The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine
This is perhaps the most significant gathering of school safety experts and advocates that has ever been assembled.
John McDonald
Director of Safety Security and Emergency Planning
Jefferson County R1 Schools

Responder at Deer Creek Middle School

Hosted By
This week-long symposium, held at Chatfield High School in Littleton, Colorado, examines lessons learned from traumatic events and reveals new, preemptive school safety measures growing in multiple realms.

Those presenting at this year's Symposium include school administrators, law enforcement, criminal justice and mental health professionals who were involved in the response and recovery to school violence and other emergency events. The Symposium is designed to provide a number of takeaways that districts, departments and agencies can implement immediately.

During the presentations and panel discussions, attendees will learn how best practices for school safety are shifting, lessons learned from recent events, the challenges school administrators face after a traumatic event, resilience, threat assessment and more. Some of the topic content has not been publicly disclosed, and will only be presented at this Symposium, making this an extremely unique opportunity for the audience.

"In the years since the events at Columbine, there are proven leaders in the art of school safety," says John-Michael Keyes, Executive Director and co-founder of The "I Love U Guys" Foundation. "These experiences and studies, along with new learnings from recent violent events, continue to reshape planning and response for active school violence. This symposium offers tangible takeaways and first hand insights that are essential for any practitioner."

Law enforcement, school personnel, victim advocates, mental health professionals, emergency and risk management staff, school safety teams and all first responders.

The event is held in the Chatfield High School Auditorium, so the number of participants is limited to 550. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The cost of this event is $350 with all proceeds benefiting The "I Love U Guys" Foundation. (Early registration and groups discounts available.)

The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine
You don't choose tragedy.
You can choose your response.
John-Michael Keyes
Executive Director
The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
We're adding profiles as they come in. Check back for more.
Dr. David Benke
Deer Creek Middle School

Dr. David Benke
Dr. David Benke has taught middle school and high school mathematics for 35 years. He has taught in suburban schools, on a national satellite network, and in rural schools in Texas and Colorado and was a finalist for Colorado Teacher of the Year in 1996. However on February 23, 2010 a man came to Deer Creek Middle School where Dr. Benke was teaching and began to shoot students. While the man was in the process of reloading his rifle Dr. Benke tackled him. Since then he has appeared on Good Morning America with Matt Lauer, It's Morning in America with Harry Smith, America Live with Megyn Kelly, and Zappolo's People. Determined not to be a victim and to learn from the experience Dr. Benke has made it a goal to learn something new about school security everyday. His book, "Tackling School Violence: Lessons Learned from the Deer Creek Middle School Shooting" written with Kathy Baun, is nearing completion.
AJ DeAndrea
Arvada Police Department
Jeffco Regional SWAT (Retired)

AJ DeAndrea
A.J. is an 18-year veteran of the Arvada, Colorado Police Department.

Sergeant DeAndrea was an Entry Team Leader at Columbine High School (1999) and Team Leader during the Bulldozer Incident in Granby, CO (2004). Sgt. DeAndrea helped devise and execute the tactical plan for the Hostage Rescue at Platte Canyon High School (2006). Again in 2006 he was the Team Leader during an Officer Rescue where over thirty rounds were fired. Sergeant DeAndrea was the Patrol Supervisor and Entry Team Leader during the Youth With a Mission shootings (2007). This was an active shooting at a youth mission training center where four young adults were shot, two of whom died.

Sergeant DeAndrea is a certified Explosive Breacher, Master Less Lethal Instructor and a Colorado POST certified instructor for the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Training Academy and the Red Rocks Community College Law Enforcement Academy. He teaches Officer Survival, Building Searches, Rapid and Immediate Deployment (RAID), SWAT, Defensive Tactics and Firearms as well as many other disciplines. A.J. attended the University of Colorado in Boulder and has a Bachelor of Arts.

Sergeant DeAndrea has received 5 Medals for Valor, 2 Medals for Distinguished Service, 2 Medals for Meritorious Service, 2 unit citations and numerous commendations. In 2006/2007, 2007/2008, 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 A.J. was honored as the "Police Officer of the Year" through the Primo Awards. In 2007 he also received an Honorable Mention for Police Officer of the Year through the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Parade Magazine.

Sergeant DeAndrea has instructed all over the United States and is an instructor for the NTOA and CTS. He has instructed at the IACP Annual Conference, the Police Improvement Facility in Bramshill, United Kingdom (2009) and was the International Key Note Speaker at the ACPO Conference in the United Kingdom (2010).

