Gaelan Gilbert

At a Glance

Dr. Gaelan Gilbert has extensive experience in teaching, curriculum design, program development, and educational administration. He intends to continue building upon the strong foundation of Orthodox Christian classical education already laid at Christ the Savior Academy, and to expand the school to Middle and Upper grade levels. He enjoys both working with and learning from children – their wonder, imagination, and timeless hunger for truth.

Education

Dr. Gaelan Gilbert’s secondary education consisted of both the Montessori method and a classical curriculum of Latin and the liberal arts. Having been granted a double-major baccalaureate in English Education and Philosophy/Theology from Point Loma Nazarene University, he went on to receive a Masters of Arts in English from San Diego State University. He and his wife then led a university study abroad program in Europe for two semesters. He earned his doctorate in English Literature, with a focus on medieval literature, religion, and culture, at the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

Background

Prior to assuming the role of Headmaster at CSA, Dr. Gaelan Gilbert was a founding faculty member and Dean at the University of Saint Katherine, a regionally-accredited Orthodox Christian institution of higher education in southern California. He enjoys sailing, cycling, backpacking, and taking any opportunity to explore nature with his family. He is a tonsured Reader in the Orthodox Church.

Vision

The Athenian philosopher Socrates taught that the proper education of children safeguards the integrity and durability of civilization. Why? Because the “proper” education of children – a classical education – ensures that the mind, body, and soul of each student are strengthened and refined in the activities that are natural to them: thinking, acting, and living “the examined life.” For Socrates, education should create the internal conditions – virtue, wisdom, and the love of truth – out of which a person can live “the examined life.” In this way, a person gains self-knowledge and the ability to contribute to their society.

From an Orthodox Christian perspective, “the examined life” means something far more. It evokes the “good restlessness” spoken of by the 20th-century monk, St. Paisios of Mt Athos: that abiding sense that – as rational beings made in the image of Triune God – we are not yet what we can or should be. “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O God,” says St. Augustine of Hippo. Rather than leave things up to fate or circumstance, each person has an essential part to play in fulfilling their God-given potential. St. Paisios says it this way: “Desire and effort must come from you; God will provide the power and the result.”

So how do we instill this desire, and strengthen this effort, in our children? The Orthodox classical education at Christ the Savior Academy accomplishes this. At CSA, in the tradition of St. Paul’s admonition in Philippians 4:8-9, the curriculum is designed and the teachers are dedicated to training each child in the pursuit of what is good, true, and beautiful. Such a pursuit is transformative:

it steels the mind against false premises and invalid arguments;

it strengthens us to make morally upright decisions and gives us the courage to act them out;

it equips us for a life of independent learning, articulate communication, and practical ingenuity;

it showers us with examples of emulable historical figures and failed social experiments;

it forms an enduring appetite for the most exalted art, architecture, music, and literature the world has ever known;

it asks questions whose depth exposes the pillars of God’s wisdom in upholding all things;

it reminds us that true greatness is not measured by fleeting praise, but by hard work, humility, and the joining of mind and heart.

An Orthodox Christian classical education cultivates the internal qualities within each child for “the good restlessness.” These qualities are virtue, wisdom, and the love of Truth Himself. For in Jesus Christ, all that which is true finds its place.