Shirley Windward,

Shirley Windward, the co-founder of Windward School in Mar Vista, passed away Oct. 31. She was 93.
Windward taught English for over 40 years, published several volumes of poetry, short stories and novels, and sang in a madrigal choir. She founded the school that bears her name with former colleague Carl Parsons in a building on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica in 1971.
“We are greatly saddened at the news of Shirley’s passing,” said Tom Gilder, Windward’s head of school since 1987. “And, yet, while we share this tremendous feeling of loss, we know that Shirley’s vision will forever remain at the heart of what makes Windward School special.
“Though she is no longer with us, her greatest legacy – the ideals and principles she upheld and exemplified – lives on with every member of our learning community. Shirley’s enduring spirit and intellectual spark will be a part of Windward School forever.”
Windward was born in Washington D.C. on Jan. 10, 1919, as the eldest of three sisters raised by Della Jost and Albert Weimar.
She attended the University of Wisconsin, where she not only earned a bachelor’s degree in English but also met the love of her life, Erwin “Erv” Windward, whom she married in 1942.
The Windward family settled in Santa Monica in the late 1940s, and while her husband began teaching in the music department at UCLA, Windward pursued her studies in teaching, receiving a master’s degree in English.
For 10 years, Windward taught English at Paul Revere Junior High School, where she met colleague Parsons, who shared her joy for teaching and deep belief in recognizing the importance of each student’s gifts, hopes and dreams.
With shared vision, Windward and Parsons sought to establish a new school on the Westside of Los Angeles that would instill the joy of learning in every child. From its inception, Windward School was created to provide a dynamic educational program to students in a caring and nurturing environment.
After introducing their ideas to local families and securing space in Santa Monica for the new campus, the educators opened Windward School in the fall of 1971 with an inaugural group of 68 students. Three years later, the school received its first, full six-year accreditation as a college-preparatory institution from the California Association of Independent Schools and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
A widely recognized poet since the 1960s, Windward published numerous volumes of verse, wrote novels, and performed recitations of her work in a variety of public venues.
After her retirement, she remained a frequent presence at Windward School, often visiting campus to attend events, speak to classes and spend time with students. For many years, she composed a new poem for each class of Windward’s graduates, a tradition she continued until the Class of 2012.
In the weeks before her passing, Windward participated in the school’s homecoming festivities and greeted students from many different classes.
Windward is survived by her husband, Erwin, sons Stephen and Rolfe, and sisters Nan Weimar Keenan and Kay Heckel.
Windward School held a celebration and remembrance of its co-founder’s life Nov. 11.