Photo teacher retires after 27 years


Photo Credit: Mia Ramdayal

Ms. Ross stated that she will miss her colleagues and students, but she hopes to come and visit in the future.

by Mia Ramdayal, Senior Staff Writer

It is a warm spring day at Syracuse University. From a distance, she could see the grass of the football field simmer, fresh green, and the seats shone silver and blue. The lenses of her Twin-Reflex camera glinted against the sunlight. As she put the camera strap around her neck, she peered through the tiny lens and grazed her hand along the right side of the camera that had her initials J.R. She zoomed in towards the field and the natural light flooded through the camera. When the lens focus, she slowly presses the black button on top until she heard it click.

Ever since her college years, Ms. Joanne Ross has loved photography. Before majoring in photography, Ross received her masters in Art Education at the University of Buffalo. Soon after, she went to school at Syracuse University to continue Art Education and taught elementary art for 6 years at a public school in upstate New York. Later, she attended SUNY Buffalo and received her M.F.A. in photography.

“I felt like I could extract beauty from my environment by taking pictures,” Ross said.

Since 1989, Ross has shared her knowledge about photography with Glen Rock students. She teaches Photo 1, Photo 2, Photo 3, and Honors Photography.  Ross encourages students to explore their creativity and to use light, time, and surface to form interesting images.

Prior to teaching at Glen Rock, Ross taught at the School of Visual Arts and Rockland Community College in New York, Ramapo College and  New Jersey City University as an adjunct professor.

Although Ross pursues photography in the classroom most days, she continues to display her work in several art shows.

“Some of my selected works have been showcased at events. Three years ago, I had a one-man show in Texas with some of my older pieces and, this year, one of my artworks will be featured at the Yonkers Art Festival in New York,” Ross said.

After retirement, Ross plans to focus on continuing to develop her photographs and exhibit them. She also plans to do some traveling with her family.

“Now I’ll have time to read all of the great literature,” Ross said.

Mara Siegel, Web Design, Sculpture, and Broadcast Media teacher, is sad to see her fellow colleague go.

“Ms. Ross is a special teacher. She is patient and truly wants to help her students become inspired by their work. She has helped build a wonderful foundation within the school’s art department that will only get better and grow with the new teacher addition,” Siegel said.

In terms of her replacement next year, Ross said that no one has been selected to fill her position.

“I will have some say in who gets the job,” she said. “I hope that whoever the school chooses has more if not equals the amount of passion I have for photography and teaching.”