Our Heritage

Our Heritage

Originally the vision of Pastor Butch McCleary at Ava Full Gospel Church in Ava, Missouri, the Victory Academy was designed to provide a quality Christian education option to Ava area residents. The school was initially home to an Early Education program dedicated to Preschool and Kindergarten aged children with the specific purpose of teaching non-denominational biblical principles and setting the foundation for academic achievement. The school’s visionary founders and original Board of Directors included Pastor McCleary, Pastor Gary Stigall of the Ava Assembly of God Church, MSHP Cpl. Brian Thompson, and community leaders Danny and Charlene Letsinger of Ava. The original staff began as a small group of dedicated teachers including Administrator Treva Watkins, who also taught the PreK class, then Kindergarten teacher and current Administrator Teresa Bruffett, and three year old teacher, Lori Forrest. The Academy continued to add grade levels to its education system, including a daycare for infants, and eventually began to graduate seniors onto collegiate study and honorable career fields.

During its first five years, the Academy saw uninterrupted growth, including the addition of the long running and far-reaching Crusader Sports Program. Originally the dream of Richard and Kristi Scoville, Crusader Sports expanded the school’s ministry into Christian athletics, now teaching biblical principles on and off the court to residents in and outside the Ava area. The Scoville’s son, Pastor Rod Scoville of Ava Full Gospel Church in Ava, became Athletics Director of the growing program. He soon developed the Ozarks Area Christian Schools Conference (OACS) making Christian athletics available to not only Victory Academy students, but students at Christian schools in the surrounding communities, as well as homeschooled students from all over the Ozarks.

The Academy saw humble and blessed beginnings, finding its first home in the Ava Full Gospel Church, then the Ava Assembly of God Church, and finally, the First Southern Baptist Church in Ava. As the Academy continued to grow, Christian education in Ava saw many people invest in the stewardship of the school and its programs, including a long standing Board of Directors, school Administrators Valerie Stanton and Danny Letsinger, and countless experienced Christian teachers and committed parents. This dedicated group of believers understood and committed to the biblical principles of Stewardship including ownership, responsibility, accountability, and reward. Victory Academy Benefactors also include Ella Stith and her son LC Stith, and Mrs. Betty Jo Schmidt, former Ava resident, retired teacher, and philanthropist.

Mrs. Schmidt’s dream was to set a course of financial stability for a worthy not for profit organization and when the electric company near her home in Colorado purchased a piece of land she owned, she saw an opportunity to change lives and invest in the expansion of Christian education in the Ozarks. Betty Jo is survived by her son Jack, and grandson Lee Schmidt who is proud Victory Academy alumni. With the generous donation made by Mrs. Schmidt, the Academy was able to purchase Ava’s original Wal-Mart building and then retrofit the warehouse into classrooms and other multipurpose areas for learning.

Over the course of the last two decades, the Victory Academy has followed the Lord’s prompting to boldly invest in the spiritual and educational futures of the youth in our local communities, The Academy has focused on preparing young minds for higher learning, shaping their character for Godly leadership, and most importantly, influencing their souls for eternity. The Victory Academy’s mission is to continually expand our potential to reach families seeking a traditional school setting where students are trained to focus first for Christ and learn to be courageous and resolute Christian leaders influencing all aspects of His creation for His glory.

Victory Academy has an average ACT score of 27, well above the local system, Missouri State, and National averages, while the Academy’s graduating seniors regularly accept offers into universities of their choice. It is the continued vision and purpose of the Victory Academy to educate children in our communities, preparing them not only for meaningful careers and excellence in their field of choice, but most importantly, to His service, strengthening their understanding and ability to defend the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.