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GAC is a great school.

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Within our many award-winning programs in academics, athletics, and fine arts, your child has the freedom and opportunity to explore new paths and fully realize individual strengths. Please explore our website to learn more about our school and the opportunities available for your student - and 
for your entire family - to be a part of this vibrant, connected school community.  

*GAC evaluates mid-year transfers on a case-by-case basis. Should you need immediate placement for your student, GAC can help you navigate through available options. Please call the Admission Office at 770.243.2273 or email Admissions Director Mary Helen Bryant. 

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“NFL Sunday” Features GAC Alumni for Veterans Day

GAC wishes all the men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces a happy Veterans Day. We thank you and your families for your service to our country. If you are a football fan, you may have seen the Fox Sports “NFL Sunday” show broadcast from the United States Naval Academy (USNA) this past sunday. The show honored several midshipmen including GAC’s own Jessica Carothers, Class of 2019.

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GAC Trailblazers: The Manley Family

As GAC opened its doors for the first time in 1968, Nilas and Ellen Manley took a step of faith and enrolled their two eldest daughters Debra and Cathy. In the years that followed, all eight Manley children joined the GAC family, with seven eventually graduating from GAC. Both Ellen and Nilas went to work as involved, dedicated parents, supportive of young GAC with their time, wisdom, resources, and energy. 

Read More about GAC Trailblazers: The Manley Family
Q & A: The Strong Comeback of Autumn Clark

Autumn Clark, a student at Greater Atlanta Christian School (GAC), is a gifted athlete who has worked tenaciously to develop her talents. More than a year ago, she suffered an injury which, sidelined her for a while — but not for long. She powered through her rehab and had returned stronger and more determined than ever. Peachtree Corners Magazine (PCM) connected with Autumn to discuss her athletic commitments, her recovery process and what she’s looking forward to in her bright future. 

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Dr. Scott Harsh

"Over the past year, GAC has taken an incredible leap forward. The vibrancy and engagement in our face-to-face classes have never been stronger. We believe in a personalized learning experience for each student, and that belief drove us to adopt new learning modalities for our students. GAC Sync and Ethos options, which you’ll read about in the pages to come, provide important new avenues for learning and engagement. Our faculty are pushing the boundaries of education, and our students are thriving because of it!"

GAC President 

Dr. Russell Holzgrefe, 2007

"This is a chance as alumni to give back to everything that made us who we are and help that next generation of GAC students."

2018 Graduate

"Financial aid is not just some sort of umbrella where funds are applied to buildings or renovations. It goes directly to a student--a student like me."

Spaces Where Students Thrive

Lower School Complex

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We're delighted you're interested in GAC!

Choosing the right school for your child is a big decision. We're here to answer your questions and help you navigate the admissions journey. 

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Meet Kaitlyn Thames: GAC Drama Teacher and Theatre Director

This past year the GAC family welcomed Theatre Director Kaitlyn Thames to campus. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she attended Abilene Christian and graduated with a BFA in Theatre with hopes and dreams of a musical theatre career. However, after college, life took her in a different direction when her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee. There she fell into a teaching position at a local private school and found herself developing and directing a high school theatre program for 12 years before moving to Atlanta and joining GAC.

This past year the GAC family welcomed Theatre Director Kaitlyn Thames to campus. Originally from Dallas, Texas, she attended Abilene Christian and graduated with a BFA in Theatre with hopes and dreams of a musical theatre career. However, after college, life took her in a different direction when her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee. There she fell into a teaching position at a local private school and found herself developing and directing a high school theatre program for 12 years before moving to Atlanta and joining GAC.

While starting a job in a new environment in the midst of a pandemic wasn’t easy, Mrs. Thames has risen to the challenge and is already creating many unique and creative growth opportunities for our theatre students.

We are blessed to have Mrs.Thames join our community, and we look forward to watching her students grow and expand their Theatre repertoire.

Read below to learn more about GAC’s new theatre director and teacher, Kaitlyn Thames. 

Tell us a little more about your upbringing and family life. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas with my parents and my younger brother. My brother and I were both into theater at a very young age so we spent most of growing up being driven around to various rehearsals and performances. My parents were always supportive but our mom in particular was our biggest cheerleader. I attended public school until my freshman year of high school when I started attending Dallas Christian School (which I graduated from in 2003). 

