Senior Leadership

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DrLarryTaylorI am inspired by the faith, courage, and reverence for God by Christian educators around the world! It reminds me of the story recounted in
I Samuel 17 about David defeating Goliath. In verse 29, David’s response to the inaction of his elder brothers and the Israelites especially encourages me. He boldly and nobly answers the call to action by asking, "Is there not a cause?”

I can think of no greater cause than to partner with you as you advance Kingdom education. We fully believe that authentic devotion to the Christian faith and academic excellence are mutually reinforcing. There are not two or three forms of excellence, but rather an ethos that is cultivated throughout every facet of our schools. Faith is not separated from learning but rather integrated intentionally, resulting in a distinctive Christian worldview.

Scholarship and learning become an integral component to the maturation process known as discipleship. Thus, becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ, the ultimate objective of the Great Commission (Matt. 26:28-30), is the prize for which we strive; it is the highest form of excellence! It is certainly conceivable that we could produce students with the spiritual depth needed to enter our pluralistic society and not fall prey to empty philosophies. Rather, they would be equipped to saturate the marketplace to which God has called them with confidence, purpose, and an eternal perspective.

ACSI’s ongoing mission is to strengthen Christian schools and equip Christian educators worldwide as they prepare students academically and inspire them to become devoted followers of Jesus Christ. We want to serve you as you continue to cultivate and sustain a flourishing school. Please let us know if there is anything we can do for you—thank you for your obedience to God’s call on your life—you are indeed making a difference.

Dr. Larry Taylor President, ACSI


President's Advisory Team


David Balik Vice President USA/Senior Director, Eastern Division

David Balik

 Vice President of USA

Gavin Brettenny

Gavin Brettenny

Associate Vice President of Global Strategic Development for Christian Education

Kevin Buelke

Chief Finance Officer

Juan Cabrera
Juan Cabrera

Chief Information Officer

Thomas Cathey

Thomas Cathey

Chief Of Staff

Executive Director, ACSI Education Foundation

Stephen Dill

Executive Director, ACSI Education Foundation

Cindee Dodds

Cindy Dodds

Vice President of Flourishing Initiatives


Senior Vice President of Global

Michael Epp

Senior Vice President of Global

John Klingstedt - COO

John Klingstedt

Chief Operating Officer


Larry Lincoln - Director of Communications

Larry Lincoln

Chief Communication & Engagement Officer

Jerry Nelson

Jerry Nelson

Special Advisor to the President


George Tryfiates

George Tryfiates

Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs

Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

Lynn Swaner

Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer

Kurt Unrug

Kurt Unruh

Senior Vice President for Global Business Development

Susan Verheul - COO

Susan Verheul

Finance Director and Controller

News and Press Releases

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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