2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year


Distinguished Alumnus Gary Simons ’77 (center) with his sister, Lynn (Simons) Feldman ’75 (left) and mother, Marilyn Simons (right).

As Catholic Schools Week comes to a close, Chaminade College Preparatory recognizes Gary Simons ’77 as its 2015 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.

An exemplary alumnus, Simons served on the school’s Board of Directors from 2008 to 2014. During his tenure, Simons chaired the physical facilities committee, and sat on the ad hoc building committee, the executive committee, and presidential search committee. Currently, he is a member of committees of land acquisition, physical facilities, and finance.

Simons is also a generous philanthropic supporter of his alma mater and was instrumental in the Tutor Family Center for the Performing Arts project, as well as with the current middle school renovation and expansion projects.

After graduating from Chaminade, Simons attended California State University, Northridge. He graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1982 with a degree in business administration with specialties in real estate and finance. Simons began his career in the construction industry, starting as a laborer in high school, becoming a skilled carpenter while working through college, and moving to a project manager position for a Westside estate builder after graduation. Planning a career in income property development, he joined the Hanes Company, a commercial real estate brokerage and investment firm, in 1985. After the Hanes Company, Simons went on to acquire and develop numerous properties throughout Los Angeles within his development and acquisitions entity, Projects West Corporation.

Founded in 1992, Projects West Construction has built an organization with broad experience and ability in all aspects of general contracting, construction management and real estate development. A licensed general contractor with 30 years experience in the construction and development business, Simons has overseen construction of more than 1,500 new apartment units and reconstructed over 1,000 more after the Northridge earthquake. In addition, his company has completed numerous commercial projects including retail shell and core, restaurants, surgical facilities and all types of tenant improvements. In total, he has completed in excess of 3 million square feet of apartment and commercial construction.

In 1996, Simons began a partnership with a former employee, Sean Baker. This new company, Upside Investments, Inc., went on to acquire and develop numerous apartment, retail and office properties, mainly throughout the greater Los Angeles area, but also in other states. Upside currently owns more than 1,000 apartment units and approximately 500,000 square feet of retail and office space.

Simons and his wife Gilena have two children, who both attend Chaminade, Graydon ’19 and Elodie ’20.


Father William Joseph Chaminade Award Winners Announced

Each year, during Catholic Schools Week, faculty and staff honor a teacher from each campus with the Father William Joseph Chaminade Award. The recipients are recognized as teachers who live out the five characteristics of a Marianist education:

  1. Educate for formation in faith
  2. Provide an integral, quality education
  3. Educate in the family spirit
  4. Educate for service, justice, and peace
  5. Educate for adaptation and change

The 2014-2015 winners are Middle School Dean of Students, Joe Norton ’88; Director of Student Activities, Julie LaBelle; and High School Vice Principal, Lisa Magorien.

Renovated Library Opens at Middle School

Catholic Schools Week is in full swing at Chaminade College Preparatory, and this year middle school students added a special moment to the celebration – the blessing of the newly renovated library at the Chatsworth campus.

Fr. Ted Ley ’58, blessed the library with the help of SHINE* students. He also led students, faculty, and administrators in a prayer. The new library is now officially open for use at Chaminade, and a book was quickly checked out on loan.

The enhancement project began in June 2014, and gave Chaminade students and teachers at the middle school with 4,600 square feet of learning and studying space. There is a dedicated study room where students can do individual quiet work, as well as a conference room. Students and teachers also have common areas to use, designed for collaborative learning.

*Students Help Inspire New Experiences (SHINE) is a group of 7th and 8th graders interested in growing their own faith.

Chaminade Celebrates Catholic Schools Week

13-14_CSW_Logo_Circle_RGBOn Sunday, January 25, Chaminade kicked off Catholic Schools Week with a Family Mass and reception, held on its West Hills campus. The weeklong celebration is held across the nation and focuses on the value Catholic education provides to young people, as well as its contributions to churches, communities, and the country. In addition, it promotes the school’s Marianist heritage by providing faith-filled events for student that highlight the five characteristics of a Marianist education.

Click here for a schedule of events on the Chatsworth campus.
Click here for a schedule of events on the West Hills campus.