Greyfriars Classical Academy FAQ

Who started the school?

Early in 2008, three families from Matthews Orthodox Presbyterian Church brought a proposal regarding the establishment of a new high school for members and friends of Matthews OPC. Shawn and Candis Brandt, Nathan and Ashley Trice, and Thomas and Jane Willingham served until November 2008 as a steering committee seeking to establish a Christian, classical school named “Greyfriars Classical Academy” (GCA).

When did it start?

The private school began with a 9th grade in the fall of 2009, and added one higher grade each subsequent year, with our first graduation in May 2013.

Why a high school?

We are convinced that a cooperative effort to educate our children represents a course of great wisdom, particularly for children at higher grade levels. For the high school years, we especially see the benefits of having teachers with specialized skills in particular subject areas, as well as increased peer interaction with those who are most like-minded, namely, those within the covenant community of the wider church of Jesus Christ.

Why the name “Greyfriars”?

Greyfriars Kirk was the first church built in Edinburgh, Scotland, after the Protestant Reformation. In 1638, at a time of great national trial, Greyfriars Kirk was the place where the country came together to sign “The National Covenant.” There they pledged themselves to God and to each other to defend and maintain the true Christian religion. In years to come, thousands of men, women, and children were imprisoned in Greyfriars churchyard because they refused to accept any king but Christ as head of the church. Many sealed their courageous testimony with their blood. There is a monument there today in memory of the 18,000 faithful “Covenanters” who suffered persecution. “Greyfriars” is a fitting symbol of the cause of Christ’s kingdom and covenant in the earth, and of our devotion to it.

Is GCA a school or a “resource center”?

GCA provides a full high school curriculum, intended as a college preparatory track. Our curriculum is consistent with North Carolina standards for high school graduation and, for example, UNC admission requirements.  A full-time student at GCA will not register with the state as a homeschooler; he or she will be enrolled in a religious school. At the end of their senior year, students who have met all graduation requirements will receive a high school diploma from GCA.

Does GCA accept part-time students?

Yes, we welcome students who wish to apply to take one or more courses part time.

What is GCA’s class schedule?

Our structure is based on a university model: Our private school meets three days a week (Monday, Wednesday & Friday), with most classes taught in blocks of 1 hour and 15 minutes each.  Individual subjects meet for class once a week (1/2 credit), twice in a week (1 credit) or all three days each week (mathematics, 1 credit, which meets for 1 hour per day).  Click here for this year’s class schedule.

What do you mean by “classical”?

Our Matthews, NC, private school supports and provides a classical approach to education, which means we assume that children learn best according to their God-given development. Students learn the grammar of many subjects in the elementary years and build on that foundation by beginning to study the logic of subjects in middle school. Grades 9-12 at GCA continue to build grammar-level and logic-level skills, but also take students to the next level, that of rhetoric. The goal is for students to take their understanding of various subjects and learn to present ideas and arguments effectively to others. By “classical,” therefore, we mean a time-tested approach to the education of children, not an undiscriminating study of all literature known as “the classics,” much less the adoption of Greco-Roman philosophies or worldviews.

What is the school’s theological basis?

The education provided by GCA is from a Reformed and Presbyterian perspective. This will be particularly evident in the theology curriculum, but all teachers and administrators affirm their commitment to give instruction that is consistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith. Christian families from other theological traditions are warmly welcomed at GCA, and the diverse perspectives within orthodox Christianity will be treated with respect.  Click here for our statement of faith.

Who may apply for enrollment?

Christian parents from around Charlotte choose Greyfriars Classical Academy because they are Christian parents seeking to provide a Christian education for their children. At least one parent must affirm a simple statement of Christian faith in order for a student to be eligible for enrollment. This statement of faith is provided in the application for admission to GCA.

Who teaches the classes?

We seek out the gifts of men and women well qualified in their fields and with a demonstrated zeal for the education of the children of the Church. Our teachers, all of whom are part-time instructors at GCA, come from a diversity of backgrounds but share a common commitment to Christian and classical education. Due to the university model class schedule of GCA, we are able to include on our faculty many professionals, including many men, who would otherwise be unable to take part in the instruction of our youth. Click here for more information about our faculty.

What does tuition cost?

Tuition for the 2018-2019 school year has been set at $3,725, exclusive of books and application & registration fees. One of the most compelling reasons for starting a school is the prohibitive cost of attending many of the other Christian private schools in the area. We fervently desire to make GCA affordable for any family that wishes to be a part, and so are seeking to keep tuition comparatively low.  Individual courses for part-time students begin for as little as $225 tuition for a 1/2-credit class. Click here for more information about tuition and fees.

Who oversees the school?

An independent board of directors governs GCA. At present, three members serve on the Board, with provision made in the by-laws for the expansion of the board as needed. The current members of the board are: Jeffrey Roach (President), Michael Cranford (Secretary and Treasurer), Nathan Brinkerhoff and Nathan Trice.  In July 2010, the board appointed John D. McGowan, a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary (Orlando) and a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, to serve as a full-time headmaster of the school.

What subjects are included in the curriculum?

Consistent with the goal of GCA to be a classical, Christian private school, the subjects covered are History and Philosophy, Literature, Math, Science, Greek & Spanish, Logic & Rhetoric, Theology, and Aesthetics. Click here for a full overview of our curriculum.

Where does the school meet?

The Session of Matthews OPC has given permission for GCA to make use of its facilities at 2701 Rice Road, Matthews, NC, 28105.

What should I do if I am interested?

Please talk to us and let us know! We particularly welcome your further questions, interaction, and support. You may contact our headmaster, John McGowan, at, or by telephone at (704) 315-5774. You may also communicate with us individually as follows:

Nathan Brinkerhoff
Michael Cranford
John McGowan
Jeffrey Roach
Nathan Trice