Alumni Stories

Jeff Gilder, Class 2002

Jeff Gilder graduated from Village in 2002. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from UCSB with a concentration in Psychology and a minor in Education. He received his Masters of Education and teaching credential from UCSB’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. He is currently the Director of Alumni Relations at Windward School.
How has your Village experience had a lasting influence on you?
I’d say the relationships that I made at Village were key. I learned how to make friends and how to build relationships. I think was something I have taken with me and I will take with me for the rest of my life. It just felt like such an inclusive community where everyone was accepting. It didn’t feel challenging to reach out to someone you didn’t know, and getting to know people from diverse backgrounds.
Are you still in contact with some of your friends from Village?
Yes, there were a number of Village alumni that went to Windward as well, so I see them now at Windward reunions. It’s nice to still have those relationships.
What advice would you give a Village student?
Ask questions and be inquisitive, just staying curious about everything. And that’s what I tell the students at Windward as well. Find out what you’re curious about and follow those curiosities. And you hear the word passion thrown around. Passion isn’t something that you can identify immediately for most people. It’s something that develops over time when you follow your curiosities.
You were giving advice to our students, but what’s the best advice that was given to you?
I’d say the best advice would be to do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. And I really connect with that. I think when you find something that you’re passionate about or that just feels like you’re doing something right it feels like what you’re doing connects. I think I’ve been lucky enough to be on the path that I’ve been on and it truly doesn’t feel like something that I don’t want to do. I’m here every day and I look forward to being here every day, and I love it. And I think when you’re lucky enough to find work that you love it really just enriches your life.