our nation.

We believe all of this because we’ve seen it. We see it locally within our school districts. How a small group of dedicated parents can make a huge and positive impact within their communities through PTAs.”

Executive Director Association of California School Administrators Dr. Wesley Smith

Honored with a Golden Oak Service Award

“I knew right away we would get more done if we did it together. That we could do anything.”

Wes Smith is a bold leader that has worked diligently to promote policies and practices that eliminate opportunity, access, and achievement gaps throughout the state. He believes that a steadfast focus on equity and results offers all of California’s six million students the best chance to graduate prepared for college, leadership, and life.

His leadership has most recently focused on forming The California Equity Leadership Alliance a statewide organization that strives to ensure effective and equitable implementation of California’s policy initiatives including, but not limited to, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), the California state content standards, and the redesign of the state’s accountability system.

Wes is the Association of California School Administrators Executive Director for school, district and county education administrators representing more than 17,000 members statewide. Wes is also a former teacher, principal and district superintendent.

Wes has also advocated that PTA has a seat at every table by including us in all of ACSAs leadership conferences to be seen as true partners in education. He is a leader that always put children first which is why we are honoring him today with the highest of California State PTA awards, the Golden Oak.

2018 Teacher of the Year Gregory Gardiner

Honored with an Honorary Service Award

“One of the themes of this convention is believe. Teachers must believe in our students. Students must believe in their teachers. Parents must believe in their children. Parents must prioritize education for their children. We all must believe in prioritizing public education and public school teachers. We must celebrate each other and encourage us to rise and build and become even greater than we imagined we could…

The relationships I have with my students, with their parents, with my community is so important to me. You and your children are why I love being a teacher…

I believe that together we can continue to improve public schools. I believe that with your support, your vote, your voice raised up loud and clear, we can say to our state, to our Nation, that public education must be a top priority for all of America. Together, I believe we are strong and together our children will become the leaders of tomorrow.  And together, our future is bright.”