In 1991, Kevin Gersh was inspired by one unique child who was struggling in one of his educational programs. This child’s spirit touched Mr. Gersh and sparked the realization that it was not the child that needed to change, but rather the method of teaching this child that needed to change.
This child awakened a calling in Mr. Gersh and motivated him to redirect his energy toward children with special needs and thus Gersh Academy was founded. Gersh Academy is built on Mr. Gersh’s core belief that all children, with the right customized educational environment, appropriate instruction and highly trained staff, can learn and thrive. His programs are based on that philosophy.
Since its inception in 1999, Gersh Academy has changed so many lives by bringing love, respect and dignity to individuals on the autism spectrum. At Gersh Academy, we provide an environment where programs and services are customized around individual needs, allowing our students to reach their highest potential.
Meet Kevin Gersh
Founder and Chief Autism Officer
Kevin Gersh has dedicated his professional life to changing the lives of children on the autism spectrum. He believes that all children, with the right educational environment, flexible instructional practices and strong role models, can learn and thrive despite their challenges. His programs are based on the philosophy “children do well if they can.”
In 1991, Mr. Gersh 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 Mr. Gersh to redirect his energy toward children with special needs. As a result, Mr. Gersh founded Gersh Academy. This very successful and much needed program for children ages 5-21 focuses its educational efforts on students on the autism spectrum. Currently, the Gersh organization encompasses 11 programs across Long Island and in Puerto Rico, for both special needs and typical children.
Over the years, Mr. Gersh recognized the need for a similar program for emerging adults on the autism spectrum. In 2007, he opened The Gersh Experience. This 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. The goal of the program is to move students toward independence in the areas of academics, employment, independent living skills, money management and interpersonal skills. This program is located in Patchogue, New York.
In 2009, Mr. Gersh 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, Mr. Gersh designed a camp program within West Hills Day Camp tailored toward children with special needs. This dynamic program has grown in size every year since 2009.
Mr. Gersh is a philanthropist by nature and is committed to his involvement and service to the community. Each year, he participates and contributes to various charitable organizations including Long Island Cares and Toys for Tots. In 2015, Mr. Gersh and the Gersh Academy students raised funds for the Caroline Wambui Mungai Foundation, an organization whose mission is improving the lives of orphaned and abandoned children throughout Africa. In 2016, the Gersh organization helped to raise funds for Sunrise Day Camp, a camp for children with cancer and their siblings. Most recently, Mr. Gersh headed up a uniform drive for the Wyandanch High School on Long Island. His efforts and personal contributions provided uniforms for hundreds of students in need. In addition to his humanitarian efforts, Mr. Gersh serves as an Advisor on the Board of the Custom Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money for children on the autism spectrum. Mr. Gersh is a member of professional organizations such as Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and Young Presidents Organization (YPO), one of the largest executive peer leadership networks in the world.
As Founder and CEO of the Gersh Organization, Mr. Gersh 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.