GRACE Christian school began in 1984 as Mount Olivet Christian School. The senior pastor of Mount Olivet Baptist Church and a number of parents and educators within the church had a desire to provide a Christ-centered education for boys and girls in Raleigh. When the school opened in the fall, it began with two and three year olds and preschool through third grade students. One hallway of classrooms in the church was the beginning of a new Christian school for Raleigh.
Each year saw increased enrollment and the addition of grades to complete the elementary school. The two and three year old classes were soon dropped to allow more focus on an elementary school program. As the school became known in the area for its solid academic preparation, the church built a two story educational building to provide needed classroom space.
In the early 1990’s, the middle school grades were added, and interest was expressed in the school adopting a classical approach to education. The school soon began its transition to classical teaching methods and curriculum.
In the 1994-1995 school year, and with the blessings of Mount Olivet Baptist Church, the school became an independent Christian, classical school called GRACE Christian School. The name was chosen for the word “grace” – remembering the grace given to us by our Savior and because GRACE stands for “Greater Raleigh Area Christian Education” – signifying the vision to reach beyond the school’s immediate neighborhood.
GRACE Christian School continued to lease space from Mount Olivet during the transition to an independent and classical school. Mission trips began for the middle school grades, and modular classrooms were added for needed space.
GRACE partnered with Regent School to begin a classical high school, Trinity Academy. Many parents still wanted GRACE to have its own high school, so after just a couple of years, GRACE began its own high school adding a grade each year. A neighboring church, Raleigh First Assembly, provided GRACE the space to house its high school classes.
To meet the needs of the growing school, the GRACE Board of Directors soon selected a search committee to find suitable property for purchase or lease. The Lord had His own plans. A generous Christian donor gave the school properties at 708 and 801 Buck Jones Road, and construction soon began on a new building.
The campus at 801 Buck Jones Road opened in the fall of 2003 complete with science and computer labs, and a gym. The first senior class graduated in the spring of 2004.
The move to the new building allowed GRACE the space to grow and to provide Christian education for many more children and youth. Curriculum choices were expanded, and the fine arts and athletics programs grew. Middle and high school students became involved in community outreach and annual mission trips. Graduates of GRACE were accepted into a variety of colleges and universities.
Interest in the school and enrollment increased so much that, in just five years, more space was needed. In the fall of 2008, the 7th–12th grade classes were moved into two beautifully renovated buildings at 1101 Buck Jones Road which GRACE purchased in a 50/50 joint venture with Hope Community Church. As first year middle school students, sixth graders, remain at the 801 Campus allowing students a smooth transition into middle school scheduling and opportunities to provide student leadership to the elementary school.
In 2010, the field at 708 Buck Jones Road was developed into a high-quality athletic field for the GRACE soccer teams to use as their home venue. Three years later, in 2013, football goalposts were added to the field to support GRACE’s first football team. In 2015 lights were added to the field and a bathroom facility was added at the edge of the parking lot. Today, the field serves as a resource for many school events in addition to its value to our athletics program.
In May of 2015, the GRACE Board of Trustees established a Search Committee to guide the process of seeking God’s will and guidance in the search for our next Head of School. The committee commenced a national search, researched and evaluated numerous qualified candidates, and narrowed the results to a short list of candidates in December, 2015. This process included an extensive and thorough evaluation of each candidate in partnership with our search consultants to determine the candidate who best fit the needs of GRACE, both now and in the future. After multiple phone and on-site interviews with the Search Committee and the Board, and after intentional deliberation and prayer, both the Search Committee and the Board unanimously supported the recommendation of Mr. Eric Bradley for Head of School. We are certain that God provided Eric with the experiences, talents, and leadership abilities to insure we stay consistent to our mission and vision with excellence and in partnership with our families. Mr. Bradley officially began his tenure as GRACE’s Head of School on July 1, 2016.
As interest in GRACE has grown, we have prayerfully considered what the future holds. In light of our excellent location and strong instructional assets, we are focusing on what we can do now, where we are now. In the fall of 2015, GRACE met with an architect and asked him to dream with us. He looked at both campuses and helped us identify unexploited opportunities on the properties we currently own. His assessment revealed significant untapped potential on the 1101 Campus that would allow GRACE to double our square footage, add advanced classrooms, and add dynamic common spaces to benefit students and families in all grade levels. In the fall of 2016, GRACE became the 100% owner of the 1101 Buck Jones property and over the 2016-2017 school year completed renovations to the existing 1101 Campus buildings resulting in the addition of five classrooms and multiple offices in the space formerly occupied by the church.
Today, in its 34th year of operation, GRACE Christian School continues to provide a Christ-centered education to hundreds of young men and women. The Lord has blessed the school with strong Christian teachers who provide instruction that prepares students both spiritually and academically. Board leadership and parent involvement are also strengths of the school. The school’s strong sense of community provides a loving atmosphere where students are encouraged and inspired to develop and use all the abilities God has given them.