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 Home > News & Policies > October 2006

For Immediate Release
October 9, 2006

Biographies of Panelists in a Conference on School Safety

     Fact sheet Conference on School Safety
     Fact sheet In Focus: Education


Moderator: Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General

Jeff Dawsy, Sheriff, Citrus County, FL (Beverly Hills, FL)

A veteran of the criminal justice profession for over 25 years, Jeff Dawsy has served as Sheriff of Citrus County (an elected position) since 1996. As Sheriff, he has strongly supported school resource officer programs, many child-centered programs, and led the investigation of the Jessica Lundsford abduction, sexual assault, and murder case that received national attention and state legislative responses. In 2000, under his leadership, the Citrus County Sheriff's Office received law enforcement recognition from the Florida Commission of Law Enforcement Accreditation and in 2003, the office received law enforcement recognition from the Commission on Law Enforcement Accreditation (CALEA). Jeff resides in Citrus County with his wife and three children.

Dr. Delbert Elliott, Director, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado (Boulder, CO)

Dr. Elliott has served since 1993 as director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where is he currently working on a comprehensive study analyzing the causes of the 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School.  Dr. Elliott has been either a Professor or a Professor Adjoint in the University of Colorado's Department of Sociology since 1967.  He is also Director of the Program on Problem Behavior at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado.  Dr. Elliott is the author of numerous books, papers, and other publications about youth violence.

Thomas Kube, Executive Director and CEO, Council of Educational Facility Planners (Scottsdale, AZ)

Thomas Kube is Executive Director and CEO of the Council of Educational Facility Planners (CEFPI), based in Scottsdale, Arizona.  He is an expert on ways to reduce the risks of targeted school violence through building and environmental design.  CEFPI is a professional association whose mission is improving the places where children learn.  CEFPI’s 3000 members – architects, planners, engineers, K-12 administrators, higher education professionals, and facility maintenance and operations professionals, among others – are actively involved in planning, designing, building, equipping and maintaining schools and colleges in ways that promote student safety, among other objectives.  As Executive Director and CEO, Mr. Kube is responsible for planning, organizing and directing staff in advancing the policies, objectives and services of CEFPI.

Georgeann Rooney, Threat Assessment Specialist, U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (Arlington, VA)

Ms. Rooney is a Threat Assessment Specialist with the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center.  She is project manager of the Bystander component of the Safe School Initiative, which seeks to identify factors influencing a student’s decision to report planned school violence to authorities.  She also oversees production of the Safe School Initiative Interactive CD-ROM.  This product will present school-based threat assessment teams with mock threat scenarios that are designed to stimulate discussion and improve prevention efforts.  Ms. Rooney has been employed with the U.S. Secret Service since 2001.  Prior to her employment with the Secret Service, Ms. Rooney worked at the American Institutes for Research, a behavioral and social science research organization, and at an inpatient psychiatric hospital with adolescent and involuntarily committed adult populations.  Ms. Rooney holds a B.S. in Psychology from St. Joseph’s University and an M.A. in Criminal Justice from the George Washington University. 

Fred Wegener, Sheriff, Park County, CO (Bailey, CO)

Fred Wegener, the Sheriff of Park County, CO since 1999, oversaw the law enforcement response to the shooting incident at the Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, CO (September 2006).  In 1981, he graduated from the U.S. Air Force Security Police Academy.  In 2005, he was the first sheriff from Park County to attend and graduate from the FBI National Academy.  Sheriff Wegener has lived in Park County since 1970 and graduated from Platte Canyon High School.  He is married with two children, both of whom either graduated from or currently attend Platte Canyon High School.

