In 1980, God led Pastor Jim Black to establish Gethsemane Baptist Christian School (GBCS). David Sisson was appointed as the school’s inaugural principal. GBCS commenced its first academic year with sixty students, ranging from K4 to fifth grade, and employed twelve dedicated staff and faculty members.
During its second year of operation, GBCS experienced significant growth and progress. The school expanded to include a sixth-grade class, formed its first boys’ basketball team and girls’ cheerleading squad, and saw enrollment rise to 119 students. Additionally, Mr. and Mrs. Dan Habrial joined the school as teachers, and later in 1985, Mr. Habrial assumed the role of principal.
Between 1983 and 1988, GBCS continued to expand, adding a new grade level each year. In 1988, the school celebrated a milestone as it graduated its first senior class, comprising four graduates. During this period, GBCS also expanded its sports program. In the same year, GBCS relocated to its present location at 6095 Orange Avenue in Long Beach.
In 1995, Gethsemane Baptist Church and Gethsemane Baptist Christian School were both blessed with new leadership. Dr. David Smith answered the call to become the church’s fourth pastor, while Dave Duncan assumed the role of principal. Subsequently, Doug Weldon took over as principal in 1996, followed by Debra Pryde in 1997. It was during Mrs. Pryde’s tenure that GBCS implemented its Independent Study Program (ISP) to support homeschooling families. In 2000, Nelson Jones took over as principal, leading Gethsemane Baptist Christian School.
In the fall of 2005, Dr. David Smith, while still serving as pastor, assumed the responsibilities of principal and administrator. He successfully fulfilled these roles until November 2009 when David Murphy took on the mantle of pastor as well as principal and administrator. Subsequently, in June 2010, Mr. Joshua Weldon, an alumnus of GBCS, became the ninth principal in the school’s history.
In September 2016, Mr. Ely Reynolds assumed the pastoral position at Gethsemane Baptist Church. Presently, Ely Reynolds serves as the pastor, while Joshua Weldon continues to lead as the principal, comprising the leadership of GBCS.
GBCS was founded to provide the membership of Gethsemane Baptist Church with an alternative to public education. GBCS affords parents assistance in developing their children academically, socially, physically, and spiritually. GBCS reinforces to its students the Biblically based spiritual values taught by their parents. Since 1980 many of GBCS graduates have gone on to college to pursue bachelors and advanced degrees in education, mathematics, theology and various other fields of study.