Janice Friedman, Judith Bloch and Andrea Rieger.
The Board of Trustees of Variety Child Learning Center (VCLC) announced the retirement of Judith Simon Bloch, Founder/CEO, effective December 31, 2008.
Bloch founded VCLC (earlier known as Pres-Schooler's Workshop and then Variety Pre-Schooler's Workshop) in 1966 as one of the first therapeutic nursery schools for young children with learning, language and behavior problems. A pioneer in the field, Bloch believed that early intervention with parental involvement could make a lasting impact on a child's later development that is not possible if services are delayed.
When Ms. Bloch began the school, there was no public funding or entitlements for the education of young children with disabilities. She worked with federal, state and county policy makers to pass legislation, write regulations and secure funding. Ms. Bloch served as a member of various state task forces and advisory councils who were responsible for shaping policy related to preschool special education and early intervention.
Over the 42 years that Ms. Bloch has been the CEO of VCLC, she has received numerous honors including: induction into the 2008 Community Hall of Fame sponsored by the Community Advisory Board of Thirteen/WNET and WLIW 21 New York; Long Island Business News "Top 50 Women in Business;" New York State Senate "Women of Distinction Award;" Health & Welfare of Long Island, Inc. Sandy Lenz Community Service Award; and the United Way of Long Island Henry D. Pearson, Jr. Memorial Award Recipient for Distinctive Professional Leadership in Human Care. During her distinguished career, she has published papers in professional journals and contemporary magazines for parents and professionals and her collaborative approach to parents of children with disabilities including autism has been discussed in undergraduate and graduate textbooks. She also wrote, produced and directed three award-winning films.
Judith Simon Bloch had a vision in 1966 and her ambition, hard work and dedication has touched the lives of thousands of children and families. She leaves behind a major learning center that provides educational and related services to more than 250 children and families in the center-based school plus hundreds more through VCLC on-site and off-site programs each year. In her honor, the board of trustees will name the center-based school at Variety Child Learning Center the Judith S. Bloch School.
The board of trustees also announced that Janice Friedman and Andrea Rieger will succeed Bloch as the new leaders of VCLC. Together they oversee and manage the agency of more than 420 staff and an annual budget of more than $17 million. They have worked closely with Bloch to assure a smooth transition of leadership. Friedman will become CEO and Rieger will retain the title of CFO.