Gregory White, U.S. Attorney (North Ridgefield, OH)

Greg White was appointed by President George W. Bush on March 24, 2003, as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.  As U.S. Attorney, Mr. White serves as the district's chief federal law enforcement official and manages a staff of approximately 170 people, including 74 Assistant U.S. Attorneys, who handle civil litigation and criminal investigations and prosecutions.  Under his leadership, the office was recognized nationally in 2004 for having the outstanding comprehensive strategic plan for reducing gun violence in the city of Youngstown, Ohio.  A career prosecutor, Mr. White was elected to office six-times, serving for twenty-two years as the Prosecuting Attorney for Lorain County, prosecuting state criminal offenses and handling civil litigation in Ohio's 9th largest county.  Mr. White received his undergraduate degree from Kent State University in 1973 and received his law degree with high honors from Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1977.  A resident of North Ridgeville, Ohio, Mr. White is married and the father of two daughters.


Moderator: Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education

Fred Ellis, Director, Office of Safety & Security, Fairfax County Public Schools, (Centreville, VA)

Fred has been Director of the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Safety and Security Operations since 2000.  As Director, Fred has worked with school and district officials to develop a robust Emergency Response Plan, considered one of the most comprehensive plans in the country.  The school division and all FCPS facilities have safety and security plans.  The plans are designed with the help of school security staff members, as well as local law enforcement, emergency management, and public health officials.  Plans are regularly reviewed and updated.  These plans include procedures to respond to critical incidents, such as fire or tornado, and school system personnel practice these drills regularly.  Prior to his current role in FCPS, Mr. Ellis spent 23 years in the Fairfax Police Department, retiring as a Major. 

Jim Moore, Watch D.O.G.S., (Springdale, AR)

Jim Moore is the founder of Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), a National Center for Fathering program helping fathers reconnect with their children at hundreds of schools across the country.  Jim founded the program in the wake of the tragic 1998 middle-school shooting in Jonesboro, AR with the goal of preventing a similar incident from occurring at his child’s school – or at any school.  The program was officially launched at George Elementary in Springdale, AR, the school of Jim’s oldest child.

Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton (CO)

A lifelong Coloradan, Jane Norton was sworn in as Colorado’s 46th Lieutenant Governor in January of 2003.  Prior to becoming the Lieutenant Governor, Norton was the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), serving on the Governor’s Bioterrorism Advisory Committee, the Governor’s Disaster Emergency Council, and the Governor’s Task Force on Victim Support for the Columbine High School Tragedy.  As the Executive Director of CDPHE, she created the Office of Suicide Prevention, with a special emphasis on teen suicide prevention.  She also served as regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and was a Member of the Colorado House of Representatives.  Norton earned a Bachelor of Science Degree with Distinction in Health Sciences from Colorado State University and a Master of Science Degree in Management from Regis University in Denver.  Born and raised in Grand Junction, she is married to Mike Norton, former U.S. Attorney of Colorado and is the mother of two grown children.

Chiarasay Perkins, Student, Walton Senior High School, (DeFuniak Springs, FL)

Chiarasay Perkins is a student at Walton High School and President of Youth Crime Watch of Walton County Florida, a local branch of a national organization that empowers youth with the tools and self awareness to avoid and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse on their school campuses.

Dr. George Sugai, Professor, University of Connecticut, (Storrs, CT)

Dr. Sugai is a Neag Endowed Chair in Behavior Disorders and tenured professor at the University of Connecticut.  He received his M.Ed. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1980 at the University of Washington.  His primary areas of interest include positive behavior support, teacher training, emotional and behavioral disorders, social skills instruction, and strategies for effective school-wide, classroom, and individual behavior management.  He currently serves as co-director of the National Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, a center established by the U.S. Department of Education to help schools implement effective school-wide disciplinary practices.

Patrick Weil, Principal, Valparaiso High School, (Valparaiso, IN)

Pat Weil is the principal of Valparaiso High School.  In November 2004, a 15-year old student used two large knives to seriously injure seven of his fellow students.  Mr. Weil has been involved in education as an administrator and teacher for over 25 years, but had been Principal of Valparaiso High School for just three weeks when the violent incident occurred.


