The Winston School was founded in San Diego in 1988 by a group of visionary physicians, parents and educators, led by pediatrician Dr. John Richards. Dr. Richards, creator of the first Center for School Problems at Kaiser Permanente, had been thinking about such a school to service those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD and other learning differences for many years. He was inspired by schools of the same name in Texas, and recruited charismatic educator Paul Erwin as The Winston School’s first headmaster. Under Mr. Erwin’s leadership, the Winston School dream of a safe and nurturing school for bright children with learning differences, such as dyslexia and ADHD, became a reality.

Three years later, Mark Kimball, assistant headmaster of The Gow School in New York, took over the reins of The Winston School, San Diego, and led the school through its next 14 years with great skill, modesty and grace. His knowledge of how to educate students with learning differences, like dyslexia, dysgraphia, and others, coupled with his expertise in managing a small organization like Winston, led to the school becoming well established–in many ways a beacon for success among schools of its kind. “Never, never, never give up” and “Action this day,” two quotations by Winston Churchill, became the school mottos during these years.

In July 2005, after a nation-wide search, Mike Peterson of The Field School in Washington, DC, became the third headmaster of The Winston School. Please click on Faculty and Staff to read a brief biography.

Winston Churchill and the School’s Name

The Winston School, San Diego takes its name from Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill who
overcame multiple learning differences on his way to becoming one of the greatest statesmen of all time. His speech before the students of Harrow School, where he attended and struggled to learn to read and write, provided one of the Winston School’s mottos: Never give in. Churchill’s dogged determination embodied that of Britain itself during the darkest hours of the Second World War.

Churchill’s strength was forged in part through his own trials as a struggling student and we believe provides an inspiration to our own students–if a great leader and eloquent orator can arise from a young man who was written off by his teachers and who suffered from a lisp, what future great men and women labor in our classrooms today? If you never give up, with time, patience and effort you too may achieve great things.

At the bottom of his memos, Churchill usually wrote “Action this day.” He was decisive and when he had decided to act he wanted action immediately. The Winston School, San Diego has also adopted this motto as so many of the students who come to Winston have made a decision to take a new, more successful path in their educational lives. “Action this day” reminds us all that we are working together to begin serious business right away.

Secretariat and the Winston Logo (Flags)

The Winston School of San Diego is a registered 501(c)(3)