As a child, what did you dream of becoming? 
I had so many different dreams, but most of them involved performing in some way. The specifics usually depended on whatever performer I was into at the moment. My childhood centered mostly around Whitney Houston, Amy Grant and dreams of being a pop star. And then when I discovered Broadway, there was no looking back. We made our first trip to New York as a family when I was in 7th grade, and it is still one of my favorite places on earth.

Where did you go to undergrad? Why did you choose that university? 
I attended Abilene Christian University. I first started looking at the school because that is where my high school theater teacher went and she loved her time there. I was hesitant at first because it was only 3 hours away from Dallas in this small west Texas town and I thought I wanted to get far away from Texas for college. The ACU theater program is a remarkable program that challenges their students in the best way. The professors there do an incredible job of making sure that every graduate leaves with the skills and connections that are needed to make it in a very competitive industry. 

What is your degree in?
I have a BFA in Theater with a focus in Directing.

What motivated you to go into education?
I fell into education unintentionally 12 years ago and haven’t left yet! 

Did you ever imagine you would find yourself in teaching?
I honestly did not. The community children’s theaters in Dallas were a huge part of my life and the main reason for my love of theater growing up. During college I decided that my plan would be to work at the regional and community theater level and maybe someday start a children’s theater of my own. 

Right after we graduated, my husband got a job in Nashville teaching and coaching and I intended to put my plan into motion, but I started subbing at his school and discovered that I really loved being in an educational environment. I also realized that the school did not have a theater program so I created a proposal to be hired as their theater director and spent the next 12 years building the theater program. I had absolutely no idea when I started how much I would grow to love teaching, but I’m so glad that it all worked out how it did. 

What drew you to GAC? Share the backstory of how you found GAC and decided it was the place for you? My husband, Josh Thames, actually graduated from GAC in 2003 and his family has a long history with the school. He was not into theater, but some of his friends in high school, along with his younger sister, Katy were part of the theater program while they were here. 

GAC was definitely a program that I loved hearing about and seeing what they were up to. When we learned this summer that the position here was open it seemed like the timing was perfect. Josh loved his time at GAC so getting the chance to move to Atlanta, be around family, and get to be part of this school was an opportunity that neither of us wanted to miss!
 
What courses do you teach at GAC?
I am currently teaching Drama 1 and 2, Drama Tech and Directing, and Visions

What do you enjoy most about teaching theatre?
My joke answer that I usually tell people is that it’s like having a built in audience that has to listen to me every day! Which is definitely true, but in reality, I love watching the students grow in both their passion for their confidence and skill on stage or backstage or in the booth or however they choose to be involved. Theater was such a huge part of my life growing up and I love sharing that joy and passion with my students! 

In the COVID era, how are you utilizing GAC Sync for Theatre class? 
We have actually been able to play some pretty fun theater games and involved both the in person and sync students over the past couple of weeks. 

What health protocols are you putting into place to make Theatre safe for students and teachers? 
We are leaning heavily into the idea of individual character development, which enables us to work on becoming better artists with individual monologues and projects without putting each other at risk. We are using masks and learning how to project.

Describe class and how you are moving forward with Theatre and social distancing? Will students still perform shows this year? 

We are still performing this year (just very creatively). We entered the GTC One Act Competition which was held virtually so all performances were filmed and streamed. Each show had to abide by the new guidelines, which involved 9 socially distanced acting areas on stage and only one actor allowed in each area at a time. I chose The Misanthrope by Moliere, which enabled the characters to interact with each other through phones and computer screens and allowed us to use the isolated staging in a way that makes sense. 

My theater classes are all exploring what it means to be part of the theater world during this pandemic and our reflections, monologues, and stories will be put together in a film version that we presented at a Theater Drive In this past fall. We were excited to get to connect with our audience in a different way while also keeping everyone safe and distanced. 

What do you do to connect with students?
Connecting with students is my favorite part of my job! Being new at a school the year that everyone is either behind a screen or wearing masks is challenging, but I have been trying to spend time these first few weeks of school talking and listening to my students. I love starting class and taking attendance by asking a question and then instead of saying here when I call their name they have to answer that question. Just one of a few easy systems and games that I am putting in place to help get to know the students and what they love and enjoy. 

How does GAC provide professional development for teachers? 
GAC has done an incredible job so far of utilizing the teachers and expertise they have here on campus to help educate and inform their fellow teachers. I have been teaching for 12 years but I am doing things this year in the classroom and with technology that I have never done before. I am very thankful for an admin, tech, and teacher team here that welcomes questions and wants to help set you up for success in your classroom any way they can! 

