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ACSI identifies, analyzes, and works with a broad array of legal, regulatory, and legislative issues. In Colorado Springs, the team is led by Stephen Novotny, Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel, along with Dr. Tom Cathey, ACSI's Chief of Staff. In Washington, D.C., George Tryfiates, Director of Government Affairs, works on a wide array of legislative and policy matters with a focus on federal issues. Philip Scott, Senior Counsel for Policy and Advocacy, also in Washington, D.C., handles a broad range of legal and legislative matters with a focus on state issues. The team also produces the Legal Legislative Update, a publication that is mailed to member schools three times annually and is available in the Legal Resources section.
ACSI Legal Legislative Issues Department is actively looking at issues related to the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak that impact Christian education. This page is designed to give you current, relevant information and is updated as new information unfolds.
ACSI urges Christian schools to be proactive to protect a space for Christian education and further its goals both nationally and internationally. Follow legislation, key court cases, media and public events.
ACSI has consistently looked for opportunities to assist member schools with practical, affordable services. As a result of seeing member schools face various legal actions involving employees or students, ACSI developed the Legal Defense Reimbursement Program.
Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel
Stephen Novotny serves as ACSI’s Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel. Combining his unique background in both law and education, Stephen provides the oversight for ACSI’s legal, legislative and policy efforts that are focused on protecting and promoting the interests of ACSI and its member schools. As an attorney, Stephen is a member of both the Texas State Bar and the Washington State Bar and has successfully represented and advised businesses from the very top of the Fortune 500 list to small privately-owned companies. In the arena of Christian education, Stephen served for 10 years as the executive director of Cypress Christian School in Houston, Texas, where under his leadership, the school experienced dynamic growth in all operational areas and enjoyed national recognition as an AP Capstone School with top-ranked scholastic, athletic, and fine arts programs. He also has worked as an executive board member with the Texas Private School Association in efforts to advance the public policy interests of private schools in Texas. Stephen received his Juris Doctorate from Baylor Law School, and his Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Liberty University. Prior to his work in law and education, Stephen served as an officer in the United States Army, leading and training soldiers, and providing operational leadership for short range air defense gun and missile units. Stephen has been married to Rachel Novotny for 28 years and they have two adult sons.
Email Phone: 719.867.5276
Senior Counsel for Policy and Advocacy
Philip Scott has worked with ACSI since 2011 and currently serves as the Senior Counsel for Policy and Advocacy in the Washington, DC office. While he has held multiple roles at ACSI, his current focus is on state advocacy and helping to organize state Christian school voices. Philip’s background is a blend of education, religion, and law. He has taught U.S. Government and Civics to middle and high school students in Christian schools. Most recently he has been a lecturer in undergraduate and graduate programs teaching ethics, nonprofit law and education law. He is twice a graduate of Liberty University with an undergraduate degree in Education and a Juris Doctorate degree from Liberty University School of Law. He has studied theology and law at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is admitted to the bar of Colorado. Philip and his wife, Heather, are outnumbered as they have three children, a dog, and a cat. Heather and Philip met in fifth grade in the Christian school they attended.
Email Phone 202.573.7776
Chief of Staff
Dr. Tom Cathey is the ACSI Chief of Staff and former Assistant Vice President for Legal Legislative Issues. Tom is editor for the Legal Legislative Update and consults with schools around the country on legal, legislative and human resource issues. Tom has been in Christian Education for over 40 years. In 2000, he founded and served as the Administrator for Calvary Christian High School in Clearwater, Florida. He has his doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. Tom and his wife Gail have been married 45 years and have four adult children.
Email Phone: 719.867.0201
P. George TryfiatesDirector of Government Affairs
P. George Tryfiates joined ACSI’s Legal Legislative team as Director for Government Affairs in Washington, DC, in May 2012. He has filled multiple roles in public policy throughout his career in D.C., including as executive director for over 13 years of a national Christian public policy organization and, earlier, as the first full-time executive director of a state-level Christian public policy organization. The latter he helped to transition from its volunteer base in one part of the state to the state capital. George has participated in all aspects of public policy, including nonprofit governance and policy, advocacy and media. He holds an M.A. in public policy from Regent University. George enjoys history and lives with his wife in historic Fredericksburg where Jefferson crafted his Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. They have been married for 33 years and have four adult children who all graduated from Christian high school.
Email Phone: 202.558.7040
ACSI Appoints New VP for Public Policy, General Counsel
August 18, 2020
ACSI is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen Novotny as its new Vice President for Public Policy and General Counsel. Combining his unique background in both the legal profession and Christian school administration, Novotny will focus on protecting and promoting the interests of ACSI and its member schools.