TPS – The Potter’s School is an online homeschooling program founded in 1997 which teaches a variety of subjects, including AP subjects and college courses, from grades four to twelve. It has served many students scattered around sixty-three countries and includes camp, mission trips, and a graduation ceremony, all which invite both faculty and students to attend. TPS teaches high-level courses with excellent teachers who encourage high standards in academics and pattern their subjects according to Biblical doctrines.
Let us take a trip down memory lane and meet one of our two founders who established this amazing and still-growing school: Mr. Jeff Gilbert—a dedicated individual who works hard to provide students the best education with the core of Biblical principles.
Jeff Gilbert was born in Pittsburgh, PA but grew up in the Washington, DC. suburbs with his sister and parents, both with whom he still retains a close bond with. Growing up, he loved books and voraciously read any he could find. Although his family was non-religious, Jeff knew there was something missing from his life. He yearned for Christ but never knew Him until he attended Cornell University, where he majored in Engineering Physics. There, he was introduced to Jesus and the salvation He offers and became a believer.
Mr. Gilbert went on to spend over two decades working as a naval officer, and then worked on nuclear submarines. For four years, he worked with members and staff of the U.S Congress before settling down in Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC. There he founded The Potter’s School with Mrs. Janna Gilbert and fathered children who are now following their own careers and walking with God.
Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert saw the need for Christian education for homeschooling families and began TPS as an online co-op of independent teachers around the country to teach young students. Their goal was to educate their students in a way that reflected Biblical standards and that had high standards in academia. The school soon started to grow, including students and teachers living in far-off countries and adding more subjects. They also began to include camps, mission trips, and live graduation ceremonies for both students and faculty. Through all this growth, though, the Biblical and academic foundations stood firm and grew over the years. The teachers at TPS have worked together excellently to form a school that has both high standards in scholarship and a biblical worldview.
Aside from directing TPS, Mr. Jeff Gilbert also teaches Theology and Worldviews here. He encourages us (students and faculty) to “treasure and nurture your faith and your integrity. No one can take those away from you—you can lose them only by giving them away.” He enjoys working with youth, calling it a “privilege and a responsibility” and an “investment into the future individuals of the world.”
As a busy director, Mr. Gilbert has little free time. Yet, as a lover of books, he reads whenever he can. He also watches movies, two of his favorites being “To Sir, With Love” and “The Guardian.” As a teacher, Mr. Gilbert loves seeing and teaching students who are dedicated and want to learn about the subject.
One of our fellow TPS students who has met Mr. Gilbert and worked with him mentions that Mr. Gilbert is a reasonable and kind person. Another who has been taught by and now works for Mr. Gilbert calls him his personal role model. He is a hardworking person, who is dedicated to working with youth, and a devout Christian who always encourages the following of Biblical principles and gladly follows them himself.
Mr. Gilbert’s military career and his work as the TPS director have allowed him to travel and experience a variety of cultures. He loves learning about the worldviews and cultures his travels offer him and also enjoys seeing how the culture surrounding the country has affected Christianity, though the core doctrine remains the same. The variety of expressing the Christian religion through history and culture has opened his eyes and let him see Christianity in a new way, shaping him into an amazing worldview and theology teacher.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Mr. Gilbert shares that he is most thankful for the fact that God is faithful when humans are not. God will always draw near to us even when we pull away. God will always stay faithful in His good works even when our human wills try to create another, self-pleasing way. God’s work through TPS shows His faithfulness in the fact that He is working through Mr. Gilbert to provide a safe online environment for students to learn.
One of Mr. Gilbert’s favorite verses is Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Mr. Gilbert likes this verse in particular as it is one of the earliest, perhaps the earliest, recorded instance in the Bible and ancient history where men explicitly consider “eternity” for themselves.
Mr. Gilbert humbly declares that he is a tool of God, saying that he is not the “representative” of The Potter’s School. He believes the staff and teachers deserve as much credit as he does for their cooperative work and dedication to teaching the future tools of God and guiding them through their academic journey.
We at TPS are grateful for Mr. Gilbert and his willingness to follow the call of God to start an online school for homeschoolers that has benefited many students. Seeing how TPS has grown with its Biblical and academic standards, shows the faithfulness of God and how “He who began a good work” in Mr. Gilbert has and is in the process of completing the work which has taught many students so much. Without Mr. Gilbert’s dedication and God’s faithfulness, TPS would not be the school it is today. TPS students and faculty both extend a big thanks to Mr. Gilbert for his faithful work at this school.
Tan, Eliza. “My Homeschool Journey (image only).” Homeschool Homefrontier: Out of the Box Learning, October 8, 2014, http://homeschoolhomefrontier.com/2014/my-homeschool-journey.