Cornerstone Academy

Private school childrenCornerstone Academy, the Geftakys ministry private school, began with grades K-3 in 1982, when George Geftakys's oldest granddaughter reached school age; seventh grade was added in 1986 and eighth grade in 1987. Ginger Geftakys was the first principle, succeeded by Rod Zach sometime after 1990. Rod was an elder in the Fullerton Assembly; Ginger was the daughter-in-law of George Geftakys.

Assembly parents felt it was obligatory to take their children out of public schools and send them to Cornerstone.

Parents were required to be instructional aids, even teachers, although not academically prepared. Gifted students were drafted to tutor younger children, rather than being given enrichment opportunities. Cornerstone middle school graduates were discovered to be behind in several academic areas when they went on to public high school.

The principles Ginger spelled out in her pamphlet, Child Training for God's Servants, were employed at Cornerstone, including spanking. One third-grader was discovered at bedtime to have worn two pairs of underwear to school. She said she did it "...just in case something happened to my bottom." Parents were required to always agree with any punishments decreed at school, and to impose further punishment at home.

There were strange excesses. In one case a nine-year-old was helping to move classroom tables. A table accidentally bumped a large window, which cracked. The parents were informed that the child was required to pay for the entire cost of replacing the window, $146.00 (cost in the 1980's). This was the consequence for the "rebellion of carelessness."

Public shaming was another discipline technique. At an eighth grade graduation banquet, awards were presented for the year's accomplishments - academics, character, attitude. There were six awards among seven students. One student was excluded, even though several awards were deserved. This was a maneuver to secure greater compliance from the parents, as well as the student.

Dr. Bruce Perry, an expert on trauma in children, reports that traumatized children have a resting heart rate above the norm of 70 to 90 beats per minute; Cornerstone science classes discovered that students had resting heart rates over 100 bpm.

Cornerstone Academy came to an end in 2004 after the implosion of the Geftakys ministry. The property was sold, but those who had initially donated funds for the purchase were not reimbursed. There has been no acknowledgment or apology by Ginger Geftakys, Rod Zach, or other teachers for abuses and negligence.

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