SPFHS bids farewell to retiring educator Janet Ramos


photo by Ian MacPherson; artwork by Ian MacPherson

Ian MacPherson

As senior graduation draws near, so does the time for retiring educators to depart from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. Five members of the SPFHS community will be embarking on an exciting new stage of their lives: teachers Laurie Call, Suzanne Doliber, Janet Ramos and Mary Kate Schiller, and supervisor Vincent Turturiello.
Ramos reflects on her time at SPFHS and looks to the future.
Q: How long have you been working at the High School?
In total I will have worked 31 years at the SPF High School. I have worked 16 years as a special education teacher and 15 years in administration as supervisor.
Q: What were you doing before you started working here?
For the first two years of my teaching career, I worked as a middle school teacher in another district.
Q: What led you to work here?
An “open mind” led me to SPFHS. When I was taking a graduate course at Rutgers, one of my classmates told me that she was a teacher at SPFHS and she knew of an opening for the upcoming school year. Although I was not looking for a new position, she thought I had the skills and enthusiasm they were looking for at SPFHS. At the time, I had no interest in working with high schoolers, so I thought.  I decided to be open to growth and literally forced myself to apply for the position.  31 years later it was the best decision I made.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job here?
Temporarily putting aside the task of teaching academics and finding  opportunities to have conversations with students—learn about their strengths and personal interests. Making real connections with students, as unique individuals and really getting to know them, has been the most rewarding part of my career.  My primary goal as a special education teacher has always been to help students become more aware of their personal strengths when overcoming any academic difficulties. When these moments occur, as casual and fleeting as they may be, it becomes the most rewarding aspect of my job.  
Q: What do you plan on doing after you retire?
Although I am currently retiring from the teaching profession, I will be pursuing other career interests, but outside the classroom. Regardless of my next position, my schedule will definitely have flexible hours so that I have plenty of time to visit regularly the YMCA, the yoga center and friends for lunch.
Q: What are you going to miss the most about SPF?
The most important thing I will miss is the positive energy students can bring to my day. Yes, high schoolers can be challenging at times, but most of the time they are interesting, talented, thoughtful and funny. Everyday I come to work I can always count on smiling at some student comment or antic during the course of my day. I can always count on students bringing some type of humor to my day. I will miss that.
I will also miss the camaraderie and support of the many colleagues I have met at SPFHS.  Over the course of thirty years,  I have had the privilege of cultivating some wonderful relationship with colleagues, I call friends, and I will miss that very much.  
Q: What are you going to miss the least about SPF?
The 130 plus decibel ring of our fire alarm.
Q: This year’s Senior Issue theme is “Pop Art.” What has made your experience here pop?
It’s always about the people, the SPFHS community…students, teachers,counselors,CST, aides, secretaries, custodians, administration and the tech support staff. Everyone contributes a little something of their uniqueness that makes it “pop” as a  special place to learn and work.