community

Beloved Teacher Retiring

SB_Page1_LauraOssa_May2017

Laura Ossa, a teacher retiring after 30 years at the Sunset Co-op Nursery School (center) is surrounded by friends at her retirement celebration. From left to right are, Lebo, Rhaetia Hanscum, Ossa, Shane Ossa and Bo Carper. Photo by Philip Liborio Gangi.

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

teacher.

“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

school.

“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.SB_Inside3_LauraOssa_May2017

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

a community.”

To learn more about the Sunset Co-op, visit the website at www.sunsetcoop.org.

SB_Inside1_LauraOssa_May2017

Laura Ossa sings at her retirement party, which was held at the
Soma Steat Food on April 8 . Performing with Ossa are
Charity on keyboards and Lebo on guitar. Photo by Philip Liborio anti.

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