History of Windward

Windward School was founded in 1971 in order to provide a unique educational opportunity for Westside young people. The School takes its name from Shirley Windward, one of Windward’s founders, whose dedication to the School has, over the years, become legendary.
Windward moved to its present nine acre site in 1982, envisioning then the pastoral campus with which today’s "Windwardians" are familiar. Under the leadership of Tom Gilder, who became Head of School in 1987, the School has continued to broaden its academic programs and to incorporate areas of social concern and global awareness into the classroom and extracurricular activities.  

From its founding, the following concepts have been fundamental to Windward School:

  • Educators and young people should work together in an environment that encourages them to be responsible, caring, well-informed, ethical, and prepared.
  • Education should provide a basis for life-long growth, and the School should, therefore, concern itself with every facet of the student’s life.
Today, Windward School stands as a living tribute to its many graduating classes and the hard work of innumerable individuals. In 2011, Windward was thrilled to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

Never resting on its laurels, Windward continues to pursue innovation, even as it remains faithful to the vision of its founders.
Shirley Windward, co-founder and namesake of Windward School, accomplished much in her life. She taught extensively in the public school system, was a long-time educational consultant, sang in a madrigal choir, published several volumes of poetry, and helped edit several magazines. In 1971, she helped begin a tiny independent school on the West side of Los Angeles because she wanted to give local kids a better education.

A woman of inexhaustible enthusiasm and insight, Shirley worked at Windward School as an English teacher, counselor, and board member for over 40 years. In fact, her accomplishments inspired a documentary film about her and other female pioneers. But Shirley's accomplishments are not why we love her here. Shirley's kindness, curiosity, wit, and affection toward everyone she met, reminds us why we continue to work so hard at Windward School, and why we fight so hard for quality independent education.

When we say that we are a nurturing community, it is because of Shirley Windward. When we say we want our students to find their passions and become caring and well informed people, we are modeling our students directly on our guiding light: Shirley Windward.

Windward Timeline

Windward School is a 7-12, co-educational, independent day school in Los Angeles, California.