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Bound By Grace
By Ali Kaun

Rock Academy Headmaster, Scott Marshall, was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Granada Hills. His mom came from a strict Jewish upbringing and his father, from more of a reformed Jewish theology. Though enrolled in Hebrew school, he was never bar-mitzvahed.

“There was a season that my parents struggled financially. Dad was working for the Internal Revenue Service and had fallen behind on my tuition payments. When the Rabbi called my father’s boss, confronting him about the situation, Dad’s heart turned cold toward the Temple.  Needless to say, I didn’t return to Hebrew school…but I was happy about that...I would have much rather been outside playing football, baseball, or basketball with my friends.”

"During my search for Jesus however, my mother and father disowned me. At one point, Dad threw all my clothes out on the driveway and told me not to come back."

Scott’s family had a strong sense of tradition and celebrated all of the Jewish holidays together. As the firstborn son, his father had big plans for him to carry on the family name and beliefs. When Scott started attending a Fundamentals of the Faith class at church on Sundays, the relationship with his family took a turn for the worst.

“My first introduction to Christianity came in high school, through my best friend Christopher. I attended some of his church’s youth meetings, participated on waterskiing trips, and listened to teachings about Jesus. I was really there just to meet girls. I heard statements suggesting, 'Jesus this and Jesus that, and that He was God.'  I thought these people were crazy. In college, after falling head-over-heals in love with my future wife Peggy, my heart grew more open to Jesus. At the time, she was a devout Catholic, but eventually converted to evangelical Christianity. There were many bumps in the road in our relationship, climaxing with our first wedding date being called off a month before the wedding. Peggy realized we were unequally yoked and loved Jesus more. I was devastated. But, I too would eventually find Christ. During my search for Jesus however, my mother and father disowned me. At one point, Dad threw all my clothes out on the driveway and told me not to come back! He told me, 'I never want to see you again; you are no longer my son!'”

After Peggy called off their first wedding date, Scott and his best friend Christopher went to Hawaii for three weeks of vacationing and partying in an attempt to heal his broken heart. After being separated for six months, he and Peggy cautiously reunited. Peggy was cautious because of their differing faiths. She reasoned with him to check church out, and challenged him to read the Bible and take a Fundamentals of the Faith class. The night that Scott was thrown out of his parent's house, with nowhere to turn, the Holy Spirit woke him up from his sleep.

“The Holy Spirit led me to open my Bible to Isaiah, chapter 53. It described the Messiah as being pierced for our transgressions, with the iniquity of us all upon His head. I knew at that moment, that this Messiah indeed was Jesus. It was then that I truly met Him and received Him as my Lord and Savior.”

In March of 1986, Scott married the love of his life, Peggy, on a beautiful Easter Sunday morning.

“It was such an awesome morning! And God has blessed us in so many ways since. We presently have 3 beautiful children, Nathan (27), Jonathan (24), and Sarah (17).  My relationship with my parents was reconciled a year after Nathan was born. And upon my father’s deathbed, while on his respirator, he received Christ so that we could be together in Heaven. I held his sweet, frail hand as he took his final breath.”

Scott’s family ties have been tested through time, events, and circumstances and have caused him to grow in wisdom and stature. He's gained spiritual strength, integrity, and character and now brings those qualities to the Rock Academy family.

“Just weeks prior to God leading our family to the Rock Academy, I was working at a school in a rough part of town in Gardena. The transition to this particular school in Gardena had been a tough one on all of us. There had been a betrayal at my job. The school I worked at was sold without my knowledge and merged with another Christian school. My school's community found out about the merge two weeks before the end of the school year. Many staff and families were affected and devastated. As a result, our family had lost our home and a few months later I was diagnosed with cancer. But despite our circumstances, God provided a school job for me in Gardena and had been using me to bring about some needed changes there. This one particular afternoon however, I had stopped at a car wash. As I waited for my car to be washed, I watched a squad car pull in, then another, followed by a fire engine. Turned out, right behind the car wash building, someone had just gotten jumped. At that moment, I cried out to God with concern for my family’s safety and said, If you want to keep me here, I submit to Your authority, but if not, please release me. Just a few days later I was unexpectedly contacted by a recruiter and informed about the Headmaster position at Rock Church.”