Cynthia Coffman
Chief Deputy Attorney General
State of Colorado
Cynthia Honssinger Coffman serves as Chief Deputy to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. She supervises the attorneys and staff and manages all administrative functions of the Department of Law. Before joining the Office of the Attorney General in March, 2005, Coffman served as chief legal counsel to Colorado Gov. Bill Owens.

Coffman served as Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs, and later as Deputy Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment from 1999 to 2003. She previously worked for the Office of Legislative Council and staffed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Coffman is a native of Missouri and a graduate of the University of Missouri, Columbia. She earned a JD at Georgia State University College of Law and practiced law in Georgia before moving to Colorado in 1997. Coffman worked as an attorney for the Georgia Attorney General and the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

John-Michael Keyes
Executive Director
The "I Love U Guys" Foundation

John-Michael represents The I Love U Guys Foundation to districts, departments, agencies and organizations regarding school safety. His professional career has included graphic design, software development, and workflow analysis. The death of his daughter, Emily, at the hands of a gunman at Platte Canyon High School compelled Mr. Keyes to bring his professional expertise to the arena of school safety.

The Keyes family's response to the events at Platte Canyon High School was immediate support for first responders and compassionate outreach to law enforcement. With a combination of both humor and heart, John-Michael's presentation includes powerful reminders of the importance of school safety, the recognition that no school is immune, and offers free resources available to districts, departments and agencies.

Susan Payne Executive Director - Safe2Tell
AJ DeAndrea
Susan Payne is the Founding Executive Director for the Safe2Tell(R) prevention initiative in Colorado. Susan served in this role as a Special Agent with the Colorado Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security from 2006 until 2010; she currently serves as the Director of Safe Schools at the Colorado Attorney General's Office. Susan is a 17-year veteran of the Colorado Springs Police Department. She was the first Special Agent at the Colorado Department of Public Safety dedicated to school safety. Susan is a Terrorism Liaison Officer for Colorado. Her experience includes team leader for Hostage Crisis Negotiations, FBT fugitive task force, and training at the FBI Academy. Susan is a graduate of the National School Safety Center and also has been certified as an Advanced Public Information Officer. Susan has also conducted over 1,000 training sessions, seminars, and presentations including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Colorado District Attorney's Council, the Colorado Association of School Board Executives, and Terrorism Liaison Officers. In 2006, Susan's expertise was requested at the President's White House Conference on School Violence Prevention. As a national expert on prevention, intervention, awareness, education, and training for school safety, Susan also consults extensively with Emergency Management planning teams throughout the U.S. while continuing the development and expansion of school safety efforts along with the expansion of the Safe2Tell program.
John McDonald

Jefferson County R1 School District

John McDonald
John McDonald began his career as a police officer with the Westminster (Colorado) Police Department prior to working in the aviation industry as the Sr. Manager of US Investigations and Security for more than a decade. In 2008, John joined the Jefferson County Public School District as the Executive Director of Safety, Security and Emergency Management.

John was involved in the security planning and preparedness for the 2002 SLC Olympic Games, the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions and has extensive experience responding to and leading corporate relief efforts during major hurricanes throughout the Gulf Coast. A past sector chief for the FBI's INFRAGARD program in Denver, John currently sits on the Board of Directors for Colorado's Safe 2 Tell program and is a member of the Jefferson County Type 3 Incident Management Team. For his work during the Deer Creek Middle School Shooting in 2010, John was named School Security Director of the Year by the Colorado Association of School Resource Officers.

During his time with Jefferson County Public Schools, John's focus on school safety, emergency preparedness and collaborative partnerships has helped Jeffco Public Schools become a recognized leader in school security.

John has earned Bachelor of Science Degrees in Criminal Justice and Criminology and is a recognized court expert in the area of Interview and Interrogation.

Kristina Anderson
Executive Director
Koshka Foundation

Kristina Anderson was a sophomore at Virginia Tech when she became one of the injured victims of the shooting tragedy of April 16th, 2007.

As an advocate for survivors of violence, Kristina formed the Immediate Help Fund in April 2012 to provide critical financial aid to victims of school violence and their families. One of her ultimate goals is to establish April 17th as National Survivor's Day in recognition of individuals who overcome adversity.

Frank DeAngelis
Columbine High School

Dr. Jeff Brodsky
Executive Director
Joy International
When I think about how children in our world are used as child sex slaves, I get angry - not just at the abusers, but at the apathy of those who look away and do nothing. I just don't understand why more people are not doing anything to fight this horrendous evil - no matter what it takes.

There's no greater gift you can give a child being held and abused as a sex slave - than freedom. It's in our hands. It's time to stop talking about it.

