Hear Their Stories

Jemicy Alumni Share Their Stories

Over four decades have passed since a group of determined, dedicated, and committed educators and parents banded together to create Jemicy School, which has changed the lives of more than 1500 students over the years.
Hear their stories.

Lindsay Leimbach Shiffman '77

leimbach1Lindsay was one of the original students, as well as the youngest student, when Jemicy opened its doors in 1973. She was the only 2nd grader at the time. Lindsay stayed at Jemicy for four years, moving to the current LMS campus after two years. After Jemicy, Lindsay attended Friends School of Baltimore (the first Jemicy student accepted at Friends!); she graduated in 1984.

Lindsay started her freshman college year at Denison University, but she realized she needed something bigger to suit her personality. She then transferred to the University of Maryland, College Park where she graduated in 1988 with a degree in psychology.
After college, Lindsay decided to become a saleswoman and sold copiers for Pitney Bowes. In fact, she became an outstanding saleswoman - #1 saleswoman in her region and one of the top ten for first-year sales in the nation! Her success landed her a job with Six Flags New Jersey, where she represented the southern region of the United States.

It was during all this business success that Lindsay was approached by Jemicy to serve on its Board, an invitation she happily accepted. It was also during this time that legendary Jemicy teacher Alice Koontz encouraged Lindsay to take an Orton-Gillingham class from her for free. The Orton-Gillingham approach teaches children to read through a multisensory, sequential, phonics-based system. She loved the class, and Lindsay discovered her true calling - working with children who are dyslexic.

Then, a life-altering event occurred. Lindsay won an Inner Harbor raffle – an all-expense paid trip to California. The visit was so remarkable that she realized decided to move there immediately. She also realized that she no longer wanted to be a salesperson; she wanted to be an educational therapist, so she could give back.

leimbach2Once in California, Lindsay got in touch with the International Dyslexia Association. Jennifer Zvi, the local branch president, put her in touch with Parkhill School, which works with emotionally disturbed children who have various learning differences. Initially, Parkhill Director Claude Hill told Lindsay that there were no positions available for an additional educational therapist. But, he was so taken with Lindsay that he offered her a position at Parkhill anyway. This was in 1991.

Lindsay has been at Parkhill School in West Hills, CA ever since, serving in a number of capacities: as classroom teacher, as educational therapist, and, now, as head of school. Lindsay runs the school by implementing the same values she learned at Jemicy - teaching kids with love, compassion, and respect.

Lindsay is also proud that her family was part of a break-through study at Johns Hopkins, in 1973, which set out to prove that dyslexia is hereditary. Lindsay’s dad, a successful businessman and engineer, is dyslexic, as is her brother, a Lt. Colonel in the marines.

In full circle, Lindsay claims a little credit for Ben Shifrin becoming head of Jemicy eight years ago. Lindsay was president of the Los Angeles branch of the International Dyslexic Association, and Ben Shifrin was on the Board. Lindsay would always rave about Jemicy. Ben listened closely when he heard that the position of Jemicy’s head of school had become available. Lindsay encouraged Ben to go for it, and as they say, the rest is history!

Lindsay is married to attorney Randall Leimbach Shiffman. She has two children (ages 14 and 11) and two step-children (ages 19 and 15). The family resides in Thousand Oaks, CA.

“Jemicy brought out my strengths and built my self-esteem,” says Lindsay. “And, Jemicy saw the best in me even when I did not see it myself. I was gifted but severely dyslexic, and Jemicy encouraged and believed in me. Jemicy made me proud of who I am.” A successful saleswoman and now a successful educator, she adds, “Even though dyslexia is hereditary, it is not an impediment to success and happiness – it actually can be a catalyst - as long as schools like Jemicy are around.”