In the summer of 1973, God quickly revealed to some very key people that He wanted an independent, non-denominational Christian school established in Niceville, Florida. Pastor Harold and Mrs. Joyce Thomas of Forest Lake Bible Church persuaded Lt. Col. Dr. Robert L. Grete, USAF (Ret.) to travel with them to Fairfax Christian School (FCS) in Virginia. It was there that Mr. Bob Thoburn, founder of FCS, explained what they already knew. Parents (not the state) are responsible for the education of their children and that God commands Christian parents to provide their children with an education based upon the truth of biblical principles.
The Grete family made a financial investment to cover initial expenses and Mr. C. Walter Ruckel of Ruckel Properties, Inc. set aside a beautiful 30-acre campus site and agreed to build and lease facilities to the school. Dr. Robert L. Grete, Mrs. Joyce Thomas, Mrs. Katherine M. Grete, Mrs. Doreen Claggett, and Miss Cheryl Thompson formed the teaching staff for the first year’s 22 students who spanned the grades of three year old Kindergarten through sixth grade. The need for children to get a Christ-centered education was met.
By 1983, RBCS had grown to 44 faculty and 365 students. Buildings were becoming operational, athletic opportunities were developing, and fine arts programs were taking shape. The beginning of RBCS Special Services program, which would eventually flourish into a full service National Institute of Learning Development model program for grades K-12, started to grow. In 1988, four local churches took control of the school’s assets and formed the Northwest Florida Christian Education Association (NFCEA), which is still doing business as RBCS today.
In 2012, RBCS entered into an alliance with First Baptist Church of Destin to open a K5-6th grade campus to expand the Christian education reach. The spring of 2013 realized the fulfillment of a much needed sewer system that connected the RBCS campus to the City of Niceville, which will allow future construction. Currently, plans are underway for the improvement and growth of both campuses, the redesign of the Niceville campus athletic complex, continuing improvement in teacher pay and benefits, and future construction on the Niceville campus.
Many have worked diligently and sacrificed greatly to establish an educational institution that serves the Okaloosa, Walton and Santa Rosa county area that will glorify His name. Let us continually pray that He always finds RBCS faithful to its original commitment to assist parents in their God-given responsibility to train and develop in their children a biblical world view, Christian character, and the skills necessary to fulfill God?s calling in their lives.
In 1996, RBCS began to take ownership of more buildings, including a 13,000 square foot brick building in the center of campus, which housed the library, computer lab, science lab, music room, and several other classrooms. The library was named in memory of K. W. Saxon, who had committed to providing RBCS students with better library resources. In 2003-2004, RBCS continued to grow by adding a building for the band and an extension to the elementary building. By this time, enrollment had exceeded 700 students. RBCS now had transportation capabilities which extended throughout Okaloosa, Walton and south Santa Rosa counties to assist children in coming to a school which would teach them a Biblical worldview.
In 2003, RBCS also launched a capital campaign which had the goal of purchasing the Niceville campus from Ruckel Properties, Inc., and the school was able to purchase the campus for $2.6 million dollars. In June 2005, Dr. Robert L. Grete retired as the Superintendent and Dr. Donald Larson began the transition into the next phase of RBCS history. Many campus improvements occurred and programs realized growth and professionalism. In 2009, Dr. Michael Mosley became the third Superintendent of RBCS. In the five years that followed, God richly blessed the rebuilding of enrollment, the improvement and stabilization of school culture, the further expansion of the transportation system, and the advancement of teachers’ professional development, pay and benefits.