Burbank PTA head is a man of record

As the new face of the Burbank Parent Teacher Assn., Steve Frintner is the first man in the history of Burbank Unified to oversee all 16 PTA organizations in the district.

Frintner tries to downplay that fact when he can, already familiar with receiving special attention for his involvement in the PTA as a male.

"I'm proud to be the first one, I guess," he said. "Sometimes I feel like I've gotten recognition just for being a man … I feel like I'm being celebrated for doing something that lots of moms and women have been doing for a long time, and doing well."

In the past few years, Burbank schools have seen one or two men at any given time lead as presidents of PTAs at various schools, and Frintner once held that role at Luther Burbank Middle School.

For the past two years, he has been financial secretary for the district's PTA council.

Frintner often sees fathers volunteer at school carnivals or talent shows when their physical strength or know-how is needed to carry heavy items, set up equipment or make repairs.

While those men serve a purpose, Frintner said he's hoping to break the stereotype that PTA leaders are always women.

"There's lots of dads like me who aren't necessarily handy but who have other skills or are good leaders," he said.

Frintner, 53, began working for the Walt Disney Co. nearly 24 years ago in Chicago, where he was born and raised in the suburb of Brookfield. However, he transferred early in his career to Disney's Burbank studios, where he has spent much of his time in the accounts receivable department.

He remains a fan of the Chicago Bulls, Bears and White Sox.

His work skills easily transferred to the PTA, and after volunteering in schools when his two children were younger, he was tapped to become treasurer for the Edison Elementary School PTA seven years ago.

With more than 800,000 PTA members statewide, men are continuing to grow in numbers, according to Colleen You, president of the California State PTA.

"We're seeing a real effort in the local male leadership to involve other men," she said. "Dads are reaching out to other dads."

She is seeing more men arrive at training events and conferences boasting top leadership roles.

"To see a male council president is not so rare," You added, attributing the increase in involvement to the PTA's mission for the well-being of children and their education, which resonates with every member.

Years ago, Frintner said he read that children are happier when their father gets more involved in their school life.

"That's one of the reasons why I got more involved," he said. "And I believe that [it's true.]"

This coming school year, Frintner's son will be a senior at Burroughs High and his daughter will start eighth grade at Luther Burbank Middle School.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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