Ross only had one profession in mind while growing up
When searching for a role model growing up, Linda Ross didn't look far.
"When I was in elementary school, I looked up to teachers," the Appleton native said. "They're the world's best people and I wanted to be just like them."
And based on the fact she had a sister going into school to be a teacher before her, the decision to become a teacher was an easy one.
Fast-forward 32 years and Ross' career is nearing the end as she announced her retirement, effective at the end of this school year.
Ross has spent 30 of those years in Ellsworth as a special education teacher at the junior high/middle school level.
The inspiration to teach in that field was all personal.
"There was a family member that had special needs, which touched my heart, so I wanted to help them," she said.
Ross graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a degree in elementary and special education. Thanks to student teaching in Menomonie, she heard about an opening in Boyceville and was hired after graduation.
Ross' time in Boyceville was brief, as she was only there for two years before hearing about an opening in Ellsworth in 1977.
"I've enjoyed being in Ellsworth for 30 years," she said.
She said the biggest change in her 30 years was the decision to move from the old junior high (now the Ames Dinner Theatre) to the current middle school in 1995 in Ellsworth.
At the old school, she was one of three teachers who shared a room. Now, Ross has her own room equipped with a kitchen
"It revitalized my teaching," she said. "Special Education kids need space and we weren't getting that at the junior high level. It's a lot easier to function in these surroundings."
Another alteration to Special Education she hasn't enjoyed has been the paperwork.
"There's so much paperwork in special education, it's frustrating because we're not spending more time with the kids," she said. "They're either adding or deleting rules. They can never stay with one thing."
Ross said she's unsure of what she'll do next, as once the school year ends, she'll still teach summer school.
"We're trying to get everything set up for next year because there are so many things you have to know (in Special Ed) to make for a smooth transition for kids," she said.
She did mention an autism project and a couple of other projects in store. However, she was certain of one thing.
"With two kids in school (sons Jon and Trevor are currently both students at River Falls High School), I'm not done," she said. Ross has been married to Thomas, who works for Donaldson's in Baldwin, for 27 years.
Ross' advice for parents is to be involved in their kids' education and be supportive.
"Help them when they're young," she said.