PTA President Look to Past, Future

PTA President Look to Past, Future

Name: Chris Rigeaux

Employment: Stay-at-home dad

Town: Bethesda

Number of years in that town: Since 1993, so 11 years.

Community ties/activities: PTA president for Seven Locks Elementary School. Members of Our Lady of Mercy Parish.

One thing about your community that you enjoy that you don't think most people know about, or something important for a newcomer to know:

I would have to say how approachable the people are. We live on double lots — it’s intimidating when people move here. There’s a lot more spirit in the community than people think when they move here.

Favorite activities: Taking care of my kids. After that, my wife and I both travel. My wife is from Belgium — we try to go there at least once a year. We put a priority on traveling as a family, on trips two to three times a year and long weekends. And literature. My wife reads Belgian books, and reading is important for myself and also for the children.

What did you achieve as the PTA president of Seven Locks Elementary School? What attracted me to Seven Locks PTA is that it was successful. My most significant accomplishment is that I didn’t break anything.

What did you expect when you joined? How have you helped the school? Seven Locks has recently become involved in a number of county-wide issues. I anticipated working locally with neighbors. What I did not expect was to become involved in so many cross-county issues. I learned that a public school is really part of the county-wide system, and schools have to band together. We like to call our school “The Little School with the Big Benefits.”

Has your experience lived up to your expectations? My experiences lived up to and went way beyond what I expected. As PTA president, you get way too much credit. It’s humbling how many people thank you. As president they say you get most of the credit and most of the blame. As a volunteer, you get more credit than blame.

How has the experience changed you? First, it has given me a deeper appreciation for how hard our teachers and staff work in such a competitive education system such as Montgomery County. The pressure is palpable on all sides. It makes me aware of how deeply committed everyone is, and how hard it is to change things to get better and live up to the expectations. It’s made me appreciate living in Montgomery County a lot more.

What have you not gotten done? I haven’t spent enough time with my kids. PTA responsibilities mean a lot of evening meetings. And I haven’t found anyone to replace me next year, but that’s not technically my responsibility.

If you could have a wish list for the school, what would be on it?

A school of approximately the same size, 350 students, built in one year on the same plot while the students stay at Radnor, then move back into the same facility.

What advice would you give the incoming president? You’ve got a great PTA. Try to keep all the programs running. If you accomplish that, you’ve accomplished a great deal.

<1b>— Joy Allen