Secret Service Agent Turned School Teacher: Scott Wright

Secret weapons and gadgets, fancy cars, topped with jet black Aviator-style glasses. The perfect Hollywood image of a secret agent. But in the halls of Grandview, far from the magic of motion pictures, real life former Secret Service Agent Scott Wright presents to his Criminal Justice and Law students.

Yet before he ever stepped foot into a classroom, Wright began his career on the invaded soils of Kuwait, just having transferred from the Army to the Navy a month prior. 

“I was over in Desert Storm,” Wright said. “ [I was] feeling a little bit lost because I didn’t know anything about the Navy, [and]  I didn’t even know their rank structure or anything yet. It was kind of a baptism by fire.” 

Wright soon turned toward law school as his next step in life after returning home.

“ I went into law school thinking that I wanted to go in and make a difference, make an impact, save the world,” Wright said. 

But the traditional stiff-suit, firm-going lawyer lifestyle left much to be desired, causing Wright to change his trajectory.

“I started looking for alternatives and then I stumbled on federal law enforcement,” Wright said. “So I started applying to places like [the] FBI, ATF, and then Secret Service, and ultimately got hired by the Secret Service.”

While some may expect Secret Service operations to be classified at the highest level, that is actually farthest from the possible truth.

“The secret service is probably the most misnamed agent in the federal government because there’s really not that much secret about it,” Wright said. 

The agency actually came as one of the final acts of one of our most revered presidents. 

“One of Abraham Lincoln’s last acts as president was to create the Secret Service, right before he was assassinated,” Wright said. “…The only reason it was called  the secret service was because President Lincoln liked the name. That’s it.”

As for this modern-day agent, Wright performed several duties while in active service with the agency.

“I was doing investigations like bank fraud, counterfeit currency, presidential threats,” Wright said. “That was about half my time. The other half was going and traveling all over the U.S. and sometimes the world on protection assignments.” 

One such assignment caused Wright to find himself in the remainders of the Twin Towers, meer hours after the attacks of 9/11.

“I was assigned to sift through rubble brought from the World Trade Center to Staten Island after the 9/11 attacks. We were looking for sensitive government items, but also human remains,” Wright said.  That was a sobering and humbling experience to be there and see all that destruction.

Nine years of active service also brought Wright into close proximity with several presidents.

“I’ve interacted with President Ford, President Clinton, the first President Bush, his son the second President Bush,” Wright said. “Unfortunately, I did not get any time with President Obama.”

But, the most intimate interaction Wright had with the First Family came in the form of First Lady Betty Ford.

“She was getting older and she couldn’t make it down the stairs, so she came up to me and asked, ‘could you escort me down the stairs?’” Wright said. “So I got to escort the Former First Lady down the stairs.”

Eventually, after nine years of active duty, Wright transferred down to Brunswick, Georgia to teach at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. 

“Initially, because of my law background, all that I was teaching were the legal courses,” Wright said. “4th Amendment, search and seizure stuff, 5th Amendment, self-incrimination. Anything [with] relation to the law and what the officers can and cannot do.” 

Wright then transferred to a different department after seven years focused solely on legalities.

“I switched over to teaching criminal investigations,” Wright said. “Like how to do an undercover operation, how to execute a search warrant, how to do surveillance.”

A part of criminal investigation courses at the Training Center included a simulated criminal investigation.

“We wanted to update the case and rewrite it,” Wright said. “So I was actually the one that came up with the storyline for that. So the case that every new agent goes through and practices was something I was a part of.”

Much like his Bond counterparts, when Wright isn’t teaching, he’s acting in major blockbusters. Most notably, Wakanda Forever.

“They were looking for extras. So I was like ‘I’ll do it. I’ll do it,’” Wright said. “I had to go a total of four nights, and you had to work ten to twelve hour nights… So I was up all night, really tired, but it was a lot of fun.”

After a brief movie career and  decades of service to the federal government, Wright began to look for different career pathways as he looked towards eventual retirement. He quickly stumbled across an open position with CCSD for a criminal justice teacher. 

“I looked at the description [and thought]… this is exactly what I am doing now, instead of for new-hire agents it’s for high school kids,” Wright said.

Despite the contrasting environments, Wright soon found enjoyment in the high school setting.

“I was very surprised,” Wright said. “It was a much more positive environment than what I was [picturing in my head].”

Similar to his Training Center years, Wright teaches his students a majority of legal fundamentals.

“I am basically teaching what you would get as a first year college student in a criminal justice program,” Wright said. “I teach them about the different amendments that restrict and control officer behavior. [We also]… talk about some of the more controversial issues.”

At the end of the day, Wright has hopeful wishes for his students, whether that involves a potential career on a similar path to his or not.

“I want them to be happy, have successful careers, and pick what works for them,” Wright said. “So if they come into my classroom, and they realize they don’t want anything to do with criminal justice. Great, as long as they find something that is good for them and they are happy with.”