Would-be benefactor left Christian Academy founders with vision for the future – Sterling Journal-Advocate
Pastors from seven Sterling churches continue to work on establishing a Christian school despite the death of the man who apparently wanted to fund it.
Rev. Mark Phillips, pastor at First Baptist Church of Sterling, said that when William Scott of Colorado Springs died on June 3, he left behind an energized group of people who had learned to work together to achieve their common goal.
Scott came to Sterling in April offering to buy a vacant building in Broadway Plaza to house the Colorado Plains Christian Academy. He signed a contract and a date was set for closing; the purchase was to be for cash. After twice delaying the closing for health reasons, Scott died suddenly at his home on June 3.
There has been speculation about Scott’s ability to raise the funds to make the purchase, and Phillips readily admits the former Navy officer had something of a checkered past. A previous article in the Journal-Advocate pointed out that Scott had run afoul of the Colorado Securities Commissioner in 2017. In the cease-and-desist order issued Nov. 28, 2017, Commissioner Gerald Rome alleged that, among other things, as far back as 2000 Scott had been sued by an investor who had lost $ 88,000, and that Scott had failed to satisfy a total judgment of more than $ 227,000.
But Phillips said that article didn’t tell the whole story about Scott. He pointed out that in 2011 Scott, who retired from the Navy as a captain, gave $ 500,000 to the Navy Supply Corps Foundation for scholarships. According to the NSCF’s newsletter The Oakleaf, Scott grew up in Brush and was able to earn an accounting degree from the University of Colorado because of the generosity of a neighbor.
“Our view of him is different than how he was portrayed (in the previous article)” Phillips said. “I believe that his desire to do good may have just been beyond his ability.”
Phillips said Scott never asked for anything from the Sterling people, and he never willfully misled anyone about his purpose.
Liz Taylor, who was hired by Scott as his assistant, said she remains convinced Scott was sincere in his desire help open the academy in Sterling. Taylor, who has never been paid for the work she did for Scott, has since been hired as Phillips’ executive assistant. It should be noted that it was incorrectly reported previously that Taylor had given a false phone number; in fact, the number was accidentally transposed.
Taylor also debunked the rumor that as many as 40 people had quit their jobs to go to work for the new school. Rather, she said, 14 teachers and four administrators had been tentatively hired, and all had already resigned from area school districts for a variety of reasons.
Kim Krier, former human resources director for the Re-1 Valley School District, had resigned before she was hired as the academy’s HR director. She has since gone to work with Educational Management Systems.
Whatever Scott’s motives or intentions, Phillips said, the result of his involvement in the Colorado Plains Christian Academy has been energizing and positive. Before, Phillips said, there were philosophical divisions among the principal actors. Once they believed the finances were taken care of, however, people came together and quickly resolved their differences.
“He gave us a vision of what was possible once the money was in place,” Phillips said. “The ultimate outcome is good, and now we can work on going forward.”