An Eyewitness to God at Work

Posted by Gail King P '08
How did Caldwell Academy get started? Where did it come from? How has the school lived out the vision established by its founders?

Grammar School teacher and Caldwell parent Gail King taught first grade when the school first opened its doors in 1995 and has remained a cherished instructor. As she retires at the conclusion of this school year, she reflects on how God has used Caldwell for His glory and for her good throughout her career.
Here, please stand in my shoes for a moment while I turn back the clock to the summer of 1995. I was the mother of two young boys looking for a Christian school. I had recently heard the news of a group of parents forming a classical Christian school. Not knowing how classical and Christian fit together, I attended an information meeting at Greensboro’s First Baptist Church. There was so much to take in, including an essay by Dorothy Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, which advocated a return to classical methods that emphasized hard work, discipline, and learning focused on the developmental stages of children. The classical method viewed every subject - history, science, philosophy, language, mathematics, etc., through the lens of Christianity.

I was intrigued and impressed with the hard work and diligent research these parents had done to begin a school. They considered different curriculums, compiled lists of books for parents, and found a church willing to house a K-5 school. This was the beginning of Caldwell Christian Academy, a school that would change our children’s lives. As I listened and observed, I so wanted this kind of education for my sons. Unfortunately, my oldest son would be in the sixth grade and would miss out on Caldwell because only one grade per year would be added. But I happily registered my younger son.

Later that summer, I received a call that changed my life, too. Dr. Helen Vaughan, Caldwell’s first head of school, asked me to interview for a first-grade teaching position. And so began my journey, a front-row seat to watch God at work! He was building a school that would honor Him, acknowledge His presence and sovereignty in our lives, and build the next generation of young Christian leaders.

The school trained the new staff well. Instructors were brought in to teach us this new, but “old” teaching method. We read assigned books and set up classrooms in our first location, Living Way Christian Center on Rehobeth Church Road. It was an exciting but strenuous beginning, bathed in prayer and hope for the success of a new school.

We started in the fall of 1995 with about 60 students. The next year, modular buildings were added to accommodate our growth. More and more families were drawn to a school that focused on God’s teachings and a classical methodology. We had taken Him out of our public schools and government. Sadly, our society was seeing the results of those decisions.

Soon, Caldwell’s enrollment increased so quickly that we outgrew our facilities at the church. The present property was purchased on Horse Pen Creek Road. Founder’s Hall was built and modular buildings were moved to the new location. There was even a lottery for spots in the kindergarten classes. God was busy building His school!

Not only was God at work raising buildings, but He also brought needed families, staff, and administrators together at just the right time - His time! These people shared a common vision for their children. ‘Soli Deo Gloria,’ to God alone the glory, was the Latin motto chosen for Caldwell. Parents wanted their children to see Christ woven into every subject because He is the source of all.

My son, who graduated from the school, told me Caldwell had impacted his life in a way maybe he did not appreciate at the time. He said it helped him develop a compass for his life. Caldwell helped build a foundation to which he could return if he lost his way. You’ve heard the verse from Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” This was music to a mother’s ears and just what I wanted for him.

I attended public school when God was still allowed in the classroom and experienced the difference this makes in how one sees the world. I believe I was led to Caldwell primarily because of my son, but God was molding and teaching me, too. I see the world through a clearer lens now. I have witnessed the building of this school for the last 27 years. It has been my home away from home. God has allowed me to witness Him at work in countless ways! He has allowed me and many others to join Him every day in the work done here. What a privilege it has been! My hope and prayer are for the school to continue to grow and nurture the vision that God gave to a faithful group of parents who listened to His voice 27 years ago! Soli Deo Gloria!