Moderator: Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Education

Jamie Baggett, Teacher, Stewart County High School, (Dover, TN)

Jamie Baggett has been a Special Education teacher at Stewart County High School for almost five years.  In 2005, a 15-year-old student shot and killed a Stewart County school bus driver who was an aide to Ms. Baggett.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Austin Peay University in Clarksville, TN in 2001 and is currently working to complete her Master’s degree at the University of Tennessee in Martin.  Ms. Baggett currently resides in Big Rock, TN.

Betty Alvarez Ham, Founder and President, City Impact, (Ventura, CA)

Betty Alvarez Ham is the Founder and President of City Impact, a faith-based non-profit organization that operates on 56 public school campuses in Ventura County working with at-risk children, youth, and families.  She has spoken across the country about the importance of involving the faith-based community to deter youth violence and her belief in the power of compassion to fight against gangs, drugs, teen pregnancy, racism, and delinquency.  Mrs. Alvarez Ham is an ordained minister as well as an Adjunct Professor at Azusa Pacific University in the area of Urban and Youth Ministry.  She graduated from Azusa Pacific University in 1985 and received her Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1988.  She lives in Ventura, CA, with her husband and daughter.

Dr. Larry Macaluso, Superintendent, Red Lion School District, (Red Lion, PA)

Dr. Larry Macaluso has been the Superintendent of the Red Lion School District in Red Lion, PA since 1990.  Prior to becoming Superintendent, he served as the assistant Superintendent of the Red Lion Area School District, and teacher and Principal in the Allentown City School District.  In 2001, Red Lion was the site of a machete attack at a local elementary school, and in 2003, a student shot and killed a principal and himself at a local junior high school.  The Red Lion School District is a grantee of Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence), a U.S. Department of Education program designed to provide immediate help to schools to recover from a violent or traumatic event. 

Cathy Paine, Special Programs Administrator, Springfield School District, (Springfield, OR)

Cathy Paine is a Crisis Response Team leader for the Springfield School District in Springfield, Oregon.  She helped develop the Springfield Crisis Response Team in 1991 and directed the school district’s response and recovery efforts following a local fatal shooting at Thurston High School in 1998 that was the nation’s most deadly school shooting prior to Columbine.  Cathy has responded to over 40 crises in the Springfield area and served as a consultant to other communities that have experienced school violence, including Littleton, CO, San Diego, CA, and Cold Spring, MN.  Cathy received her undergraduate teaching degree from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Drake University in Iowa.  In her 30-year career in education, Cathy has also worked as a middle school English teacher, school psychologist, and crisis team trainer.  She is married with two children.

Craig Scott, Former Student, Columbine High School, (Aurora, CO)

Craig Scott is the brother of Rachel Joy Scott, one of the ten students killed at Columbine High School. Only 16-years-old at the time, Craig was hiding under a table in the library when his friend was shot to death right beside him. To honor his sister's legacy, Craig travels around the country to share his story of healing and forgiveness, and started, with his father, Rachel's Challenge, a program that challenges students to be more compassionate. He has been interviewed on a number of programs such as the Today Show, Oprah, Dateline, Good Morning America, 20/20, CNN, MSNBC, the John Walsh Show, and many others. He is currently a film school student at the University of Colorado.

Dr. Marleen Wong, Director of Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services, Los Angeles Unified School District and Director of the Trauma Services Adaptation Center for Schools and Communities, (Los Angeles, CA)

One of the country’s pre-eminent experts on school safety programs, Dr. Wong was one of the original developers of the Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS), an early intervention program for children traumatized by exposure to school and community violence.  She travels the country to support school districts with trauma recovery after school shootings, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.  She has been called on by the government to train educators and school mental health professionals in school crisis interventions and to be a member of National Crisis Teams convened to help schools develop recovery programs after school shootings, including those at Thurston High School, Columbine High School, Santana High School, and Red Lake Minnesota.  In addition, Dr. Wong has edited and co-authored three school safety books for the Jane’s Information Group and drafted the Mental Health Intervention and Crisis Recovery curriculum for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the U.S. Department of Justice.

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