Cornerstone Schools of Washington, D.C. was incorporated in December of 1997. Cornerstone’s current Board came together in 1998 when the Board of the Light and Life Community School joined the Board of Cornerstone Schools of Washington, D.C., Inc. The two Boards had been working separately toward the same goal: the creation of an academically rigorous, Christian elementary school that reflected the diversity of the local community. The Light and Life Board had secured a location for such a school, but lacked financial resources to open. The Cornerstone School’s Board had secured financial resources, but lacked a facility. Thus, with our shared vision and our well-matched assets and needs, our boards joined to make one much stronger and more capable Board.
Through our separate experiences and building on our individual areas of expertise, the new Board opened Cornerstone Community School in the fall of 1998. Cornerstone opened with 23 students, in grades one through three, separated into two classrooms. In the past 19 years Cornerstone has grown immensely and now serves almost 160 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. Cornerstone’s vision has always been a vision of multiple campuses operating in each of the four quadrants of the city.
Working with former D.C. Councilmember, Kevin Chavous, calls were placed in 2004 to local Pastors to see if they had any interest in opening a private, Christian elementary school for inner-city children. Shortly after those calls were made, Cornerstone’s Board met Dr. Marcus E. Turner, the Senior Pastor of the Beulah Baptist Church located in the Deanwood Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Pastor Turner had just completed the construction of an annex next to his church—a plan that had been conceived by his predecessor years earlier. The intention was to have this new facility house a school. Without knowing who would take up residence in this new annex, Pastor Turner and his congregation prayed diligently for “God to fill it.” With Cornerstone’s desire to expand and Pastor Turner’s desire to open a school on his church grounds, the foundation was set for Cornerstone Beulah Christian Academy to materialize. The school opened in the Fall of 2005, and served 95 students in Pre-K through 5th grade.
During the spring of 2008, Cornerstone suffered quite a scare as we searched and searched for a new building as our lease was set to expire at our original location for Cornerstone Community School. After negotiating with a set space and agreeing to leave the old location, the unthinkable happened and we lost the interest of both parties. Left with no home for the upcoming school year, Cornerstone Community School announced that 2007-2008 would be its final year. Parents, staff, and board members rallied together in prayer and hope for God to show us a new building for this campus. Our prayers were answered in Dr. Joseph Evans, Senior Pastor of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Northwest Washington. Once again, God led us to a man who dreamed of housing a Christian school and a congregation that was supportive of our mission to serve the youth of DC. Mount Carmel’s doors quickly and graciously opened to Cornerstone in July 2008 and in just one short month, Cornerstone Mount Carmel Christian Academy began a new school year serving 70 K-8 students in six classes.
In the Fall of 2009, our two campuses combined into our first actual school campus, at what was once Our Lady Queen of Peace School. This location in the heart of southeast DC has allowed us to serve more students than ever, and provide such amenities as a playground, computer lab, and library. Cornerstone added a high school for the 2010-2011 school year and graduated its first senior class in 2013.