What would you tell a parent or friend considering sending their child to GAC?
I have a son who just started K4 here at GAC and he came home the first day smiling ear to ear and telling me all about the new friends he made. We moved from Nashville to Atlanta in a 2 week period and the admissions department was incredible at getting us set up and helping every step of the way. I would definitely recommend GAC to anyone considering it!

How would you describe the culture at GAC? What sets us apart from other schools? 
I have been blown away by the welcoming atmosphere created by both the teachers and students. I have only been on campus for 3 weeks and I already feel like part of the family. I have also been so impressed by the classes and opportunities that are offered to each student here. 

Where would someone find you outside of the classroom? What are your hobbies? 
More often than not if I am not in the classroom then I am at rehearsal! But also I enjoy spending time with my family, which consists of my husband Josh and my 5 year old son, Jonas. We love adventures that involve ball games, traveling, and concerts! We also have family that live all over the country so usually if we are traveling it is to visit family or we are headed to the beach! 

What is a book you’ve read recently? 
I recently finished Untamed by Glennon Doyle and loved it! I also re-read Pride and Prejudice almost every year and my favorite book of 2019 was The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern.

What are you listening to right now? 
I love music and my favorite thing to do is create playlists with all different artists and genres and have them in the background constantly. My playlist of the moment includes Beyonce, Harry Styles, Maggie Rogers, Chloe X Halle, Surfaces, Bakar, HAIM, Joseph, The Head and the Heart, The Killers and so many more!

What’s one thing that’s still on your bucket list?
I would love to skydive, spend some time in London, attend Coachella, and perform in a stand up comedy show.

Read More about Meet Kaitlyn Thames: GAC Drama Teacher and Theatre Director
Spartan Spotlight: Meet Coach Jes Guarneri

It’s her first year as the Head Coach of the Girls Basketball team, and high school math teacher Jes Guarneri is already making waves in the community. This season she led her team to victory at the State Championships for the first time since 2007.

“Coach Guarneri has done a great job in her first year as our Head Girls Basketball Coach. She has worked really hard to develop her players both individually and as a team. Under her leadership, they had made great strides throughout the year, setting themselves up for a magical postseason run. In addition to her coaching, she is an outstanding teacher who invests in her students. With Coach Guarneri’s commitment excellence and genuine connection with her players, the future for GAC Girls Basketball is bright.” - Tim Hardy, GAC Athletic Director and Head Football Coach

It’s her first year as the Head Coach of the Girls Basketball team, and high school math teacher Jes Guarneri is already making waves in the community. This season she led her team to victory at the State Championships for the first time since 2007. 

Originally from New Jersey, Coach Guarneri’s passion for sports and athletic ability led her to UNC-Asheville on a basketball scholarship. After coaching collegiately for three years at Francis Marion University and holding numerous coaching positions both in New Jersey and South Carolina, she found her way to GAC through a mutual connection. Now, she’s blessing the Spartan community with her talent and heart for mentorship and basketball. 

“I saw determination and growth playing for Coach G this season. As a new head coach, she faced many adversities. But her ability to communicate well with her players and be open to trying new things contributed greatly to our success this season,” said GAC Senior and player Jillian Thomas.

“She makes sure to have an open relationship with all her players. Coach G stands up for her players and will do anything to help us learn while having fun playing a sport we all love. I am grateful I was able to be coached by Coach G for my final season playing at GAC and for all of the great memories that came from this season,” continued  Jillian.

To learn more about this outstanding educator and mentor, read through her interview below: 

Tell us a little more about your upbringing and family life. Where are you from? Where did you grow up?  
I grew up in Piscataway, New Jersey and attended Piscataway High School. My parents Lou and JoJo are NYC natives. I’m the second of five kids. I have three sisters Lisa, Jennifer, Lauren, and one brother, Daniel.

Where did you go to undergrad? Why did you choose that university? 
I went to UNC-Asheville on a basketball scholarship. I transferred going into my senior year to Wingate University where I finished my playing career and started my coaching career.

Tell us a little more about your undergrad? What is your degree in? Why?
At UNCA I was studying architecture. I had always wanted to be an architect because it combined my passions: math and drawing. When I transferred to Wingate, they didn’t offer that field, so I pursued and graduated with a degree in Marketing. 

