• Summer Conference

  • Alissa Parker Keynote Speakers

    Alissa Parker
    Sunday, June 24 | 3 p.m.

    Alissa is a co-founder of Safe and Sound Schools and the mother of Emilie Parker, one of the 20 children who died tragically in the Sandy Hook school shootings on December 14, 2012. In the wake of the tragedy, Alissa was moved to engage parents in securing the safety of their children in school. She became an active member of the Newtown Public Schools’ Safety Committee and has become passionate about school security and safety, traveling, listening, and learning in school communities across the United States.

    In her presentation, School Safety: A Parent’s Perspective, Alissa will tell her personal story and recount the lessons she learned on December 14, 2012, and in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy. She will share the inspiring way she has chosen to help school communities improve school safety in honor of her daughter, Emilie, and the memory of the other 19 children and six teachers who were lost that day. Alissa’s perspective as a parent provides unique insight and inspiration for parents, administrators, school staff, emergency responders, and community members who strive to make their schools safer.

    Michael Dorn Michael Dorn
    Monday, June 25 | 1:15 p.m.

    An international authority on school safety, Michael Dorn serves as the executive director of Safe Havens International, the world’s largest school safety center. He has served as a school district police chief, school safety specialist for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency – Office of the Governor, and as the lead program manager for the Terrorism Division of the Georgia Office of Homeland Security. An FBI National Academy graduate, Michael also completed two weeks of anti-terrorism training in Israel. The author of 27 books on school safety, Michael’s work has taken him to Mexico, Honduras, Trinidad-Tobago, Canada, England, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, India, Israel, and Vietnam. He has provided post-incident assistance for more than 300 major school crisis events.

    In his presentation, How Much Fidelity Does Your District’s School Safety Approach Have?, Michael will provide school leaders with a clear understanding of the evaluation systems a school district should have in place to determine whether or not high-stakes life safety measures are reasonably reliable, court defensible and ethically responsible. This captivating, dynamic and powerful session is based on security assessments for more than 6,000 K-12 schools and post-incident assistance for several hundred school crisis events. Attendees will learn: how school districts should verify the fidelity of prevention policies, strategies and practices, as well as the integrity of preparedness plans, strategies, and practices. Download his presentation handout.

    Chris Cook Chris Cook
    Tuesday, June 26 | 10:45 a.m.

    Chris Cook joined the Texas Tech University Office of Communications and Marketing in 2010, after 17 years in intercollegiate athletics, including 11 years managing media relations for the Red Raiders football program. In his current role as managing director of communications and marketing, Chris leads a team that directs the university's storytelling through writing, photography, video, marketing, and social media. He serves as Texas Tech's official spokesperson, works closely with university administration, and teaches a class for future sports public relations professionals in the College of Media & Communication.

    In his presentation, Chris will draw from his experiences related to the fall 2017 officer shooting on the Texas Tech campus. He will discuss how a well-prepared crisis communication plan is vital. He says that in times of crisis, which can invoke a sense of panic or immediacy, such a plan allows schools to communicate with their audiences in a controlled, collected manner, reflecting positively on the organization. He says: "Crises will happen. We're measured by how well we respond."