At JOY International we are devoted to the rescue of these precious girls. Each person that helps us, gives us greater power, strength and resources to rescue one more child.

Bryan Krause
Director of Student Services
Jefferson County R1 School District

Bryan Krause was the Assistant Principal, then Principal at Platte Canyon High School for six years, including during the 2006 shooting there, before transferring to Jefferson County School District for three years.

Bryan is currently the Director of Student Services with Jefferson County Public Schools. This position includes working with counselors and mental health professionals, and crisis response for schools that require mental health support.

Bryan has a Masters Degree in Instructional Leadership from the University of Colorado, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Colorado State University working on a dissertation focusing on effects of crisis on school leaders.

A devoted husband and father of three children, Bryan also competes in ultra-distance running and cycling events.

The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine
You may be feeling a little anxious... but you need to know that you are not in this alone. There are people to support you.
Frank DeAngelis
Columbine High School
7:30 Doors open
8:30 Cynthia Coffman Chief Deputy Attorney General
Opening Ceremonies and Introductions
9:00 Welcome Colorado Governors' Office
9:20 John-Michael Keyes Executive Director - The "I Love U Guys" Foundation

The Spectrum of School Safety John-Michael gives an insightful overview of the multiple components which should be considered in every conversation about school safety.

9:45 Frank DeAngelis Principal, Columbine High School

On Leadership in Crisis - The tragedy at Columbine redefined the nation. Frank tells his story from the events to the aftermath. This presentation has rarely been given and in it he reveals the leadership lessons he learned in the focus of an international fire storm.

This blunt, straight-forward account provides invaluable insights into managing the after-crisis with students, staff, community and never ending media attention. The take-aways from this presentation should be required reading for every principal in the nation.

This year, Frank celebrates his 36th anniversary at Columbine High School.

10:45 Break
11:00 John McDonald Executive Director of Emergency Planning - Jefferson County R1 School District

Landscape and Horizon of School Safety - As a nationally recognized pace setter in the school safety arena, John provides insight about the current landscape and the future horizon of school security and emergency preparedness.

11:45 Lunch
12:30 Bryan Krause Former Platte Canyon Principal,
Current Director of Student Services, Jefferson County R1 School District

Fred Wegener Park County Sheriff
Ellen Stoddard Keyes President - The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
John-Michael Keyes Executive Director - The "I Love U Guys" Foundation

PCHS Diverse Perspectives of a Critical Event
Each of these people had different roles during the shooting at Platte Canyon High School. This co-presentation reveals the importance of relationships before, during and after an incident. They talk about their observations from different perspectives.

2:00 Break
2:15 Dr. David Benke Teacher - Deer Creek Middle School

From Dominoes to Action - Establishing An Ethos and Following It.

Dr. Benke provides an inspirational look at his actions and decision before and after the shooting at Deer Creek. This presentation ignites not just educators but other first responders to evalute their roles in a crisis... Before the crisis happens.

3:00 Kristina AndersonVirginia Tech Student (2007) and Founder of Koshka Foundation.

Kristina was a sophomore at Virginia Tech when she became one of the many injured in the shooting tragedy of April 16th, 2007. Kristina works to raise awareness on the importance of school safety and violence prevention through sharing her significant encounter with gun violence, as well as working and meeting others affected by irrational acts of aggression.

3:30 End of General Session
3:30 Facilitated Discussion with Practitioners In the cafeteria.
7:30 Doors open
8:45 AJ DeAndrea Sergeant - Arvada Police Department

Mindset - Sergeant DeAndrea, recently retired from Jeffco Regional SWAT, provides a glimpse into the mindset that law enforcement today takes, regarding response to active school violence. Educators who have seen this presentation are riveted by the intensity of AJ's presentation and enlightened by the passion first responders can bring.

Law enforcement professionals can bring hard-learned lessons back to their agencies or departments with the knowledge and conviction of Sergeant DeAndrea's firsthand experience at Columbine, Platte Canyon, and at Youth With A Mission; three active shooter events where AJ was a boots on the ground responder.

9:30 Dr. Jeff Brodsky Director of JOY International

Child Sex Trade Industry in the U.S. JOY International is devoted to the rescue and restoration of children and young girls who are forced into the child sex trade industry. It's a worldwide organization; this session focuses on identification and collaboration within the U.S.