Do you have an advanced degree? 
I am currently pursuing my Masters of Art in Math Education. 

What is your role at GAC?
I teach high school math, mainly honors geometry, and I coach the Girl’s Basketball team! Go Spartans!!
 
What drew you to GAC? Share how you found GAC and decided it was the place for you.
My great friend Robbie Wilson came to GAC about 7 years ago. I came to town from South Carolina for Robbie and Kristen’s baby shower, and while there, Robbie told me there were openings in the math department. Initially apprehensive, he urged me to at least have some conversations and apply. I applied to appease him. 

During the interview process, the Lord was working on my heart and telling me this was where I was meant to be. It was a hard decision for me because I loved where I was in South Carolina, but it took a major leap of faith to trust God and come here. 

My journey to GAC taught me that God’s plans are always better than mine!

Did you grow up playing sports? 
Yes! My whole family loves sports. I grew up having epic kickball games in the backyard. Sports were always a part of my life. I played field hockey, basketball, and softball in high school. 

What motivated you to go into coaching? 
Once I realized I couldn’t compete on the court anymore, I felt empty. Coaching was naturally the next best thing to still be involved with the thrill of competition. 
 
What do you love about coaching? 
I love the transfer of knowledge that coaching provides. Not only from me to my players, but also from them to me. I love being able to problem solve over the course of the game as well. But what I love the most are the relationships that are formed through coaching that last a lifetime!
 
What do you do to connect with and motivate athletes? 
More than anything I want the girls to have ownership of the team. I think it’s important that everyone on the team knows their voice is important. I try extremely hard to make sure they know how valuable and loved they are. 

Tell us about this state championship team. Would you describe your experience with them this season? 
I don’t know where to begin! This season was an absolute rollercoaster. At the beginning of the year, the core team members were going all around campus trying to recruit players so that we would have enough to even compete. 

Once the season started and we had the numbers, we were faced with one of the hardest schedules in the state, competing against some of the top programs. While the wins and losses weren’t in our favor early on, we took lessons away from each one of those games and continued to improve. 

The girls came ready after Christmas break, and we knew we had something special. We suffered a heartbreaking loss in the region championship losing to North Hall by one point, which placed us on the toughest side of the state tournament bracket. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we always believed we were capable. Each member of this team gave everything they had to make sure we came out on top. I couldn’t be more proud of them!

What do you love most about your job? 
I genuinely love every part of my job: teaching, building relationships with students, coaching, my co-workers... all of it!

How would you describe the culture at GAC? 
GAC is a family! I love how committed everyone is to striving for greatness in everything they do. I am constantly encouraged, supported, challenged, and loved at GAC. I couldn’t imagine a better place to work. I have made friendships that I know will last a lifetime here.

Where would someone find you outside of the classroom? What are your hobbies? 
I love to paint, from canvases to full wall murals. Painting is my favorite hobby!

What is a book you’ve read recently? 
“Acres of Diamonds” by Jentzen Franklin

What’s one thing that’s still on your bucket list? 
Skydiving! What a rush that would be.

Read More about Spartan Spotlight: Meet Coach Jes Guarneri
Meet Rebekah Gilliard: Lower School Counselor

At GAC, we see the value in a strong team of school counselors, and we are blessed to offer such qualified individuals to our student body. And it’s because of those like Lower School Counselor Rebekah Gilliard that our students reap the immense social and emotional benefits. 

“Rebekah is a vital part of the Lower School team. She embodies all of the qualities you will find in a stellar school counselor. She is knowledgeable, has great communication skills, is empathetic and kind, knows when to act, and builds trusting relationships with students, parents, and colleagues. Rebekah is a ‘true champion’ for students and a source of strength and comfort for our parents and teachers.” - Rhonda Helms, Lower School Principal

In an increasingly stressful and anxious day and age, skillful school counselors are critical to a healthy, successful school environment. They offer students a safe place to communicate and process emotional and psychological needs, and empower them with the tools necessary to thrive amidst the growing demands of life and school. At GAC, we see the value in a strong team of school counselors, and we are blessed to offer such qualified individuals to our student body. 

And it’s because of those like Lower School Counselor Rebekah Gilliard that our students reap the immense social and emotional benefits. 

