Hometown Heroes: Two Columbus Moms Forming New Special Education PTA
After endless frustration from not receiving the services their own children require from our city’s school district, two local moms are teaming up to create a new Special Education PTA right here in Columbus. Explore the full story to see how you can get involved and finally have a voice for your child’s needs.
An artistic expression of local Columbus moms GaQuilla Hunter-Mathews (left) and Jennifer LeDenney (right), superimposed on a colorized image of the Muscogee County Schools building in Columbus, Georgia. These two hometown heroes are teaming up to form the city’s first Special Education PTA, seeking to help Columbus parents finally have a voice for their children with special needs.
Image Credit:
Muscogee Muckraker

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COLUMBUS, Ga. — A new type of PTA is being formed in the Fountain City specifically for the parents of children with special needs, thanks to two local moms who are teaming up to help others in our community.

GaQuilla Hunter-Mathews and Jennifer LeDenney, both the parents of children with special needs, grew increasingly frustrated with trying to advocate for the services their children require from the Muscogee County School District. After feeling as if their words were falling on deaf ears, they decided to step up to the plate and take action — and not only for themselves, but for our entire community as a whole.

The newly-conceptualized Muscogee County chapter of the Special Education Parent-Teacher Association, or SEPTA for short, is projected to function just as any other PTA, with the difference being that it is specifically laser-focused for the parents of children with special needs. 

Unlike typical PTAs that are specific to one school, the Muscogee County SEPTA will be community-wide throughout the entire county. The county-wide approach will provide a place for parents to finally have a voice, as well as helping the Muscogee County School District to better serve each individual child’s needs.

According to the National PTA’s website, SEPTAs also serve to bring families together, building and strengthening communities in addition to helping to better serve the needs of children:

“Families with children who have special needs often seek out opportunities to meet other parents in similar circumstances. Special Education PTAs (SEPTAs) provide this opportunity and often bring together families of students who attend different schools in a district under one PTA umbrella. Becoming a SEPTA provides families with an organizational structure, resources and the opportunity to be a collective voice for their child and for all children.”

Though the organization is still in its preliminary planning stages, Hunter-Mathews and LeDenney are looking for other interested parents to help form the local chapter of the nationally-accredited organization. 

With a minimum requirement of 25 members to get started, the team is inviting all who are interested to attend an informational meeting on Saturday, March 18, 2023 from 2-3 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Body of Christ Worship Center located at 1500 13th Avenue, Columbus, Ga. 31901.

Those with questions or who are interested in learning more can contact GaQuilla Hunter-Mathews through the Muscogee SEPTA Community Facebook page, or directly by email at gaquilla75@gmail.com.

We at the Muckraker would like to sincerely thank Ms. Hunter-Mathews and Ms. LeDenney for taking the initiative to help make our community a better place. Actions like yours are the real drivers of community change. Your leadership serves to bring members of our community together, strengthening relationships and making our city a better place to live. From our hearts to yours: thank you.

You're setting the example for others — and they should take note.

Facts are stubborn things — and we’ll keep publishing them, whether city officials like them or not.


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