Ever since I joined the board of directors in 1999, GDQ International Christian School has always held a special place in our family’s heart. In 2003, I became director of the school, a position I would hold until the summer of 2017, when we returned to the UK after 21.5 years total in Albania. My wife Nikki also served as GDQ librarian and school nurse for over 14 years. Both of our children (James and Beth) attended GDQ and went all through the school from K-12. The school literally grew with them as we moved from the original location (capacity for 30 kids) to a larger facility (55 capacity) to the present location (120+ capacity) before the high school also sprang up. (That’s another story!)
In my roles as a board member and 14 years as Director, you could say there were a few challenges! Chief among them was nearly always recruitment. We would often be recruiting deep into the summer break (see the earlier post from Shelly McClanahan here.) I especially remember one year when we had the prospect of only one full-time teacher for the upcoming school year. It was so desperate we called an extraordinary prayer meeting with the GDQ community, and we were even making contingency plans for home-schooling – a precursor to remote working in the days before the internet was so prevalent. Amazingly, in those months from April to the start of the following school year, God showed up, as He always does: the school was able to proceed into the next academic year, and the rest, as they say, is history! 30 years of history in 2023!
God showing up has been a recurrent theme in the life of GDQ. For one of our many recruitment drives, I remember a former board member, Jim Neathery, coined the phrase ‘teaching at GDQ is a strategic deployment of your life.’ What did he mean? Then, as now, we understood that attracting well-qualified, committed, and passionate teachers, with an even greater passion to influence the lives of GDQ children for the glory of God was a strategic deployment of a teacher’s time and talents. By working with these kids – many of them MKs, PKs, and TCKs–- teachers at GDQ were freeing their parents to pursue their respective ministries of church planting, health, justice, relief, development, education, etc., thereby enabling the spread of the gospel in Albania. Happy kids, happy parents: a win-win all round.
Fast forward to six years since we left Albania: I’ve been impressed by the names and faces of the new generation of teachers who have signed up for the coming year, some of whom are alumni,. I applaud the major drive that the school is investing to attract the best teachers to GDQ. Yet I’d also want to give a major shout out to those teachers who continue to return each year: Lori, Sarah, Hannah, to name but three, determined to make a lasting difference, an eternal legacy…
Teachers affect eternity. Who knows where their influence ends? For any teacher – young and not so young– who might be reading this and wondering if GDQ is the place God is calling you to, I would say unreservedly that you would be teaching some of the most amazing kids, in the most amazingly supportive community. You will be making a strategic deployment of your life.