The history of Greenville Classical Academy would not be complete without mentioning its predecessor school, Providence Center for Classical Studies (PCCS). PCCS began in 1996 as a home school co-op and was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit private school on February 26, 1996, becoming the first Classical Christian School in the Upstate. The school first met at 115 Buist Avenue, Greenville, serving students in K5 – 12th grades. In August of 1997 PCCS moved to the facilities of Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church (2519 Woodruff Road, Simpsonville, SC). In the winter of 2004, the parents learned the school was struggling with finances. A fundraising banquet with newspaper columnist Cal Thomas was held to raise funds and support to keep the school open. The results of the fundraising effort were unsatisfactory, and in May of 2004 the announcement was made that the school would close at the end of the 2003-2004 school year (June 2004).
After it was announced that PCCS would close its doors, a group of parents began talking about their desire to continue classical, Christian education in the Greenville area. Existing parents at PCCS called a prayer meeting in May of 2004 for the purpose of praying about starting a new classical Christian school. At the meeting a steering committee was formed to continue discussions about starting a new school. Members of the steering committee included Kevin Hendricks, Chad Cousins, Tim Holt, Robbie Davis, Steve Sorensen, Nancy Blough, and Drew Robison. The steering committee held regular meetings, created by-laws and started getting commitments from families who would enroll their children as students in the new school. After a financial analysis, it was determined that the new school would serve K5 – 8th grades. The leadership of Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church agreed to have the new school meet in the church facilities. The name of Greenville Classical Academy (GCA) was agreed upon by the Steering Committee. Mr. Michael Sisk, who had been a teacher at PCCS, was named the Interim Headmaster of the new school. Several of the teachers from PCCS agreed to teach at GCA and new teachers were hired. Greenville Classical Academy was incorporated by the State of South Carolina as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit private school on June 23, 2004. A parents’ meeting was held at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church for the purpose of electing a Board of Directors. The first Board consisted of five members - Drew Robison, Nancy Blough, Kevin Hendricks, Chad Cousins, and Perry Earle.
Greenville Classical Academy began classes on September 7, 2004 with 54 students in grades K5-8 meeting at Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church in Sunday School rooms in the children’s wing, Sunday School rooms off the gym and a two-room portable building located behind the church buildings. The school office and Headmaster's office were located in a space behind the church kitchen.
During the first 12 years, four different people served as the Head of School. Mr. Michael Sisk served as Head of School for two years from 2004 - 2006. Mr. Mark Klein served as Head of School for two years from 2006 - 2008. Mr. Tim Cockrell served as Head of School for seven years from 2008 - 2015. Mr. Eric Woernle became Head of School in August of 2015 and continues today.
GCA added a grade each year, so it included K5-12th grade by the 2008-2009 school year and had its first two graduates in May of 2009. A set of used modular buildings were purchased by the school in 2009 and moved to an empty one-acre lot behind the church buildings. The modular buildings were called the "Quad" because it contained four classrooms. 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades moved into the Quad and a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on October 16, 2009.
Because of a drop in enrollment over two years due to the Recession, the school began looking for ways to run more efficiently. Through prayer, investigation, discussion, and visiting another classical University-Model school near Rock Hill, SC, GCA decided to transition its Upper School (7th-12th grades) into a University-Model School beginning with the 2010-2011 school year. The school joined the National Association of University Model Schools (NAUMS) and followed the University-Model philosophy of offering classes three-days-a week on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and having students do additional coursework on Tuesday/Thursday away from campus. This method allowed GCA to hire part-time teachers which helped the school become more efficient financially. The Upper School (7th-12th grades) grew rapidly the next three years, growing from seven (7) students in 2010-2011 to 21 students in 2011-12 and 38 students in 2012-2013. At the same time the lower grades were growing and the school added K4 in 2010 and a second K5 class in 2012. The school began looking for additional classroom space to accommodate the growth.
In 2012, the board learned that Computer Dynamics, a branch of General Electric, located on Pelham Road in Greenville would be closing and wanted to sell their moduar office building. When GCA said they couldn't afford to pay anything for the building, G.E. offered to donate it and pay $13,000 toward having it moved. GCA accepted the offer. The land behind the Quad was graded and footers were poured and the nine trailers that made up the building were moved to the space in September of 2012. Over the next two and a half years, the building was gutted and remodeled from dozens of small offices to eight classrooms, a large hall and two large bathrooms. The Lower School (two K5's and 1st - 6th grades) moved into the new space in April 2015. The classrooms that were vacated in the Quad were renovated during the summer of 2015. The school office, the K4 classroom and two multi-purpose classrooms began occupying the Quad in August 2015.
Now serving over 200 students in K4-12th grade, GCA continues to grow about five percent each year. We are thankful to God for His gracious provision of students and their parents who want to partner with GCA in the education of their children, as well as God's provision for exeptional administration, teachers, other staff and facilities.