By James King
A beloved member of the Sunset District community will be retiring soon
from her position as the Sunset Co-op Nursery School’s director. After being involved
with the school in one capacity or another for the past 35 years, Laura Ossa
has decided to retire to spend more time with her family, develop her hobbies and
travel to her native Ireland.
“I would like to say that it has been an enormously wonderful experience working
at the co-op” she said.
Her last day as director at the Sunset Co-op will be Aug. 4. Members of the Sunset
Co-op community have high praise for the outgoing director.
Andy Olive, founder of the San FranPsycho clothing line, is a former student and current
“Ossa carries the school on her shoulders, directing the day
ever so gracefully with a strong will, open mind and understanding
heart,” Olive said. “She has helped raise hundreds of children in the Sunset District and
everyone who has crossed her path continues on with the fondest of memories of her.”
Ossa came to San Francisco in 1981 after moving back and forth between the
U.S. and Europe with her husband. Upon arriving in San Francisco, she looked for
a preschool for her son and was drawn to the Sunset Co-op. She admired the school’s
philosophy and became involved as a parent of a toddler enrolled at the
“When I walked into Sunset, I just loved the feeling of the place. I immediately felt at
home,” she said.
Olive explained that when he was a student there, Ossa organized
a group of young mothers to support one another as their children were growing up and
navigating their preschool years. Three years after walking into
the school for the first time, Ossa became a teacher. Soon thereafter,
she became Sunset’s director.
For the last 28 years, Ossa has led the Sunset Co-op, located at 4245 Lawton St., and
impacted the lives of parents, children, and teachers alike.
“I have met so many wonderful parents and children from
whom I have learned a lot. I could not have done this work
for so long without the support of the parents,” Ossa said.
Ossa is happy with what she and the community have created
and accomplished. She explained that she is pleased to have been a
part of the safe, playful environment that children have experienced
over the years.
“I am proud of our parent education program, where we teach
parents how to understand preschoolers, how to listen to
preschoolers and how to help them experience the full range of
their emotions and build resilience.”
Although she will miss the Sunset Co-op community, Ossa is looking forward to her
retirement. She is not leaving the field of children’s education entirely,
however. After a brief hiatus, she plans to continue teaching parent
education and to further her studies in child development. She
will also be spending time with her granddaughter.
Ossa’s retirement will be bittersweet. She will enjoy the free
time but thinks there will be aspects that will be somewhat difficult.
“I will miss being a part of the community even though it will
always be a part of me. I will miss the community of people
dedicated to making a better world for children,” she said.
Sunset Co-op held a retirement party for Ossa on April 8,
at Soma Streat Food. The party included musical performances
by alumni, raffle, prizes and food and drinks. More than 200 alumni,
parents, teachers and well-wishers were in attendance.
Krista Boscoe, the parent of a former
student and school volunteer,
attended the party.
“It has been a wonderful time as so many folks (all ages) are
coming back to give Laura hugs and kisses and tell her how she
has changed their lives and helped their families.”
Upon reflecting about Ossa’s impact as a director at the Sunset
Co-op, Olive said, “Children look at her as a superhero and
parents are constantly coming to her for life advice. She’s shaped
To learn more about the Sunset Co-op, visit the website at www.sunsetcoop.org.