From Judy To Joe

From Judy Accardi Co-Director

After 20 years as Director of Play Mountain Place and almost 20 more years in other staff roles here, I am ready to begin to focus my time and energy on other areas of my life that are important to me − taking more time for myself, for my family, time to travel, to write, to focus more on my private practice and to explore other interests I’ve long been curious to try.

My plan is to remain in the Director role at Play Mountain Place until the end of the 2020-2021 school year, at which time I will no longer be involved in the day-to-day life of the school.

The Board of Trustees and our staff are in support of me making this life change. The Board and I have planned for, and thought through, this transition for several years now. We all feel secure that our transition plan is a strong, solid plan that will ensure school’s future and our commitment to the mission and values we have held dear since 1949.

It’s hard for me to remember a time when Play Mountain Place wasn’t a powerful and influential part of my life. I came here as a young woman and was swept away by what I experienced. I brought my children here. I grew up here alongside so many of you − parents, teachers, friends, and, of course, the children. I can’t imagine a more rewarding career than working with and around children everyday. They are full of life, full of emotions, and are constantly taking the risks to grow and change. They are the models for this next step in my life − to trust myself to make this change.

I know I will have many different feelings over this next year. But most of all, I want to enjoy my time with you and continue to offer whatever support, experience and wisdom I might have to give.

From Joe Ringlehan Co-Director

I arrived at Play Mountain Place in 1987 and immediately knew that this was where I belonged. I was home.

I taught here for 5 years before leaving to work as a Social Worker in LAUSD. To keep myself connected to this school, I stayed to lead the Communication Skills Workshops. In my work, I took what I learned and applied it to any interaction I could — with students, teachers or parents. When my daughter Alex was born, there was never a doubt where she would be spending her pre-school and elementary school years. My husband Joey joined the staff as Alex moved from House Group to Mountain Yard, and he continues to work here in a teaching role.

To work and parent in a Play Mountain Place style isn’t taking an easy route. It takes constant hard work, self-reflection and personal growth. The rewards, though… the rewards are worth every struggle.

Play Mountain Place has been such an important part of my life and my family’s life. Because of its significance, taking on this new challenge is as important to me as it is scary!

Stepping in after Judy leaves will not be easy. She has guided this school with tireless patience and love and skill. Judy has been one of many strong women that have left an indelible mark on this institution we love so much. I hope the entire community will join me in making sure Judy’s legacy, along with that of founder Phyllis Fleishman, longtime Director Patricia Pool Gross, and the many others who have guided and directed this school, carries on for another 70 years.


August 2020

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