WMLCPS Names Ransone Teacher of the Year

WMLCPS Names Holly Ransone District Teacher of the Year
Posted on 02/05/2024

Life has come full circle for Westmoreland High School art teacher Holly Ransone. The 1981 graduate of Washington & Lee High School was recently named the Westmoreland County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year.  As she begins her 39th year in education, Ms. Ransone remains as optimistic about art and her students as she has since beginning her career as a teacher in 1985. Except for a brief hiatus for an extended maternity leave and a three year venture at Woodland Academy, Ms. Ransone has spent the rest of her teaching career at Washington & Lee High School and now Westmoreland High School.

Through the years, Ms. Ransone thinks she has taught over 4,300 students the beauty of art.  She said, “I love to see students’ faces when they do something new and exciting. It is the ultimate “Ah, ha” moment when they gain confidence in themselves.”  She has had many successful students.  Just recently Ms. Ransone received an email from a former student in the 1990’s thanking her for her training. They had just started their own video business.  She has stayed in touch with many of her former student artists.

Her own career path was shaped by her love of the area and its beauty. Ms. Ransone has lived in the Montross area since birth. She and her family still live at the century old farm, Level Grove Farm, in Lyells. Her family started the farm in the 1700’s and it has remained in the family ever since.  Each family member has a home there and this is where Ms. Ransone learned the importance of natural beauty.  She was interested in art from an early age and was encouraged to explore the woods and fields of the family land. She attended Mary Washington College and received her BA in studio art and earned a Collegiate Professional Teaching Certificate for grades k-12.  She is a proud member of Alpha Delta Kappa Sorority – Beta Lambda chapter. While at Mary Washington College, Ms. Ransone studied with nationally known artist Johnny P. Johnson, who also acted as her mentor-teacher during her student teaching time at James Monroe High School in Fredericksburg.   A known civil rights advocate, painter, and educator, Mr. Johnson was “my greatest influence as a teacher.”

Ms. Ransone has been teaching Art I-V for grades 9-12 since 1988.  In addition to her teaching, she has been busy with many other activities throughout the years. For seventeen years, she was active in the Montross Volunteer Rescue Squad where she served as an EMT-B.  She is also a member of the NEA, VEA, and the local teachers’ association, WEA. She is currently the Electives Lead teacher. Ms. Ransone has helped different groups with art. Her pen and ink drawings of tour homes have been featured several times in the state booklet for the Garden Clubs of both Westmoreland and Richmond counties. Additionally, her work has been exhibited in the “Art Teachers of the Northern Neck” show at Rappahannock Community College. In 2015, she created a privately commissioned series of hand-painted tiles portraying scenes from local Cameron Farms and has had work exhibited in published cookbooks, art shows, and at juried shows.

Ms. Ransone is the parent of two daughters, Brooke, an RN at Riverside Hospital and Emily, a photographer at the Newport News Mariners Museum. She has two grandchildren “that I love to pieces, Libby and Charlie.”  Even her chickens are artistic as she specializes in growing “Easter Eggers” that lay blue eggs.  She treats her chickens as well as she treats students allowing them to “grow old naturally” in a geriatric coop instead of ending up in a cooking pot.

An avid and adventuresome cook, she hopes to write and illustrate a cookbook in the future. She has been engaged for several years to her fiancé Ona Moody, Jr.  He is a Virginia State Trooper and fellow artist and storyteller.

Her plans for the future include many interests; working on her art, doing sculpture, painting, cooking, and raising her chickens.  An avid gardener, Ms. Ransone already has an area at her farm for “a happy garden” that is filled with hundreds of colorful zinnias.  She is looking forward to the planned flower beds outside the art class windows so she can teach students about nature and colors. “I just want the high school to flourish and produce productive citizens for Westmoreland County. I want to show them that living in a beautiful spot like the Northern Neck is a gift and they should enjoy it.”

Congratulations to Ms. Holly Ransone, District Teacher of the Year, for her long and appreciated career at Westmoreland County Public Schools. She represents all the greatness that teaching offers to her students and her community.