Darlington native continues family commitment to education

Educator and Darlington native, Ms. Denise Ross. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

By Stephan Drew, Editor


Born in the 1950s in Darlington, South Carolina, Paint Branch paraeducator Ms. Denise Ross is the youngest of five children.  Now in her eighth year at PB, Ms. Ross credits her love for education to her family ties,  especially her aunt and sisters.  Ms. Ross’ teaching career began at Banneker Middle School, and then at Stonegate Elementary School, before landing at PB.  According to Ms. Ross, her  favorite part about being a paraeducator is, “working with the students.” 

Of course, with all things where there is a favorite, there must be a least favorite part, right? Not for Ms. Ross who says, “ I don’t have a least favorite part  when it comes to being a paraeducator.” While Ms. Ross enjoys working at PB, retirement is on her mind at least a  little. As for what she plans to do after she retires from Paint Branch she says, “travel the world.”   

One thing on Ms. Ross’s bucket list that she wants to achieve is  “Getting her master’s degree or her doctorate.” This is surprising to most people because of her love of working in education.  One thing Ms. Ross says most people don’t know about her is that she has a grown son. When asked about her life motto, she says she has two: “Be  yourself” and “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” 

Ms. Ross has a heart of gold and is the epitome of a hard-working woman who loves her job. She loves what she does and the people she works with. Whatever she does, she does it well; that’s who Ms. Denise Ross is.

Ms. Ross is the sister of Darlington City Councilmember Elaine Reed. Reed is a native of Darlington. Elaine is the first born of the late Robert and Pearl Ross. Reed is a graduate of Mayo High School and Shaw University, where she received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. She spent several years in Los Angeles, California, and returned home to be hired at WBTW TV-13 as the first Black News Reporter. Reed was the Morning Anchor and the hostess of a weekly talk show called “Happening”. She then took a position as the first black congressional staff assistant with the Sixt District Congressman John Jenrette. She also held many positions in the area — Pubglic Relations Director for the Darlington County Community Action Agency, radio announcer WYNN Radio Station in Florence, and Lobbyist for the S.C. Democratic Women’s Council.

Under former S.C. Governor David Beasley, she was appointed Project Director in the Department of Health and Human Services, where she stayed until her retirement.

Known for her dedication and commitment, Reed remains intricately involved in local politics as well as community and civic affairs. She currently serves on the Darlington City Council and is active in St. James UMC, Darlington County Section National Council of Negro Women, Daughter of Elks Excelsior Temple 790, and the Darlington Chapter of the NAACP. During her career, Reed has worked on the campaigns for Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Reed loves hosting events and has played several roles in local theatre productions. Deeply spiritual and dedicated to her family, her personal qualities are her pisitive energy and outlook. She is a loving mother and family member, a loyal friend and she is always ready with her beautiful smile while meeting new people. Ms. Reed is the mother of two — Keysha Ross and Lorand “Cisco” Reed III. Ms. Reed was married to the late Lorand C. Reed Jr. of Los Angeles, California.

Author: Stephan Drew

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