Although Zelka became the first male PTA president at Sand Creek, the South Colonie Central School District has already reached that milestone when Board of Education member Neil Johanning served as PTA president at Shaker Road Elementary School in the '90s and at Colonie Central High School from 2005 to 2007.
This year also marks another first for a man involved in PTA: Charles Saylors became the first man elected to the position of national PTA president. According to South Colonie PTA Council President Mary Ann Chesky, more male involvement in PTA is encouraged.
"I'd love to see more fathers involved," she said. "Dads are an important part of that link in the family chain."
Chesky is currently serving her second consecutive one-year term as PTA Council president. In the PTA, she said, people are able to serve no more than two consecutive one-year terms before stepping down from their positions. A person can resume the position after he has stepped away for at least a year.
The PTA Council president-elect is Claire Hart, whose position Zelka will be taking over as the Sand Creek PTA president.
Chesky, who graduated in 1984, has known Zelka for most of her life (she and Zelka were schoolmates at South Colonie), and she said she wishes she was going to be the acting council president during this exciting time for him.
"I am very excited about Jeff becoming president of the Sand Creek PTA. I think he has a lot of exciting ideas, and I look forward to seeing what he does around there because of his passion for the children," said Chesky. "What he feels about the kids, I just can't even put it into words."
"I'm honored, but I'm nervous because of the hurdles I have ahead of me and not knowing what they are," said Zelka.
Zelka's term becomes effective July 1. He said he is up for the challenge, and hopes more dads will follow in his footsteps and join the PTA. ""