GDQ International Christian School History

GDQ’s founders were among the first missionary families in Albania after the fall of communism in 1991. The school started with six preschoolers and one teacher. As the missionary community quickly grew, the need arose for a larger, yet affordable program. GDQ began in the fall of 1993, encouraged by God’s obvious intervention. Through the generosity of many organizations and individuals, the school rented a building. The school relied on skilled volunteers to refurbish the building; acquired the necessary equipment, supplies, and materials; and most importantly, secured qualified teachers.

Our high school program found its start in 2004 as a cooperative with three families whose children graduated from GDQ’s K-8 program. With the student population continuing to grow, the high school leadership team began integrating various programs to best meet the educational needs of these students.  In 2009, the high school cooperative began a joint venture with GDQ and brought grade 9 under the leadership of the GDQ Board of Directors.  Grades 10-12 followed in 2010 with the Albanian Ministry of Education formally acknowledging GDQ International Christian School’s K-12 program.

GDQ is proud to take its name from Gjerasim D. Qiriazi (1858-1894), an influential Albanian patriot and evangelical Christian. He established the first school for girls in Albania, seeking to build Christian principles into the next generation of mothers, whom he regarded as the most influential people in Albanian society. Qiriazi endured political and spiritual persecution but remained faithful to his convictions.

Significant Historical Milestones

14 October 1993

1st day of school at building on Rr. Kavajës.  Seven nationalities, thirty-one students, and five teachers (Lawana Patten (K-1), Kim Choate (2-3), Lynne Thompson (4-5), Walt Simokat (6-7) and John Thompson (8+).  John Thompson also serves as school director.


Kindergarten through grade 8 (K-8) license acquired from the Albanian Ministry of Education.

March 1997

School closed due to civil unrest. Re-opens fall 1997. Art Ware becomes the school’s new director.


School becomes an ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) member school.

Summer 2001

Thompsons leave GDQ to work in Vlora.

Summer 2002

School moves to its second building on Rr. Bogdani.

Summer 2003

Lawana Patten celebrates 10 years at GDQ.

Fall 2003

Mr. Roger Pearce begins as director. School expands into next door apartment.


Ms. Kaup and Mrs. Graves start a home school group with 4 boys. (In later time this develops into a high school co-op, then TCHS and, finally, GDQ International Christian High School.

Summer 2005

K-8 moves to its third and current location on Rr. Don Bosko.


The high school co-op moves to a new location. This later becomes our current high school location. The TCHS (Tirana Christian High School) is formed.


Conversations begin between the TCHS staff and GDQ Board about a possible merger and development of a K-12 GDQ entity.

August 2010

GDQ is granted a license for the high school from the Ministry of Education. TCHS becomes GDQ International Christian High School.

February 2011

College Board certification allows us to offer SAT and AP exams.

March 2012

GDQ is given the go-ahead for accreditation candidacy with ACSI and MSA-CESS organisations. (Projected to complete Fall 2014.)

Spring 2013

Our first junior and senior students take AP exams.

14 October 2013

GDQ celebrates its 20th anniversary.

November 2014

ACSI accreditation visit.

17 February 2015

ACSI awards GDQ accreditation effective July 1, 2014—June 30, 2021.

Spring 2015

MSA-CESS awards GDQ accreditation effective summer 2015.

June 2017

Mr. Roger Pearce steps aside from the position of K12 Director. Miss Lori Neuman becomes GDQ’s new K12 Director.

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