Ben Gillespie - World Class Academy

Ben Gillespie


Program: Kite
Title: Program Director
Courses Taught: Algebra I, Literature of the Americas, and Media Productions


B.A. in Electromechanical Engineering from Southampton University
M.S. in Programme and Project Management from the University of Warwick

I grew up in one of the loveliest, but perhaps less exciting, parts of the UK as one of 4 brothers. Despite our uninspiring surroundings, we were lucky enough to have parents with keen eyes for adventure, and when we first heard of kitesurfing in around 2005, we loaded up in the worn out school bus my dad had optimistically decided would take us to motocross tracks up and down the UK and limped a few hours up the coast with an old windsurf board and a 4.9m Flexifoil Blade to give it a shot for ourselves.

Despite a fairly unimpressive start, a few years later I found myself running the Southampton University Kitesurfing Club on the way to my Bachelor’s Degree in Electromechanical Engineering, and a few years after that running the national Student Kitesurfing Association at the same time as I started teaching high school mathematics.

I loved my time in the classroom but couldn’t quite commit to a life spent in the British school system, so after a few years in the classroom I decided to formalize my experience running sporting events and entered professional project management. I returned to University to complete my Masters in Programme and Project Management, before joining the UK’s railway infrastructure provider as a Project Manager and then Business Improvement Specialist.

By this point I had a pretty good idea of what I liked and what I didn’t like, and decided I could afford to take some time to really explore and figure out what I wanted to be involved with next. I ended up spending two years taking on projects both personal and professional; I learnt speedflying and paragliding, spent a lot of time kitesurfing, dabbled in web and software design, started working for a kitesurfing magazine, and studied Spanish, among other things.

Along the way, I ran into the WCKA in Tarifa and was excited to see an alternative model for education in action, especially as it was 30 knots and the students were throwing down. I knew I wanted to know more, and so I kept an eye on the school and when the vacancy popped up for 2018/19 I jumped at the chance to get involved. I can’t wait to spend time with these talented young athletes!

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