Rev. Dr. George O. McCalep Jr.
Dr. George O. McCalep, Jr. Commemorative Stamp
Dr. George O. McCalep had a vision and a need for the community that has guided Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academy through the years. In honor, of our great leader and founder a commemorative stamp and books are available.
Join us in celebrating a man of faith and purchase a commemorative stamp or book today!!!
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. Habakkuk 2:2
Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academic Center was founded in 1989 in fulfillment of one man’s leap of faith and a God given vision. In that vision, Pastor George O. McCalep Jr., saw his church-Greenforest Baptist Church-addressing the needs of latchkey children in the neighborhood. Pastor McCalep followed Habakkuk 2:2, a command to write the vision clearly so that others may capture and run with it. His wife, Dr. Sadie McCalep, ran alongside him and provided support and inspiration.
In 1988, Greenforest Baptist Church purchased $6 million church facility at 3250 Rainbow Drive in Decatur, Georgia. The congregation may have been new to the campus, but Pastor McCalep wasted no time in acting upon his vision to create an educational institution where young people could receive an excellent education with the integration of Christian principles, cultural values, and strong academics.
Pastor McCalep’s first action was to assign Dr. Betty Glover Palmer to conduct a feasibility study which concluded it was not the appropriate time to open a school because only a few church members showed an interest in enrolling their children. Earlier research had determined this would be a critical success factor; however, Pastor McCalep and the church leadership defied the research and listened to the Holy Spirit. They decide to move forward with the vision.
In 1989, Dr. Palmer was appointed school administrator and given the responsibility of organizing the school. That same year, in August, a small group of dedicated teachers gathered along with Dr. Palmer in the faculty lounge to pray as they opened the first day of Greenforest Christian Academy and Child Development Center (CDC). They greeted excited parents and received 75 anxious students in grades K4-7 and 35 infants and preschool students.
The Early Years
The school grew rapidly in quality, enrollment, and recognition. Just two short years after opening its doors, the Academy had grown to 210 students with Delores Martin as Principal and Cheryl Bowman Medhin as Director of the CDC. In 1992, Dr. Ronald Boykin was named Principal of the Academy while Rudine Freeman served as CDC Director.
Greenforest was quickly making a name for itself as an institution of excellence where students were challenged academically while being nurtured spiritually. The school was making an indelible imprint in the lives of the students and the parents took note of their accomplishments. One mother even insisted that once her child completed the 8th grade she would continue to bring him back for 8th grade instruction until Greenforest decided to add a high school. Her persistence paid off. In 1993, the Academy expanded to the 9th grade.
1994 was a remarkable year. The 10th grade was added; the Academy and the CDC ceased to operate as separate entities, becoming Greenforest Christian Academic Center; and the Center received its first accreditation from the National Institute of Independent Schools (NIIS), which subsequently named Greenforest “School of the Year.”
Greenforest continued to add grades each year until 1996, culminating with its first graduating class in 1997. Although the school experienced very rapid growth, the motto of “Academic Excellence – God’s Way and the goal of teaching the students who they are and to whom they belong remained the Center’s key building block.
Other milestones include:
Dr. Albert Walker was chosen as the school’s first Headmaster
Accreditation by the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) under the leadership of Dr. Regina C. Anderson
CDC expanded to a new state of the art facility and changed its name to the Early Learning Center (ELC) Guided by its Director, Mrs. Eddye Sinkfield
School name changed to Greenforest-McCalep Christian Academic Center to honor its Founder
Accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
Dr. M.O. Clarke was chosen as the school’s second Headmaster
Accreditation by the Georgia Accrediting Commission (GAC) under the leadership of Dr. M.O. Clarke
Our history of growth and achievement continues under the exemplary leadership of the school's third Headmaster Dr. Millicent Black. Under her leadership, the school began work on a new strategic plan which broadens the Center’s scope through curriculum enhancements, technology advancements, athletic improvements, campus and facility expansions and faculty and student endowments.
Dr. Bruce McColumn was chosen as the school’s fourth Headmaster