Mount Olive Moms Embrace Family and PTA Duties

By Steve Sears

Mount Olive News celebrates dedicated, hard working moms, who both love their families and support their children’s school by being PTA representatives.

Michelle Melendez and her husband, Mark, have been married 14 years. She is a mom to Ryan (15), Katelyn (13), and Justyn (10), and works full time as an HR Manager at The Sourcing Group. She has been a member of the Flanders PTA for 10 years, two as President.

“I know first-hand that belonging to the PTA and being on the board benefits the children and teachers at Mountain View in so many ways,” she says.

“Each of the PTA board members has helped bring many new and exciting events to Mountain View over the past two years,” Melendez says, “including Trunk or Treat, First Day of School PTA Pop Up Tent, Carnival for Mountain View’s 50th Anniversary, Holiday Lighting, free babysitting at meetings, stepped up our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook, just to name a few. None of these things would have been possible without these women: Kelly Huff, Tania Laverty, Elizabeth Gallo and Kelly Turner. Happy Mother’s Day to the best PTA Board a President could have!”

Shruti Lake has been married to her best friend, husband Paul, for 21 years, and they have three wonderful children: Sofia (20), Hannah (18), and Gregory (17). The part time Mt. Arlington Chiropractic Operations Manager has for the last six years been a proud member of the Mount Olive High School Parent Club, volunteering as a Treasurer, Vice President, and now serving as President.

The most important part of her life is first and foremost making sure her children are well taken care of. “As a result, being a mother always took a priority over everything else. I work as a mother 24/7, I work at my job 3 days a week and volunteering or being part of Parent Club is just weaved into who I am.”

This year’s biggest PTA goal was to increase the amount in past scholarship monies given out. “As a result,” she says, “we were working aggressively on various fundraisers. This is very important to me because I truly feel that our seniors have worked so hard the last four years and, given the circumstances, they deserve to graduate with the same scholarship opportunities that were afforded to other students in the past.” 

Tara Kovatch has been married to wife Debra Kovatch for 9 years, and they have one daughter, Riley, age 8. She is self-employed with a small business consulting company and a skin care company, and has been a member of the Tinc Road School PTO for two years.

This is her first year as President.

“PTO is a part of motherhood,” she says. “I consider it the same as helping with homework, except it’s a lot more fun for both of us. My daughter loves to see me at school and is proud of what I’m doing for her and school. That might change in a few years, so I’m taking advantage of the time now.”

“Our biggest accomplishment by far and something that I think we are all really proud of is that we came in as a brand-new board who didn’t know each other,” Kovatch says, “and we formed a team that works really well together. We all have different strengths and we bring out the best in each other and support one another. We weren’t afraid to make changes to traditional events and we created a few new events that will become traditions. I am really proud of the team that we have.”

Kristy Pieklo attended Sandshore Elementary School, where her children now attend. “It’s like a close community,” she says.

Pieklo is Vice-President of the school’s PTA. Her husband’s name is Chris, and she is mom to 10-year-old daughter, Haidyn, and Bryce, her 7-year-old son. She works locally at Mars Incorporated as a paralegal and was elected for the first time to the board for the 2019-20 school year. 

The biggest accomplishment for she and her team this year is going digital. “This year we bought a membership program that is designed for PTAs, so everything is now online,” she confirms. “We’ve been trying to do everything digitally so less paper comes home.”

“It gels nicely,” she says of motherhood and PTA juggling. “We’re very blessed to have a great board.”

Not all contacted moms responded to be a part of this article.

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