Morehouse Alumnus Otha Thornton Represents us as National PTA President

We have many Morehouse Alumni contributing to society in tangible, positive ways.

Did you know that Otha Thornton ’89, is the President of the National Parent Teacher Association? He’s the first African American man to fill this volunteer position. His plans are to increase the number of male role models in the PTA and also to fulfill his vision:

To serve as an advocating voice and thought leader to help navigate the Association through a challenging, but promising period of education reform. National PTA needs to help lead the conversation on a variety of issues, not only suburban schools, but urban, rural, and military connected schools around the world as well. (see more of his interview on

He was recently interviewed by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News about his role with the PTA.  Please click here to see the video, and read his biographical information below.  What an amazing Brother to represent Morehouse!

Click here to watch the video from NBC Nightly News about Morehouse Alumnus Orla Thornton '89, President of the National PTA.

Click here to watch the video from NBC Nightly News about Morehouse Alumnus Orla Thornton ’89, President of the National PTA.


Otha Thornton.  IMAGE:

Otha Thornton. IMAGE:

Thornton’s Bio from the National PTA website:

Otha Thornton ’89, 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 Atlanta’s West End 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.


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