About

History

A History of Innovation

WNS has a history of pushing boundaries and achieving what was once deemed impossible. The history of WNS has set the foundation for our program and reflect each other at their core. Rather than settle for the status quo and what seemed safe at the time, both our history and our program are continuously challenged to reach further. WNS fosters a forward-thinking, growth mindset because we were founded by innovators who turned their ideas into reality.

In summer of 1980 four parents had the idea to start a private, non-sectarian, independent school that embraced socio-economic and cultural diversity. Sitting around the dining room table, together, they did the unthinkable - started a school in just 3 months. Little did they know that the experience of founding such a school would forge ahead a sense of community and celebration that would endure over the years.
    • 1980

WNS is Founded

Head of School, Jeri Shoemaker, along with five teachers opened the doors as “Westchester Neighborhood School” on September 22, 1980, renting space in a local synagogue, serving 54 students, grades first through sixth.
    • 1987

WNS Moves to Arbor Vitae Street

Outgrowing its original space, WNS moves to a new campus on Arbor Vitae Street in Westchester.
    • 1993

Tony Cooper Becomes Head of School

Tony Cooper becomes Head of School and leads WNS through its first full accreditation process in 1994.
    • 1995

Brenda Parker, HOS

Brenda Parker takes over as Head of School and transforms WNS into highly professionalized school through both its operations and curriculum.  
    • 2005

WNS Relocates to 5401 Beethoven Street

Under Brenda Parker’s leadership, WNS relocates to its current campus at 5401 Beethoven Street and changes name to “Westside Neighborhood School.”
    • 2008

Brad Zacuto, Head of School

Current Head of School, Brad Zacuto, is hired following Brenda Parker’s retirement. Brad Zacuto brings in co-teaching to better support the commitment to differentiated learning and changes the school’s pedagogic approach to one based in project-based instruction.
    • 2009

WNS Adds Bus Service

With a rapidly growing population and need, WNS purchases a small bus and begins morning transportation serving Ladera Heights and Viewpark.
    • 2010

WNS Secures Second Building at 5400 Beethoven Street

Under Brad Zacuto’s determined leadership, WNS continues to grow from 344 in 2008 to over 400 students in 2010.  A new building housing robotics, theatre arts, Spanish, and administrative offices becomes a necessary expansion.
    • 2011

New Theatre Stage Built

As part of an 8th Grade Legacy Gift, a new stage for the multipurpose room is built, enhancing our theatre arts program.
    • 2014

WNS Adds Second Bus and Expands Service

In our commitment to geographic diversity, WNS purchases a large bus and expands morning transportation to include South Bay, West LA, and Santa Monica.
    • 2016-2017

Coral Tree Place & WNS Preschool

WNS is opening a third building across the street at 12901 Coral Tree Place to complete our tri-campus vision.  This new building will house a preschool, full-sized gymnasium, and the Guerin Family Foundation STEAM Academic Complex.   Coral Tree Place will open fall 2017.