The Gersh Family
Kevin Gersh- Owner/President
Kevin Gersh has dedicated his professional life to changing the lives of children. He believes that all children, with the right environment and the right people can learn and thrive. In 2009, Kevin joined forces with his father in running West Hills Day Camp. Founded by Edward Gersh in 1954, West Hills has been owned and operated by the Gersh family since its inception. Kevin Gersh literally grew up at West Hills Day Camp. In fact, it’s his joyful memories of those special summer days at camp that compel him to ensure that as many youngsters as possible get a chance to have similar West Hills experiences. During the summer of 2009, he designed a camp program within West Hills Day Camp directly tailored to children with special needs. This dynamic program has doubled in size each year.
In 1991, Kevin founded West Hills Montessori School. This program follows the philosophy of Maria Montessori and guides the educational experiences of children to encourage a lifelong love of learning. Among the children enrolled in the program was one child with special needs. This child inspired Kevin to redirect his energy toward children with special needs. As a result, Mr. Gersh founded Gersh Academy. This very successful and much needed program focuses its educational efforts on students on the Autism Spectrum. Currently, Gersh Academy has three locations on Long Island and two in Puerto Rico. Kevin also recognized the need for a similar program for emerging adults on the Autism Spectrum. In 2007, he opened The Gersh Experience located in Buffalo, NY. At the time, this one-of-a-kind post-secondary, residential supported living program for students on the spectrum was designed to assist emerging adults struggling with the skills needed to navigate college life and/or independent living.
Kevin is a philanthropist by nature and is committed to his involvement and service to the community. He participates and contributes to various charitable organizations including Long Island Cares, Salvation Army, Supply Drive for Haiti Earth Quake, Supplies for Troops, Pennies for Patients, Toys for Tots, Patchogue Nursing Center, Little Neck Nursing Home and serves as an Advisor on the Board of the Custom Education Foundation.
As Founder and President of Gersh Academy and The Gersh Experience, as well as Owner and President of West Hills Day Camp Kevin has dedicated himself to making a difference in the lives of children. His experience and professional commitment continues to provide opportunities, inspiration, and guidance for every child to reach their full potential, regardless of the challenges they face.
Edward Gersh (1920 – 2014) Founder
Edward Gersh was the Chairman of the Board and President of West Hills Day Camp and was also a founding partner and owner of The Woodland Academy and Camp Kent.
Mr. Gersh began his career as an educator serving on the faculty of New York University as an instructor in physical education and an assistant varsity football coach. He also taught physical education and served as boxing coach of the City College of New York. In 1950, he was appointed by the Board of Education to a teaching position in the New York City School System. In 1953, he became Dean of Jefferson Park Jr. High School where he directed the guidance program. In 1960, he was named “Teacher of the Year” by Youth Development Incorporated. He also taught history at the New York Institute of Technology where he was appointed to the Office of Student Affairs. In 1967, he became one of the founders and members of the original Board of Trustees of Wilmington College in Wilmington Delaware, and was appointed Executive Vice President of Wilmington College serving for two years in that position. Mr. Gersh was a former member of the Board of Trustees of Dowling College in Oakland, Long Island for over ten years, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Woodstock Day School in Woodstock, New York.
Mr. Gersh was an all scholastic tackle for Dewitt Clinton High School which enabled him to win a full scholarship to college. He was injured playing football for New York University in his sophomore year and was unable to continue to play. NYU continued his scholarship when his football career ended. He then took up boxing and boxed competitively. In 1943 while a Senior at New York University, Mr. Gersh won the New York City heavyweight Golden Gloves Championship, and went on to take the inter-city title. While doing graduate work at Columbia, he enjoyed a brief, but successful, professional boxing career. Mr. Gersh was formerly a boxing and wrestling referee for the New York State Athletic Commission. He trained, managed, and promoted professional boxing for many years. He holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees from New York University.
Mr. Gersh established the Edward Gersh Scholarship for Steinhardt students at New York University. He and his wife also established the Edward & Holli Gersh Charitable Foundation.
Mr. Gersh received numerous awards for excellence in Education, the most prestigious of which is the NYU Steinhardt Distinguished Alumnus Achievement Award received in 2006. Mr. Gersh was the commencement speaker for the Steinhardt School of Education which took place at Radio City Music Hall.