Topanga Mountain School

knowledge naturally

A unique and innovative program that provides for a solid academic foundation in core subjects, inspires a love of learning and cultivates compassionate, well-rounded citizens.

Mountain Mail 2/19/19

So much has happened in February already. I’m glad it is a short month. Despite some happy times it is also proving challenging and heartbreaking in so many ways.

For our returning parents you will have already received my email regarding the death of our friend and fellow parent, Amy Lichtenstein. Amy’s son Ben graduated from TMS last year. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, husband Steve, Ben, and daughter, Ali.

Please see the schedule for Friday as the whole staff wishes to support the family and pay their final respects at the memorial that afternoon. The service will be at Mt. Sinai in Simi Valley at 2:00 pm.

February started though with a inspired and thoughtful trip to the Museum of Tolerance where the children showed once again their ability to connect and reflect on such an important subject. As usual, we heard wonderful feedback from the Museum on the demeanor and respect of our student body. Always a proud moment.

The rain continued to throw a few wrenches in our Wednesday and Friday plans, but hopefully these blue skies will stay with us and we can return to a more predictable rhythm. You may even know what we are doing in advance!

This week

This Wednesday we will be back on the Mesa so please drop off at school at 8:15am or at Pine Tree at 8:40am or directly at the Mesa at 8:50am. Pick up at school at 3:30pm - cooking class participants at 4:00pm

This Friday Half Day. Please pick up your child at 12 noon. Thank you for understanding.


The weather may be starting to cooperate but unfortunately we are kind of a man down…..

Kristine broke her foot last Friday and it needs a lot of tender loving care to avoid surgery. Despite her ever cheery persona and the bag of peas, it is still a major break.

Kristine will teach most of her classes, but she is obviously out of commission for Wednesdays and Fridays and, if it proves too taxing, other days as well. Kristine will need driving everywhere and will be limited in much that she can do.

Your patience and help will be gratefully appreciated.

Valentine’s Dance

Our Valentine’s Dance was a resounding success. Having been at all of them over the years, this one particularly struck me with its sense of collectiveness. Everyone truly had a great time.

A huge thank you for actually making the night run like a charm and ensuring the kids had so much fun, must go to Tate Ammons (Jack’s dad). Tate did a masterful job as the DJ!! Thanks for pulling together the music and being the one adult who really got the full experience with our kids.

Thank you and Valentine’s love to those wonderful women who organized the whole thing. Wendy Hecht, Wendy Rissman and Anne Lombardo! They led the charge with their team of trusty helpers: Steve Ackrich and his magical photo booth, Vince Lombardo, Sharon Barkan, Stephanie Tavelman, Kathy Gordon, Cindy Hitchcock, and Shannon Meyers (who came with two can-do guys in tow!) and my personal valentine, Antonio. We had a host of great chaperones too, thank you Frank Tavelman, AJ and Lesley Webster, Sue Palmeri, and our newest addition to the TMS family, Marc and Blossom Shores. Thank you Blossom for all the photos below, no easy task! Finally always deep appreciation for Cindy and Bobby Espinoza, clean up aficionados. Bobby stays until the last light is turned off and the last door is locked.

Truly incredible team work… thank you

New Family Members

As I mentioned we have a new family at TMS! Welcome Sienna and her parents, Marc and Blossom. We are so happy to have you as part of the TMS family. And so glad you got to meet many of your fellow parents on Thursday night.

TMS students doing their thing!!

Despite the rain, there were some opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

Here are some snaps of Mountain Biking and three “the rain won’t stop us” funster at Malibu Creek State Park.

Another clear and fabulous LA day included a trip to the Griffith Observatory - on James Dean’s birthday no less!

And finally, here is Marcelle’s class showing us math in action. They are so proud!!

Happenings in our Community


This Saturday Cecilie (our dance teacher) has an event for her non-profit, Move The World.

Always lots of fun, especially if the Valentine’s Dance got you in the mood!!






Topanga Mountain School  |  5920 Shoup Ave., Woodland Hills, CA 91367  |  818.346.8355