Board of Directors

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John "Jay" W. Ferguson, Chair

Todd Marrah, Chair-Elect

Carl Martinez, Secretary

Robert "Bo" Gutzwiller, Past Chair

Elisa Carlson
Linda Harrelson
Collette House
Nathan Johnson
Paul A. Kienel * (Founder)
Kevin Kyser
Alan L. Miller
Solano Portela

* deceased

ACSI Leaders, Administrators Engage in Advocacy Opportunities in Nation’s Capital

Sep 22, 2021, 11:02 AM by Caitlyn Berman

The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) welcomed more than 30 Christian school administrators from 14 states to its annual National Legislative Conference that took place Sept. 13-15, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

The event, organized by ACSI Director for Government Affairs P. George Tryfiates, provides insight into current legislative issues and trains Christian administrators to engage in advocacy with their elected leaders through sessions led by expert speakers. The conference culminates with opportunities for administrators to meet with their congressional leaders to discuss these issues.

School leaders joined with the ACSI Legal Legislative team to hear from speakers including Senator James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Jim Neill, Policy Advisor in the Office of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Mike Farris, President of Alliance Defending Freedom.

ACSI Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel Stephen Novotny, who oversees ACSI’s Legal & Legislative Issues Department, believes that training Christian school leaders on public policy issues— especially those affecting religious liberties and education— is imperative.

“Our administrators now more than ever can only benefit from joining together in representing and advocating on behalf of Christian education,” he said.

ACSI President Dr. Larry Taylor also spoke at the conference and met with the board of directors of the Council for American Private Education (CAPE) and other D.C.- based advocacy organizations while in the nation’s capital.

Speakers NLC

ACSI VP of Public Policy and General Counsel Stephen Novotny, ACSI President Dr. Larry Taylor, Jennifer Marshall Patterson, Director of the Institute of Theology and Public Life at Reformed Theological Seminary, and ACSI Director for Government Affairs P. George Tryfiates.

“It’s inspiring to see how ACSI is strengthening and serving our school leaders in the areas of advocacy and public policy,” Taylor shared. “We have prioritized equipping these leaders with the knowledge and understanding they need to be effective in representing Christian education.”

ACSI Board Chair Dr. Jay Ferguson also traveled to Washington and participated on a panel at the Heritage Foundation, discussing issues regarding religious liberties and education. The panel discussion focused on the book, “Religious Liberty and Education: A Case Study of Yeshivas v. New York,” which Ferguson contributed to and ACSI Director of Research Dr. Matthew Lee edited.

“The discussion at the Heritage Foundation was mainly about parents' rights to choose their childrens' education, and religious liberties of individuals and institutions in the K-12 educational context,” Ferguson said. “It’s an important discussion—one that I look forward to continuing in the coming months.”

Other speakers at the National Legislative Conference included Jennifer Marshall Patterson, Director of the Institute of Theology and Public Life at Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and Greg Baylor, Senior Counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.

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ACSI Director for Government Affairs P. George Tryfiates and ACSI Chief of Staff Dr. Tom Cathey prepare to brief attendees at the National Legislative Conference.

While the next ACSI National Legislative Conference is scheduled to take place in September 2022, the ACSI Legal & Legislative Issues Department will continue to advocate on behalf of Christian education and provide ongoing support to member schools. More conference details will be posted on the ACSI website.