We had the recent pleasure of meeting Joy Ross who is the VP of Communications on the PTA Council. As we learn more and more about the PTA and what we have to look forward to when our kids are in school, it is good to know there is a Council of volunteers in place and is a one-stop knowledge for all school related info across the district. Check out how this mom is making a difference across our schools!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in the area?
I have been living in Fairfield for 5 years and moved from the Upper Eastside of New York City after 15 years. I grew up in Manhasset, Long Island and attended Loyola University in Maryland.
Children / Age(s)
I have 2 children ages 7 & 3 and 2 step-daughters ages 14 & 10.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have traveled to over 60 countries and worked in Germany and Australia.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
The tough decisions we make to balance it all, motherhood, step-motherhood, wife, sister, co-worker, friend, and more.
Favorite local things to do in Fairfield?
My kids and I love to eat at Brick and Wood. Our favorite summer spot is the beach. Our favorite park is our backyard.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
The amazing neighbors and friends I have who are like family to us. A group of us rotate dinner and play time with our kids.
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant? Date night?
Date night, we like to try new places. Recently my husband and I went to Craft 260 and love the food. My kids love Brick and Wood!
What is your go-to activity for your family? For yourself?
We love to ride our bikes and walk everywhere downtown. Outside of Fairfield we enjoy skiing and traveling.
Funniest part that you’ve learned about parenthood?
Your kids are like you and it’s fun to see life through their eyes.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
My cell phone and my google calendar has made managing everyone’s schedules easy and gives me the ability to make “me” time.
Name one thing you regret when learning the ropes of parenthood and what you learned from it?
Working long hours actually does impact your kids. It took me being home to realize how much I was missing out on in their lives and how much they need their mom. I learned being present and giving my time is the best reward in life.
Tell us about your business, when & why you started, and the reason behind it?
When my first child entered Kindergarten I began attending a PTA meeting not knowing anything about the school and Fairfield. I was perplexed about the old style which made me dig into the technology foundation in Fairfield. With a digital background and a career in Advertising Technology there was so much I did not know about Fairfield. I want to make life easier between parents and the school system while enriching our children’s education.
I found out the grid was outdated (think dial-up!), the FPS are a Microsoft shop, Google chrome books were being rolled out in phases, our Director of IT has gotten grants from the State and Federal governments. Work is in progress and parents are needed to voice their points of view.
How do people get involved in the PTA?
I was trying to find my way in town and came across a group of volunteers who make things happen, the PTA Council. We are the body of officers that provide leadership, stewardship, and funding for amazing programs across our Fairfield Public Schools PTA organizations. I was nominated for a role to see through the change I was puzzled about and here I am, being the change I want to see. The problem was outdated communications, no digital banking and no centralized location for documents. There was not a secure website or database of members. Information from PTAC was outdated and static. Anyone can volunteer to form or join a committee. People can come up with solutions to problems, gain buy in, and lead a project.
If you hadn’t started this business, what do you think you would be doing today?
I know starting a new digital platform across the PTAC is a 3 year endeavor and a ton of volunteer hours. I had to pick where I am going to spend my time. I also want to make sure my skills fit the project therefore I have support and people to help as well as built in future plans. If I was not doing this I would be investing my time into an EdTech start up I created in Grad School. More to come on this next project! I put PTAC first because I know with our digital generation how important it is for communication to come from a valid source. The PTAC brand is a long standing non-profit organization that brings together our community and advocates for our children’s education across the district.
Was it hard to start building a brand while you had children?
Doing any work with kids is a juggle. Being on my laptop or phone always drives them nuts but I love when they play together without my involvement. They come up with creative play and create new ideas to talk about over dinner. I make it a point to always sit down with my kids for dinner, say our prayers and talk with each other without distractions.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and a family?
I have been in many atypical parts of our society. I was raised by my father, lived through the battle of cancer with my mother, lost both parents, been unemployed many times through the dot com industry, traveled the world, commuted to NYC from Fairfield, went back to school for my masters after 20 years, step-mom, working mom, volunteer mom, wife and at-home mom. I like to think I am a “mom” who is giving back to the garden that will grow my children. You can’t take back time so make each day with your kids count. Your kids need your love to grow.
Who has most influenced you to be the mother that you are today?
Mother Teresa – “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
Your value as a mother goes far beyond any pay check. Be kind to one another, lift each other up, share a hug, and value each other for the skills each one of us brings to a group. Work together for the greater good of our community and our children who will learn and grow by your actions. Each of us is a role model.