Ross School's Founder 'Graduates' Herself

Courtney Sale Ross, the Ross School founder, with members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation at a celebration in her honor at the Ross School. Ross School/Madison Fender Photos

One week before students in the class of 2018 at the Ross School graduated, the school's founder, Courtney Sale Ross, celebrated her own graduation of sorts on June 3. Mrs. Ross has officially transitioned to the role of trustee emeritus on the school's board of trustees. She founded the school in 1991 along with her late husband, Steven J. Ross.

An air of ambiguity as to what exactly the celebration was all about hung in the senior building on June 3, where the event was held; the word "retirement" was never mentioned. According to a press release sent by the school, the focus of the event was to reflect upon the ways in which Mrs. Ross impacted student lives and global education over the last 27 years.

There were gospel singers, Native American dances and drumming by members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, and a documentary film chronicling the school's history.

More than 400 members of the Ross community attended the celebration, including the founding mentors Ralph Abraham, a professor of mathematics at the University of California Santa Cruz, and Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist and the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Additional mentors in attendance included the Ross School parents Bruce Stewart, a guest scientist in the department of applied science at Brookhaven National Laboratory, Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, the Wasserman dean at the University of California Los Angeles's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and Carola Suarez-Orozco, co-director of U.C.L.A.'s Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education. Jay Schneiderman, the Southampton Town supervisor and a former Ross teacher, and Frank Quevedo, the executive director of South Fork Natural History Museum and Nature Center, were also on hand.

"I am proud of all we have accomplished in our first 27 years. The upcoming integration of the Lower School into the East Hampton campus fulfills our goal of creating a sustainable prenursery to postgraduate school in one location, which allows students of all ages to interact with and learn from one another," Mrs. Ross said to those in attendance. "When my late husband and I founded Ross School, we had the vision to prepare students to become global citizens. That work continues, and I look forward to the school's future guided by a new generation of leaders." 

Courtney Sale Ross greeted guests upon their arrival at a celebration in her honor at the Ross School on June 3. From left, Mrs. Ross, Dr. Ralph Abraham, the Ross School founding mentor, Mrs. Ross’s daughter and first Ross School student, Nicole Ross Eloff ’01, Nicole’s husband, Rob Eloff, and their children, Christopher Ross Eloff and Benjamin Jay Eloff, and the Ross School mentors Dr. Carola Suárez-Orozco and Dr. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco.
Courtney Sale Ross with Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a former Ross teacher