After 17 years at the helm of the National Parent Teacher Association (NPTA), Zena Ramatali is out and Raffiena Ali-Boodoosingh is in.
This was the outcome of the NPTA’s executive elections, held yesterday afternoon during its 57th Annual Conference of Delegates at Preysal Secondary School, Preysal, Couva.
While the full list of newly-elected officers was not available as of press time, Newsday understands that several members of Ramatali’s executive did not retain their posts.
Ramatali confirmed last evening that she had lost and her replacement is Ali-Boodoosingh– the recently retired principal of Macaulay Government Primary School, Claxton Bay. The outgoing president is expected to issue a statement today.
Ali-Boodoosingh, in a brief interview with Sunday Newsday, said she was “elated” and looking forward to making a difference in the lives of TT’s children.
Describing Ramatali’s 17-year tenure as being “too long”, Ali-Boodoosingh said, “We lost our way somewhere during that time when it comes to putting the children at the centre of whatever we do. That will be my focus and the focus of this new executive, doing things that directly benefit the children.”
The new NPTA head also wants to increase the association’s membership and strengthen its relationship with the nation’s principals and parents.
“My executive and I will be meeting next Saturday (November 18) to discuss and finalise our goals for our two-year term. From a personal point of view however, one of my goals is to do something for at-risk boys. It will likely be sports-related.”
Ali-Boodoosingh has another goal too – promoting the well-being of children by partnering with police youth clubs and village councils as well as through parenting workshops, particularly for children who have problems at school.
Sunday Newsday also spoke with newly-elected NPTA first vice-president Clarence Mendoza, who previously served as trustee on the outgoing board.
“I feel good about winning because I can do a lot for the children of TT by helping to move the organisation forward.”
Referring to Ramatali’s long stint as president, Mendoza said, “this organisation will no longer be run by one person. Any decisions we make moving forward, will be made as an executive. We have seen where, during (Ramatali’s) term, we lost a lot of schools. We’re down to one-third of all schools when we had about 50 percent in 2005.”
Although Mendoza praised Ramatali, saying she “was doing a fantastic job up until about 2005,” he was critical of her decision to adopt the role of CEO in 2015.
Mendoza claims the executive “didn’t get to hear about most things until there were in the final stage.” He vowed that the new NPTA executive would be much more transparent and communicate better with its member PTAs about all projects before a decision is taken.