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Otha Thornton
Otha Thornton, president of National PTA, is a senior operations analyst with General Dynamics in Fort Stewart, Georgia. He is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel and his last two assignments were with the White House Communications Agency and United States Forces-Iraq in Baghdad. Thornton earned the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009-2010.

Previously, Thornton served on National PTA's Board of Directors, Legislative Committee, Membership Committee, and Executive Search Committee. During his time with Georgia PTA, Otha served on the Board of Directors as legislative chair and as an Advisory Group member for Georgia's Partnership for Excellence in Education.

Thornton also served Maryland PTA as nominating leader, board development committee chairman, and as a member of Anne Arundel County’s Superintendent High Performing High School Task Force. In addition, he was appointed by the governor of Maryland to serve on a Maryland Education Task Force.

Thornton’s military background allowed him to volunteer throughout the country and the world at various local and council levels. Thornton served as president (and earlier as vice president) of Meade Senior High School PTSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. He has also been a volunteer at Kaiserslautern American Elementary and Middle School PTAs, Department of Defense Education Activity, Vogelweh Air Force Base, Kaiserslautern, Germany; South Range Elementary School, South Range, Michigan; Houghton Elementary and Middle Schools, Houghton, Michigan; Fernandez Elementary School PTA events, San Antonio, Texas; and Richmond Hill Elementary School events, Richmond Hill, Georgia.

Thornton is also active in the community. He is a member of Richmond Hill Church of Christ and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. He is a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association and has more than 25 years of active service in the scouting program across the United States and around the world.

Thornton received his bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College and a master’s degree in communications from Michigan Technological University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Michigan Technological University in 2009. Thornton has been married to Caryn, an educator, for 24 years. They have a daughter and a son.

Entries by Otha Thornton

ESEA Reauthorization Needs Stronger Family Engagement Provisions

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2015 | 10:44 AM

More than 40 years of research shows - no matter a family's income or socioeconomic background - family engagement in education is essential for student success. Students whose families are involved attend school more regularly, earn better grades, enroll in higher-level programs and have higher graduation rates.

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NEA and National PTA Encourage Nation to Celebrate American Education Week

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 4:59 PM

Co-Authored By Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association

American Education Week (AEW) is celebrated each year during the last full week before Thanksgiving. This year, AEW will be celebrated November 14-20. Founded by the National Education Association (NEA) and The American Legion in 1921, with the U.S....

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Digital Citizenship Week: Share Awesome Online

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2014 | 10:05 PM

Technology is everywhere. We text, tweet, shop, learn, read the news, play games and plan vacations online. For most of us, we live and breathe technology at work, at home and, increasingly, in schools.

Given how ubiquitous technology is, and with kids getting more tech-savvy than ever and new...

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Start the New School Year Off Right: Build Strong, Effective Family-School Partnerships

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 3:28 PM

More than 40 years of research shows that -- no matter a family's income or socioeconomic background -- when families are involved in their children's education and families and schools work together, student achievement increases, schools improve and communities grow stronger. As a new school year gets underway, it is...

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The 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education: Remembering When Parents Stood Up for Change

(1) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 6:13 PM

It started as a whisper. But the injustice taking place in 1954 to African-American school children in Topeka, Kansas, didn't stay quiet for long. It took Oliver L. Brown, a welder for the Santa Fe Railroad, to stand up and call out an education system that wasn't integrated and wasn't...

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Why Teachers Deserve Our Praise Every Day

(3) Comments | Posted May 7, 2014 | 4:04 PM

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. It is a time to recognize and celebrate those teachers in our lives who go the extra mile. It means so much to parents when educators take special interest in their children's success and give the time and attention necessary to see...

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Families: An Essential Ingredient for Student Success and Excellent Schools

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2014 | 4:48 PM

Researchers Keith Robinson and Angel L. Harris recently released the results from a study on family engagement. The findings of the study appear to challenge the traditional view of the importance and positive impact of family engagement on children's academic achievement. Actually, the findings highlight a lot of what is...

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Building Better Digital Citizens

(1) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 12:47 PM

Co-Authored By HILARY SCHNEIDER, President of LifeLock, Inc.

Smart decision-making online is as important as looking both ways before crossing the street. The U.S. recognized its first official Safer Internet Day on February 11, led by With continued proliferation of the use of technology,...

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Enjoy the Spirit of the Season With Family

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 1:12 PM

The holiday season is a time of hustle and bustle -- running around to purchase gifts and spending hours cooking, decorating and preparing for guests. The season also is a time for family fun and togetherness -- enjoying a break from work, school and other responsibilities to gather and celebrate...

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