"...upon my father’s deathbed, while on his respirator, he received Christ so that we could be together in Heaven. I held his sweet, frail hand as he took his final breath."

Scott knows that God can work all things for the good of those who love Him and who are loyal to Him. He acknowledges the chords of glorious grace that have bound him to His Messiah. Within weeks of his cry to God, he was granted a new home, a new neighborhood, was healed him from cancer, and now wakes each morning to the tasks at hand with joy!

“I love having the opportunity to be involved with all the schools at Rock Academy from preschool to elementary to junior and senior high. I love hoola-hooping with the preschoolers, popping into the elementary classes, and watching the high-schoolers take full ownership of their faith by the time they hit graduation. I am gratefully satisfied in knowing that my staff did our very best to prepare our graduates with the understanding of both a Christian worldview and a secular humanistic thinking that will prepare them to defend their faith once they walk out our doors. Our students believe they can impact the world for Christ. And at the Ivy League schools and prestigious universities they are being accepted to, graduates of the Rock Academy are impacting the world for Christ! It makes all the blood, sweat, and tears for me and my staff, worth it.”

Scott knows that this calling is not for the faint of heart and that daily prayer is a necessity.

“Every morning I start my day by putting on the full armor of God. The devil is not excited about anything that we are doing for the Kingdom, especially with children. I believe he wants nothing more than to break up our Kingdom schools. The Rock Academy is a connected family community. Our mission is to partner with families in leading children to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and provide a distinguished well-rounded education. Praying for our school community, our kids, and my family keeps me up at night…but it’s my pleasure and privilege to do so.”

With Scott’s leadership, the Rock Academy has continued to thrive, having recently earned the prestigious WASC accreditation. Rock Academy has also implemented the PILLARS Program— created to help children with learning differences, in addition to an International Student Program, welcoming incoming high school students from around the world every year.

"I love my life. I love the journey God has taken me on...and I love the souls entrusted to me at the Rock Academy. I know one day in Heaven I will give an account for all I have been entrusted with; I don’t take that lightly."

“Our kids are performing in amazing ways on AP tests and our reputation is growing globally. In some disciplines last year, we had an incredible 100-percent passing rate, with an 88-percent passing rate overall for exams! Our DAVID Program and Apprentice Shop Program, allow our students to intern with professionals to gain skills in various trades such as web design and graphics to name a few. We have a thriving Creative Arts Department that includes theater, dance, art, and music. We also have competitive CIF sports. And, we have been so honored to provide an education opportunity for our international family members studying with us from overseas. We are a well-rounded school with much to offer.”

Being a private school, the Rock Academy has the flexibility to create new programs and provide a faith-based education to all who walk through their doors. Certainly those fortunate enough to attend, have been given an extraordinary opportunity for a bright future.

“I love my life. I love the journey God has taken me on to get to this point, and I love the souls entrusted to me at the Rock Academy. I know one day in Heaven I will give an account for all I have been entrusted with; I don’t take that lightly. May God be pleased with all we attempt to accomplish this year and in the coming years, that we may bear fruit, one-hundred fold.”


POSTSCRIPT: Scott Marshall is a graduate of California State University Long Beach with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education and Kinesiology, and also holds a master’s degree in Educational Administration. He currently is in the process of finishing his doctorate in Christian School Education.  He has a distinguished career in education for over thirty years, the past twenty, having served as an Administrative Leader, Head of Schools, Headmaster, and Principal. Scott’s other claims to fame has come from his athletic achievements, with perhaps two of his most exciting being his position as wide receiver in high school for the Hall of Fame quarterback, John Elway and his participation on the 1980 NCAA Division 1 PCAA Championship football team.

To learn more about Rock Academy and enrollment for their fall semester, click HERE.