A GAC graduate herself, Ms. Gilliard’s passion and gifts are undeniable. Growing up she understood the vital role supportive adults have in students’ lives and pursued degrees in counseling psychology in order to be able provide that emotional support. 

She is a true gem, and we are thankful to have her serve and impact our student’s each and every day! 

To learn more about Rebekah’s story, read the interview below: 

Tell us a little more about your upbringing and family life. Where are you from? Where did you grow up?  
I grew up in Lilburn, Georgia. I have one brother who is just less than a year older than me. 

Where did you go to high school?  
I went to high school at GAC and graduated with the class of 1994.

Where did you go to undergrad? Why did you choose that university? 
For my undergrad, I attended Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. At first I didn’t choose ACU due to distance, but after trying a few local schools, I was ready for a change. After hearing such wonderful things about ACU, I gave it a try and really grew to love it. I felt closer to home at ACU than I expected to. I felt safe and loved and quickly like I was among family. 

Tell us a little more about your undergrad? What is your degree in? Why? 
My degree is in psychology. I chose that because I’ve always been interested in figuring out why people behave the way they do, and I think abnormal psychology is intriguing. 

Do you have an advanced degree? 
I have a master’s degree in counseling psychology. 

What motivated you to go into education/counseling?
Growing up can be challenging, but the presence of helpful, supportive adults can make an enormous impact with lifelong implications. To be that adult in the life of children is an honor. I’m grateful every day that I have this opportunity. 
 
Did you ever imagine you would find yourself in teaching/counseling?
Absolutely!
 
How is GAC’s counseling team specifically supporting our student’s social-emotional health during this pandemic?
Counseling has been busy researching the changing needs of children of all ages during the pandemic and is implementing updated practices to best support them during this unusual time. More than ever, children need an extra dose of relationship, secure boundaries, and emotional safety. Partnering with parents, teachers and administration, counseling is dedicated to offering students space and activities to help cultivate a feeling of security, community and readiness to learn. We are continuing to offer a variety of services including individual, small group and full class check ins, activities and lessons to incorporate regulation and attunement practices to their day.

What do you love about education/counseling?
The kids! When I can see that I’ve helped a child learn a social/emotional skill, or when I see that a hurting child has warmed up to me, that is the best. When they give me hugs, I feel so happy.
 
What do you do to connect with students?
Say hello to them by name. I don’t know them all, but I try hard to know them. It is important in helping them feel valued. I also think laughing with them is pretty awesome, showing a funny video or something and trying to keep it light when possible.
 
What do you love most about your job?
Being able to share Jesus. It’s sad to me that this is such a rarity in the workplace and in schools, so I’m especially blessed, as are our students.
 
What is your role at GAC?  
I am a counselor. So I see my role as being a support, a listener, an example of how to be a woman of God, and also a teacher of skills in the social and emotional realms.

What drew you to GAC? Share how you found GAC and decided it was the place for you. 
Actually I have always been around. Back in the 1980s I was an elementary student at GAC. I left for a while, and then returned for high school, graduating in ‘94. After getting my master’s, God led me back here.

What would you tell a parent or friend considering sending their student to GAC?
Please come join us! We are not perfect, but we are a community of loving people who care for each other and who are outstanding educators. If you want your child to have a top-notch education with people who will love and care for them, give us a try!

How would you describe the culture at GAC?
I think the culture is bustling. We have a lot going on! It is a vibrant atmosphere with a lot to do and be a part of. So, it’s easy to be part of things if you want to be.

How have you participated in the GAC community? (Mission trips, co curricular, etc.)
I have enjoyed many, many trips with the community. I have been on annual class trips for close to two decades, trips with the Promises singing group, trips to homes for adults with disabilities; enjoyed football and basketball games, dance, choir, band, orchestra and theatre productions; and so on. It has been a great way to show support and also connect with/get to know students in a different way and appreciate the talents God has given them.

Where would someone find you outside of the classroom? What are your hobbies? 
I enjoy reading, movies, being with my family, traveling, etc. I hope to expand on my travels in the coming years!

What is a book you’ve read recently? 
“A Mother’s Reckoning” by Sue Klebold. It was a tough read, but I found it so interesting. I also really liked “The Whole Brained Child” by Tina Payne Bryson and Daniel J. Siegel.

What’s one thing that’s still on your bucket list? 
A trip to Israel. I want to do a Holy Land tour. 

Read More about Meet Rebekah Gilliard: Lower School Counselor