Jim started his career in public education in Fairfax County in the mid 1950s, teaching 7th grade at Woodlawn Elementary School. (At that time, most elementary schools went through 7th grade.) From Woodlawn, Jim became a business teacher at Lee and Edison High Schools.
Jim was raised in Robertsdale, Pennsylvania, a small mining town in the mountains of south-central Pennsylvania. Jim was the middle child, with three brothers and two sisters. His maternal grandfather was the sheriff of Huntingdon County and his paternal grandfather was an Italian immigrant. Jim’s father, the town barber, taught his sons to cut hair, and Jim had his barber’s license at 14. He graduated from Robertsdale High School in 1949 and from there he went to Shippensburg State Teachers College, receiving his degree in business education in 1954.
After graduation he enlisted in the Army and was sent to Germany. Joanne joined him after her graduation and they were married there in Bad Nauheim in 1955. After his tour of duty, they settled in Virginia, where Jim received his Master’s of Education from American University. Jim started his career in public education in Fairfax County in the mid 1950s, teaching 7th grade at Woodlawn Elementary School. (At that time, most elementary schools went through 7th grade.) From Woodlawn, Jim became a business teacher at Lee and Edison High Schools. As a strong advocate for students and staff, he was then asked to serve as a special assistant to the superintendent. The next assignment was as principal at Groveton High and from there he returned to central administration to work in the grants office. Jim’s interests and compassion for students led him to become a valuable contributor on a myriad of special projects, including Head Start.
After a very successful career with FCPS, he retired in the mid 1980s. His retirement allowed him to dedicate his skills and enthusiasm to the Northern Virginia Athletic Directors Administrators and Coaches Association (NVADACA). His expertise and interest in the stock market led him to become the investment/financial manager for the organization, allowing NVADACA to build a strong scholarship portfolio. As a result of his vision and prudent investment decisions, today NVADACA has a very solid scholarship fund, creating the opportunity for many student athletes in Northern Virginia to continue their education at the collegiate level.
Mr. Ross passed away in the fall of 2019, leaving his wife Joanne (herself a former FCPS elementary teacher); son Mark, who was a System Programmer II for FCPS; and daughter Cynthia who taught several years for FCPS and is now an EL instructional coach for Loudoun County Public Schools. Jim also left four grandchildren: Brian, Matthew, Jasmine, and Mia. Because of his dedication to young people and his significant role with NVADACA, this organization is honored to present a scholarship in his memory to recognize and assist a deserving student athlete.