“If you say the name Julie Butler at Folger McKinsey Elementary, you are sure to get positive feedback on what a stellar PTO president she [was],” said Folger McKinsey Elementary School Principal Lenora Fox.
Butler was recognized as the Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) Volunteer of the Month in June. With her tenure ending on June 30, Butler served for two years as president of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and in the role of vice president for two years prior at the Severna Park school.
Nominated by Fox and endorsed by Assistant Principal Kathy Jones, Butler said the award was “totally unexpected.” She was asked to attend the AACPS Board of Education meeting in June for another reason, and then during the meeting, she was awarded Volunteer of the Month. When her name was announced, Butler received another surprise when her family and fellow PTO board members entered the room.
“The award was a blessing, and I was honored,” Butler shared. “I could not believe everyone put that much love into it. I was amazed.”
Butler made her mark on the school in several capacities. “She has a natural ability to listen to input from all stakeholders, provide polite and timely feedback, and work tirelessly to implement initiatives,” Fox wrote in a nomination letter. “Mrs. Butler is professional in her interactions, and works tirelessly behind the scenes to make each program a success.”
One of the hallmarks of Butler's leadership was surveying both teachers and members of the community. Butler said receiving feedback from teachers was helpful in knowing what resources they wanted and could use. For example, many teachers said having more Legos would be useful for lessons. As a result, the PTO bought 16 full sets of robotic Legos, which not only have teachers used but which have also been used for Lego clubs. In other surveys, members of the community have been asked about school traditions that should be kept and new activities that should be implemented.
Butler emphasized supporting teachers was a top priority. As a former AACPS educator, Butler knew that showing appreciation to staff is important in fostering positive relationships with parents and the community. “Little things mean a lot to the staff,” Butler remarked.
Turning those words into action, she helped implement monthly breakfasts. Each month, parents in one grade level donated a breakfast for teachers and staff. The PTO also provided lunch for teachers and staff on special occasions.
Butler shared her favorite part of being PTO president was getting to know the families. “I really like being involved and meeting people,” she said. “I wanted a way to give back, and I knew I could make a difference in making the school even better.”
Though she will no longer be serving on the PTO executive board during the upcoming school year, Butler plans to continue her school involvement by serving in other roles in the PTO. She also hopes to keep her volunteer schedule busy by coordinating a Bible study at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Severna Park.