Central PTO board's only dad enters final year

When Sujit Menon and his wife decided to move their family out of Chicago in 2014, it was Hinsdale's schools that helped the couple to finally choose the village as their new home. Since then, Menon has committed his time and talent to making those schools even better for his own children and everyone in the community.

Menon joined the Hinsdale Middle School Parent Teacher Organization board in 2018.

"There was an opening for a webmaster," said Menon, who was working part-time as a consultant and had time to offer his community. With two children in the Hinsdale schools, Menon said he was interested in finding a way to be more involved with his kids' education.

"I wanted to be closer to my kids," he said.

In 2020, Menon followed his children to Hinsdale Central High School, becoming webmaster, followed by communications director, and finally, treasurer on the Hinsdale Central PTO Executive Board. Now, with son Ashwin entering his sophomore year at Purdue University and daughter Maya entering her senior year of high school, Menon, too, is finishing up his tenure at Central this year.

As treasurer, Menon oversees the budgets not only for the PTO overall, but for its many subcommittees.

"I keep tabs with each of the committee chairs," he said.

He also works with the PTO's accountants to prepare tax reports and other documentation.

It's an important job, but not one that requires a lot of qualifications or experience to obtain, Menon said. The willingness to help and to learn are the most important qualifications to being part of the PTO board, he said.

"They're a very supportive group of people," Menon said.

Menon's commitment to bettering the learning environment for kids goes far beyond his own children's needs. He also is a longtime volunteer at Helping Hand in Countryside. He uses his business acumen to help the organization, which offers services to people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Over the years he's helped with many things, including how best to expand services to people who are transitioning from high school to adulthood.

"This is what they call the cliff," said Menon, speaking to the fact that most support for clients of Helping Hand ends at age 22. Menon worked with Helping Hand to build and implement a curriculum that eases that transition and teaches skills that promote independence after high school.

Menon's departure at the end of the 2023-34 school year means the Central PTO Executive Board will once again be an all-female group.

"I am the only dad," Menon said, but he hopes other men in the community will consider getting involved.

"You get to work with some amazing women," he said, all of whom are dedicated to bringing out the best in the schools and addressing the needs and concerns of the community.

Menon said the option to join meetings virtually has improved participation by men at the PTO's general meetings, held every other month for all to attend.

"We get a lot more engagement, and we see a lot more dads engage through that process," he said.

- story by Sandy Illian Bosch, photo by Jim Slonoff

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean