Stop School Violence National Conference, August 8-10, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia

Guest Speakers

Allison Schreiber, MAIR
Allison as a School Safety Specialist at the National Center for School Safety. She is a retired secondary English/social science teacher in an urban, Title 1 school district. Allison also has experience working in the business world as a Human Resources Generalist and regional HR Director. She holds an MA in Industrial Relations from Wayne State University, a secondary teaching certification from the University of Detroit, and a BA in psychology from Michigan State University. She has experience in social-emotional learning, trauma-informed practices, restorative practices, peer mediation and conflict resolution, threat assessment, crisis intervention teams, climate and safety teams, and as a safety administrator developing emergency operations/safety plans and coordinating the safety committee.

Ben Jennett, MLS
Ben Jennett is a School Safety Specialist at the National Center for School Safety. He has experience in law enforcement, school discipline with integration of restorative practices, and threat assessments in school settings. Ben holds a Master’s in Legal Studies from Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Dr. Catherine P. Bradshaw
Catherine P. Bradshaw, Ph.D., M.Ed., is a University Professor and the Senior Associate Dean for Research at the School of Education and Human Development and is a faculty fellow with the Vice President of Research at the University of Virginia. Her primary research interests focus on the development of aggressive behavior and school-based prevention of behavioral and mental health problems. Her research focuses on bullying and school climate; emotional and behavioral disorders; and the design, evaluation, and implementation of evidence-based prevention programs in schools. She has led over 10 federally-funded randomized trials of school-based prevention programs, including studies of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and social-emotional learning curricula. She works with the Maryland State Department of Education and several other states and districts to support the development and implementation of programs and policies to foster safe and supportive learning environments, and strategies to reduce disproportionality.

Dr. Chris Melde
Chris Melde is Director and Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University.  He is an affiliated faculty member in the Youth Equity Project and the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, and a research associate at the Michigan Justice Statistics Center.  His primary research interests include street gangs, youth violence, crime prevention, public perceptions of crime and victimization risk, and program evaluation.

Clayton Rosenberg
Clayton Rosenberg is the President of the Alliance of Concerned Men. He is a trailblazing community advocate and leader dedicated to empowering youth and tackling systemic issues. His eclectic educational background includes MBA and MIB. His worldwide experiences have honed his ability to drive change and contribute significantly to the community’s growth. Clayton has dedicated his career to creating safer communities and providing opportunities for at-risk youth. His innovative approach to violence prevention and conflict resolution has made a significant impact on the communities ACM serves.

David Adams
David Adams is a Senior Policy Advisor. His portfolio currently includes the Students Teachers and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Program and the Center for Task Force Training (CenTF) Program. He has also overseen projects on university and college campus safety, anti-human trafficking, the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program, crime prevention, firearms safe storage and mortgage fraud. Prior to joining BJA, he served in the Virginia Office of the Attorney General, and the Virginia Office of the Governor where he served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Deputy Secretary for Higher Education. David also served one term on the Longwood University Board of Visitors where he served on the Academic Affairs and Finance Committees. David lives in Richmond, VA with his wife and two daughters.

Elizabeth Simpson
Elizabeth Simpson is an Analyst at the COPS Office, a DOJ component, specializing in school safety and cyber-crime issues. Elizabeth previously worked as a researcher for the Department of Labor and the Arizona State Supreme Court.

Dr. Jennifer K. Grotpeter
Jen completed her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois in 1997, where she co-founded the field of relational aggression. She continued her research at the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she worked with luminaries in the field of youth violence (e.g., Del Elliott and David Huizinga) on the Blueprints for Violence Prevention, the longitudinal National Youth Survey, CDC’s National Center of Excellence to reduce youth violence, and more. She continued her career with Development Services Group (DSG) where she worked on NIJ’s CrimeSolutions website and OJJDP’s Model Programs Guide. At DSG, she also led two NIJ-funded meta-analyses on the consequences of school violence and interventions to decrease cyberbullying. Jen has extensive experience applying for, winning, and completing federal grant-funded research projects as a PI, Co-PI, and project director.

Dr. Justin Heinze
Dr. Heinze is an educational psychologist and Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. His research investigates how schools influence disparities in violence and other risk outcomes from an ecological perspective that includes individual, interpersonal, and contextual influences on development. He is particularly interested in structural features of school context and policy that perpetuate inequity in violence and firearm outcomes, but also how these institutions can serve as a setting for intervention.

Director Karhlton F. Moore
President Biden appointed Karhlton F. Moore as Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), effective February 28, 2022. Prior to joining BJA, Director Moore served as the Executive Director of Ohio’s Office of Criminal Justice Services where he oversaw state and federal grants for law enforcement, victim assistance, juvenile justice, crime prevention courts, anti-trafficking efforts, reentry, corrections programs, and traffic safety. In that role, he led Ohio’s grantmaking operations, advising the governor and the director of the Department of Public Safety on criminal justice strategies. He also served as the facilitator for former Ohio Governor John Kasich’s Task Force on Community-Police Relations, precursor of the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board, a multi-disciplinary panel that establishes standards for law enforcement agencies as part of the state’s effort to strengthen community-police relations. Karhlton also served on the National Criminal Justice Association (NCJA) advisory council and executive committee, and was president of NCJA’s board of directors. Director Moore received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Wright State University and his law degree from American University’s Washington College of Law.

Katherine Schweit, JD, CCEP
Ms. Schweit is former state prosecutor, FBI special agent, and current adjunct law professor at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago and Webster University. She is a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional with experience in both ethics and employee misconduct/compliance investigations. She has led government and private training development efforts across a variety of in-person and digital platforms to educate and meet legal and awareness requirements for private security officers, both armed and unarmed, as well as training in sexual harassment, insider threats, and risk mitigation strategies. She is a sought-after, nationally known expert in active shooter and violence prevention matters.

Kevin Bethel
Kevin J. Bethel is a retired Deputy Police Commissioner for the Philadelphia Police Department, the 4th largest police department in the nation with over 6,600 sworn personnel. Prior to his retirement in January 2016, Kevin commanded Patrol Operation’s for the entire city. This appointment included oversight of the 21 Patrol Districts, Neighborhood Services Unit, Philadelphia School District Police and Community Relations Unit. Upon his retirement from the Philadelphia Police Department, Kevin continued to pursue his passion of Juvenile Justice Reform through his work at Drexel University as a Senior Policy Advisor supported by the Stoneleigh Foundation. During this time, he worked to expand implementation of the successful Philadelphia Police School Diversion Program nationally.

Kim Root
Kim Root is the Manager of the Office of School Safety within the Grants and Community Services Division of the Michigan State Police. Kim assumed this role in May 2022. For the 11 years prior, she served as the Executive Director of School Safety, Communications and Strategic Initiatives in Huron Valley Schools, located in western Oakland County.  In her role with the school district, she developed Emergency Operations Procedures, trained all school staff in the principles of RUN HIDE FIGHT, and assisted with facilities assessments on all 15 school buildings. Ms. Root has also served as the chief spokesperson for Emergent BioSolutions, the only manufacturer of an FDA-licensed vaccine for the prevention of anthrax disease. Ms. Root has also held positions in the Michigan Legislature, U.S. Senate, and the Michigan Education Association. She is a proud graduate of Michigan State University.

LeVar Michael
LeVar has over 20 years of experience in the field of community safety and violence reduction having served as the Baltimore City Violence Reduction Manager and a Department of Justice TTA provider.

Liz Ryan
Liz Ryan became Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on May 16, 2022, following appointment by President Biden. Prior to leading OJJDP, Ms. Ryan served as president and CEO of the Youth First Initiative, a national campaign focused on ending the incarceration of youth by investing in community-based alternatives. Ms. Ryan founded the Youth First Initiative in 2014; under her leadership, it achieved the closure of youth prisons in six states and redirected more than $50 million to community-based alternatives to incarceration. Ms. Ryan founded the Campaign for Youth Justice in 2005 and served as its president and CEO until 2014. The national, multistate initiative sought to end the prosecution of youth in adult criminal courts and the placement of youth in adult jails and prisons. During Ms. Ryan’s tenure, the campaign’s work led to legislative and policy changes in more than 30 states, a 60 percent decrease in the number of youth in adult courts, and a greater-than 50 percent decrease in the number of youth placed in adult jails and prisons. Ms. Ryan earned a bachelor’s degree from Dickinson College and a master’s degree in International Studies from the George Washington University.

Lynette Chambliss
Lynette Chambliss is a Grant Program Specialist within the Program Development Section who oversees the School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) for the COPS Office.

Matt St. Pierre
Matt brings over a decade of experience providing clinical services across the mental health spectrum to his role as a director at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing in the Practice Improvement & Consulting Division. As a director, he oversees a portfolio of projects and initiatives which directly impact the mental health/substance use treatment provider workforce as well as drive change to improve outcomes for individuals with mental health and/or substance use challenges. Specifically, Matt is heavily involved in the National Council’s efforts related to strengthening the crisis continuum, the ongoing implementation of 988 and providing training and technical assistance to state, local and organizational collaborators.

Nancy Becker Bennett
Nancy has 24 years of state and federal grant writing and administration experience. She has led multiple statewide projects for the Michigan State Police (MSP), including chairing the 2013 statewide School Safety Task Force, overseeing the development of the MSP’s community policing plans (2014) and the original 21 grant-funded Community Service Troopers (2011), and coordinating the statewide rollout of the MSP Angel Program (2017). Nancy was instrumental in establishing the Michigan Office of School Safety in 2018 and continues to oversee its expansion.  Nancy received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Michigan and her master’s degree in justice from the American University in Washington, D.C.

Paul Taylor
As a person with lived experience, Paul has worked to prevent community violence throughout Richmond, VA for several years. Working with his late partner Jawad Abdu, Paul founded VALSS as his way of giving back to the community after his incarceration.

Dr. Rebeccah Sokol
Dr. Rebeccah Sokol is social work and public health scholar dedicated to youth safety and well-being. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention. Dr. Sokol’s research program is centered around identifying effective strategies to alleviate youth adversity and trauma, with a particular focus on preventing child maltreatment, youth violence involvement, and firearm injury.

Dr. Rhonda Shaw
Rhonda Shaw currently works as project coordinator with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U. S. Department of Justice STOP School Violence, in which IIR provides specialized training and technical assistance for law enforcement who work in schools and/or with school age populations. Prior to this position, she worked with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP) Opioid Affected Youth Initiative, in which IIR provides technical assistance in support of more than 30 sites across the country impacted by the opioid epidemic. Before coming to IIR, she served as project director with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, where she facilitated programs that provide intervention, prevention, trauma-informed resources, family supports, and integrated and wraparound services to a diverse population of youth and families within targeted communities.

Chief Rick Edwards
Chief Rick Edwards joined the Richmond Police Department in 1999. He held positions as a Patrol Officer, ATF Task Force Officer, Aggravated Assault / Sex Crimes Detective, and Homicide Detective. In 2012, he was promoted to the rank of Patrol Sergeant. In 2013, he was assigned as a Detective Sergeant in the Homicide Unit. In 2017, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant where he served in Sector 411 and later in the Major Crimes Division. In 2020, he was promoted to the rank of Captain where he commanded the 1 st Precinct. In 2021, he was assigned as the Acting Major overseeing Patrol Services – Area 1. In October of 2022, he was tapped to be the Acting Chief of Police for the City of Richmond and formally sworn in at Richmond’s 24 th Chief of Police on June, 24, 2023.

Chief Edwards has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond in Criminal Justice. He is a graduate 79th session of the Police Executive Research Forum’s (PERF) Senior Management Institute for Police (SMIP) and the 51 st session of VACP’s Professional Executive Leadership School (PELS) at the University of Richmond.

Robert Morris
Robert currently serves as the Co-founder and Commissioner of VALSS. In his current role, Robert works to use basketball as a catalyst to individual change. 

Dr. Sarah Stilwell
Sarah Stilwell is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. In her role, she contributes to school safety evaluation work, implementation efficacy, and positive youth development work. She has experience in community-based research, program management/implementation, and mixed-methods data collection and analysis. As a former elementary educator, she brings a unique perspective that aims to bridge both research and practice. Sarah earned her Ph.D. in Education and Psychology from the University of Michigan.

Scott Pestridge, MPP
Scott works within the Delinquency Prevention and Child Protection Division of OJJDP, where he supports program development related to youth violence prevention and early intervention, gang suppression and diversion, prosecution, police and youth engagement, and mentoring. He has worked at the Department of Justice for 25 years, serving at the Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), and OJJDP. Scott began his juvenile justice career as a case manager for a juvenile diversion program in Baltimore, MD. He subsequently directed an AmeriCorps program within the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services that provided supervised linkages for adjudicated youth performing court-ordered community service. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.

Steve Harris
Steve has over 28 years of K-12 and higher education safety, security, and emergency management experience. He currently serves as a Special Project Advisor at the University of Georgia. He previously served as the Director of Emergency Preparedness and Insurance and Claims at the University of Georgia, as the State School Safety Unit Manager with the Georgia Emergency Management Agency – Homeland Security (GEMA), as a K-12 security administrator and as a police officer. Steve serves as an adjunct instructor for the Louisiana State University’s NCBRT/Academy of Counter-Terrorist Education Center and as a national instructor/curriculum developer for the United States Department of Education’s Readiness in Emergency Management and Schools Technical Assistance (REMS TA) Center.

Dr. Sydney McKinney
Dr. McKinney is the executive director of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI), a Black women-led, national nonprofit working to end the systemic criminalization of Black women and girls. She is deeply committed to advancing rigorous research, policy, and capacity-building that center and elevate the voices, experiences and expertise of system-impacted Black women, girls and gender-nonconforming people. Dr. McKinney has over 15 years of experience in the areas of child welfare and justice reform, including developing and managing research and evaluation in applied settings. Dr. McKinney holds a Ph.D. in sociology and an M.A. in law and society from New York University, as well as an M.P.H from Columbia University. She earned her B.A. from Tufts University.

Terrance Staley
Terrance Staley is the Executive Director of the Alliance of Concerned Men (ACM), With a background in social work and community engagement, He served his country through three tours in Iraq and now he serves his community through conflict resolution initiatives and transformational programs. He is a dedicated leader with a deep commitment to community development and violence prevention. His work at ACM has been instrumental in implementing successful programs that have significantly reduced violence in various communities across Washington, D.C.

Lt. Wayland Cubit
Lt. Cubit currently serves as the Director of Security for Oklahoma City Public Schools. He is an Oklahoma native with a distinguished career in law enforcement spanning over 26 years. Throughout his journey, Lt. Cubit has demonstrated a strong commitment to serving at-risk youth and implementing positive programs that bring about lasting change. Lt. Cubit established the OCPD F.A.C.T. Unit (Family Awareness and Community Teamwork) in 2010. This youth outreach program emphasizes mentorship, character-building, and empowering at-risk youth, resulting in reduced juvenile delinquency rates and decreased involvement with the criminal justice system. Lt. Cubit actively engages in facilitating training sessions on various topics related to effective police interaction with youth, fair and impartial policing, and unconscious bias.