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

* deceased

ACSI Announces Key Changes to Legal Legislative Issues Department Structure, Leadership

Apr 4, 2022, 07:09 AM by Caitlyn Berman

Colorado Springs, CO – The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) is announcing several key changes to its organizational structure designed to continue growth in public policy and advocacy.

The former Legal Legislative Issues Department will become ACSI Public Policy and Legal Affairs. The shift is intentionally aligned with the Advocacy pillar, part of the Association’s Three Pillar Strategic Plan. The move is designed to help ACSI focus more on ensuring the Association accurately represents the needs of Christian schools.

ACSI President Dr. Larry Taylor believes the changes will better serve member schools.

“We are continually approaching new horizons at ACSI,” he said. “The restructuring and shifts taking place in our Public Policy and Legal Affairs Department are intentional and strategic for the overall advancement of Christian education.”

As part of the restructuring, ACSI’s Director for Government Affairs P. George Tryfiates assumed duties April 1 as Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs.

P George Tryfiates 2018 photoTryfiates will provide leadership and oversight for federal and state legislative affairs, regulatory compliance, legal issue analysis, public policy positions, initiatives and alliances. He will also maintain positive relationships with appropriate governmental agencies, legislative representatives, and key Congressional staff.

Tryfiates succeeds Steve Novotny, who will remain an advisor to ACSI as he transitions to pursuing other professional priorities.

Taylor praised Tryfiates for the tailored skillset he brings to lead in this role.

“I have seen George’s leadership and concentrated efforts in Washington, D.C. over the past ten years serving as ACSI Director for Government Affairs,” he shared. “He has been our boots on the ground in the capital, tirelessly advocating on behalf of our Christian schools. I believe in his new role, George will continue to serve as a strong voice for Christian education.”

In his previous position, Tryfiates actively participated in all aspects of public policy, including nonprofit governance and policy, advocacy and media.

He boosted ACSI’s presence in the capital, helped launch the department’s revamped invitation-only National Legislative Conference (NLC), and helped secure important policy victories, including the most significant federal school choice victory in many years – expansion of 529 College Savings Plan qualified expenses to include K-12 tuition.

Tryfiates commented on his new role, stating, “It is a great honor to advocate on behalf of our Christian schools. ACSI is one of only two associations with permanent representation in Washington, D.C. and we are passionate about protecting and advancing Christ-centered education.”  

In a related move, Philip Scott, former ACSI Senior Counsel for Policy and Advocacy,Picture_Philip Scott Headshot assumed the role of ACSI Vice President for Legal Affairs.

The new position gives Scott the opportunity to oversee all ACSI legal programs that serve member schools. He will continue to be a resource for members in the areas of school consultation, public policy, law, and legislation.

Tryfiates believes Scott, who has served at ACSI for 11 years, has the ideal experience for his new role.

“One of Philip’s key achievements was to create and launch ACSI’s Children’s Tuition Fund, a nationwide scholarship granting organization that provides scholarships to low income families in six states,” he said. “CTF now provides $9 million worth of scholarships a year, and this would not have happened without him.”

In addition, Scott will assume many of ACSI Chief of Staff Dr. Tom Cathey’s areas of responsibilities. Cathey will retire in August 2022 after 14 years providing guidance and faithful service to Christian schools.

ACSI is also actively recruiting to fill a Director for State Advocacy role to continue to provide support in the growing state advocacy sector.

profilepic2021Additionally, Elizabeth Clayton will assume the Public Policy and Communications Assistant position. She has served for nearly one year as Legal and Communications Assistant, working closely with the Public Policy and Legal Affairs department in coordinating written content for scholarly journals, legal briefs and newsletters.

In her new role, Clayton will also conduct research, writing and reports related to public policy developments.

Taylor shared his excitement about the changes and believes they will strengthen ACSI’s ability to advocate on behalf of Christian education.

“I’ve said it before and I’m glad to say it again—these are very exciting times at ACSI, and I’m truly looking forward to seeing how God moves through us to defend and bolster the Christian education movement. It’s an honor to serve Him as we do His work around the world!”

About ACSI: 

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, ACSI exists to strengthen Christian schools and equip Christian educators worldwide as they prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. ACSI advances excellence in Christian schools by enhancing the professional and personal development of Christian educators and providing vital support functions for Christian schools through multiple services including teacher and administrator certification, school accreditation, legal/legislative assistance, and curriculum publishing. ACSI supports more than 5,000 member schools throughout the United States and around the world, which collectively serve approximately 1.2 million students. Through additional training programs, materials, and expertise provided to other educational groups worldwide, ACSI’s overall influence and positive impact reaches more than 26,000 schools operating in 100 countries, together serving 5.5 million people.

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