Board of Education Approves New Director of Safety & Security
At their meeting on August 21, 2017, the Board of Education approved Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra’s recommendation of Dr. Thomas Shea as the district’s first Director of Safety & Security. This part-time position was recommended by Administration in January 2017, as part of the 2017-2018 budgeting process, and was approved as part of the preliminary budget passed by the Board of Education in March 2017, and the final budget adopted by the Board in April 2017.
The primary responsibility of the new Safety & Security Director is to ensure that our security protocols keep students and staff safe, and are also appropriate for a school environment. This work was previously part of the portfolio of the Property Services Director. Given the increasing focus on school security over the past few years, in response to incidents around the country, SOMSD decided it was time to have a staff member dedicated to the essential task of ensuring that our students and staff have a safe environment in which to learn and work.
Dr. Shea will take the lead to develop, establish and enforce safety and security policies, access control procedures, accident prevention efforts, support risk management efforts, emergency management, fire safety, and asset protection. Dr. Shea will collaborate with building leaders to ensure that our security protocols are culturally responsive and informed by our anti-bias work. He will not be involved in discipline.
Our posting for this position garnered 63 applicants, and Dr. Thomas Shea emerged as the leading candidate. Dr. Shea has a Doctorate in Civil Security Leadership, Management and Policy, and is currently teaching two college classes. He has nearly twenty years of experience as a highly skilled and competent police officer, investigator and supervisor, during which time he worked with D.A.R.E. programs and with schools on security management. In the interview process, Dr. Shea stressed the importance of balancing security with building positive relationships within schools, the district and the larger community.
Upon accepting the appointment, Dr. Shea said “I am extremely honored to accept the position of Director of Safety and Security for your school district. As the father of three boys, I take this responsibility extremely seriously. The fact that I was selected to be entrusted with the safety of your children is humbling, to say the least.
“In the limited amount of time I have been here, I observed that reform appears to be a top priority. To achieve any kind of organizational transformation requires collaboration. That being said, I am asking for your help to accomplish all of the objectives we seek to implement. Please feel free to contact me anytime, regarding any issue under my purview. I look forward to working with you.”