Patty Bunker

National Director, Family-School Partnerships


Patty is a National Director of Family-School Partnerships for Family Leadership. She has trained more than 5,000 school-based family-engagement teams in the Parenting Partners™ model, which has produced over 200,000 parent leaders.

Patty has over 20 years experience as a licensed Marriage Family Therapist, University professor, and popular keynote/workshop speaker for National, Title I, and State Educator and Parent Engagement conferences. She also served as a school counselor (K-12) and therapist for children and teens struggling with stress, depression/anxiety, school, or social related issues.

Patty developed the first Parenting Partners™ curriculum in 1996 for a school which had more than 400 homeless students and immigrant parents from over 20 countries. She tried using existing programs, but none valued parent contributions. She combined adult learning principles, family strengths, and leadership fundamentals to create a capacity-building model that produces strong family engagement and student success.

She further developed the model in fifty schools in her community for five years. Parenting Partners™ then expanded in 2001 as a resource for school districts nationwide. Since then the curriculum has advanced with input from thousands of Parenting Partners™ Facilitators and parents, updated in more than 15 editions and expanded into additional curriculum in Parenting Partners Pro.

Patty and her husband David are the proud parents of a son, daughter, and now have four beautiful grandchildren. They were also guardians of Patty’s teen sister while in their 20’s and have extensive experience with adoptive and foster families.

Patty graduated from American University in Washington DC, and holds a Master’s Degree from Fuller School of Psychology in Pasadena, Ca. She leads our team of Parent Engagement Directors, conducts Parenting Partners™ training events, and has spoken at more than 50 educational conferences. Secret talent: Patty is a musician who sings, plays piano and violin.