PITTSBURG, Kan. — He’s had dinner with Jimi Hendrix and was part of a band that opened for Pink Floyd, but Dr. William Scully’s most fond memories came in the classroom, both as a student at USD 250 schools and later as a teacher and administrator in the Kansas City area. In recognition of his service to education and his varied life experiences, Scully was recently named the 2023 Pittsburg High School Distinguished Alumnus.
Scully, a 1964 graduate of Pittsburg High School, said he dedicates this award to his high school teachers and classmates.
“This honor,” he said, “goes out to all of the young people that were in my class that graduated in 1964. My life would not have evolved the way it has if I didn’t have the love, support, respect, and commitment from all of these folks.”
During his years at PHS, Scully was active in many activities including varsity football, track, band, choir, school plays, debate, and in his senior year was elected vice president of the student body.
Scully said it was the care and support of his classmates and teachers that helped him through trying times.
“I lost my father when I was 13 years old, when I was in the ninth grade,” he said. “My mother raised four children on her own. That wouldn’t have been possible if the entire community of Pittsburg, particularly the teachers and students in my close circle, didn’t embrace my family and wrap us in their arms.”
Following graduation, Scully attended the University of Kansas, becoming a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity majoring in journalism. While there, he became interested in the business of producing and promoting live music events. In 1968, he left college and continued for the next decade devoting his efforts in support of national touring recording artists of the time.
It was in 1971 when his band out in California was asked to open for Pink Floyd at a show in San Diego.
“We opened for them for two nights,” he said. “After the second night, they said, ‘We had thought about taking you guys with us on tour, but you’re too good.’”
In 1978, Scully built and operated Infinity Recording Studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His entrepreneurial spirit also extended to the formation of Diversified Environmental Industries, a development and construction company based in Crested Butte, Colorado. In 1982, Scully and his brothers created Missouri Heroes, Inc. Heroes’ first restaurant was opened in Warrensburg, Missouri that same year. The company owned and operated several establishments in the region for many years.
Scully made a life changing decision in 1990 to leave the restaurant business and devote the remainder of his working life to public education, following in his mother’s footsteps.
He graduated from the University of North Florida in 1984 with his teaching credentials and later served as a classroom teacher of English and creating writing. After earning his masters and educational specialist degrees from the University of Central Missouri, he moved into school administration.
He later received his doctorate from the University of Missouri in 2004, and for the next 20 years, served as a middle and high school principal. He was honored as Missouri’s Principal of the Year in 2004.
Scully said it was his mom’s example that inspired him to pursue education.
“My mother was a teacher at PHS,” he said. “She taught English there, and literature, for several years before becoming a professor at a junior college. So the whole education thing has always been in my background all my life.”
During his career, Scully served on the executive board of the Missouri Secondary School Principals Association for many years, becoming president of the association in 2005.
Scully retired in 2017, but he continues to serve as an educational consultant and substitute teacher. Scully and his wife, Alisa, live in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. They have three children and four grandchildren.
Longtime friend and classmate Terry Bartlow nominated Scully for the distinguished alumnus award. In the nomination letter, he said Scully had the ability to inspire and motivate his students.
“Throughout my career of 47 years in the field of education,” Bartlow said, “I've witnessed and worked with many very effective teachers. But to know a teacher and administrator that has the gift of teaching to light up a school building and classroom with inspiration is rare. He is a gifted and dedicated educator first and foremost because of his abounding love of and caring for all of his students.”
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