10:15 Break
10:30 Dr. Del Elliott Founding Director, Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado
Susan Payne Director of Safe Schools for the Colorado Attorney General, Founding Executive Director - Safe2Tell
11:30 Lunch
12:30 Dr. John Nicoletti Psychologist - Nicoletti-Flater Associates

Pragmatic Threat Assessment - "It's all about moving trees." That's one strategy that Dr. Nicoletti reveals in his presentation. Learn hands-on, real-world methods for identifying threats and intervening before they escalate.

2:30 Break
2:45 Theresa Campbell Manager, Safe Schools Dept., School District #36 (Surrey B.C.)

Recognizing and Reporting a Threat Training school staff and administration on recognition, assessment, reporting.

3:30 End of General Session
3:30 Facilitated Discussion with Practitioners In the cafeteria.
8:00 Opening Ceremony at Columbine Memorial
9:00 Nancy Lewis Executive Director, Colorado Association for Victim Assistance

Understanding Your Community Examining internal structure - think about how well you'd be able to respond in a mass trauma. Relationships, money, resources, schools. Connecting victim advocates to schools.

10:00 Break
10:15 Dr. Jay Findling Senior Administrator of School Services and Security, Office of Safety and Youth Development, NYC Dept. of Education
Frank Jordan Staten Island and S. Brooklyn Borough Safety Director Jay and Frank reveal the seemingly infinite issues New York City faced after Hurricane Sandy. They explain how they got the schools back in session, and continue to manage ongoing facility issues and personal traumas.
11:30 Lunch
12:30 John-Michael Keyes Executive Director - The "I Love U Guys" Foundation

Black Swan John-Michael shares details of the Keyes family response to the tragic killing of his daughter Emily at Platte Canyon High School. Deliberate decisions about handling national and local media, finances, donations, community healing, support people and organizations, the creation of The "I Love U Guys" Foundation and more. Mr. Keyes outlines not just the immediate aftermath and response, but events that occurred in the years that followed. And, the narrative tells how The Standard Response Protocol is sweeping the country and is fast becoming a national standard.

2:00 Break
2:15 Closing Keynote Special Guest Address
9:00 - 3:00 Track 1 - SRP/SRM Train the Trainer This session is for people who are ready to take the Standard Response Protocol to their organization, and/or to present it on behalf of The Foundation. Participants will understand the methods of implementation, and learn about the Standard Reunification Method. In-depth discussion of the creation of the programs, how to introduce, implement and train. Completion of the day will earn partipants The "I Love U Guys" Foundation Adjunct Trainer Certificate.

Track 2 - CASLEO General Meeting Special Meeting for CASLEO Members

Track 3 - Stone Soup An invitation for participants to share their successes and lessons learned.

  Program subject to change without notice.
The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine
Hampton Inn & Suites Littleton
7611 Shaffer Parkway
Littleton, CO 80127

Please contact the hotel and request the special rate for The Briefings no later than May 25th to receive the group rate. Any new reservation requests received after that date will be offered on a space/rate available basis.

Reservations can be booked by calling the hotel directly or by booking on-line at After the dates are entered, "add special rate codes" should be selected and then the GROUP code ILU should be entered.

The block will begin on June 15th and will continue through June 20th. A combination of deluxe king and deluxe double queen rooms are available at the discounted rate of $119.

The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine

Very powerful! Inspiring! Rejuvenating! A message of hope and resiliency.

This experience was inspirational and personally and professionally motivating on so many levels. It has surpassed any other training, workshop, or presentation I've attended in my career and in my opinion it is imperative that anyone who works in schools be exposed to some or as much of this content as possible. I am grateful and feel truly privileged to have been able to attend this week.

All presenters were excellent and extremely relevant. Their presentations shifted my perspective and caused me to re-evaluate the priority of safety and security on my work.

This was a fantastic gathering. I loved every aspect from the police end to the school officials' contribution to the program.

Thank you all. This has been a life-changing experience for me

I will approach my work very differently in the future.

This gave me the Information to get my administrator's attention to follow through and truly implement the plans and protocols. Especially meaningful scenario-based drills.

I learned how to inspire my community (colleagues, parents, kids...) in our school and to make sure preparedness is a priority at our school.

I learned not to become complacent; that something can happen. Communication, practice, plan.

All of the presentations offered a great perspective for each of the people involved. Their experiences are awesome and unique tools for others to learn from.

The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine
The Briefings at Columbine sessions qualify for up to two Educator Graduate Credits and up to three CEUs.

Educators can earn up to two Graduate Credits by attending all sessions (four days for 30 hours) at $55/credit.

Continuing Education Units: 1.5 CEUs: $30 (Attend 15 hours)
Continuing Education Units: 3.0 CEUs: $45 (Attend 30 hours)

Register online by going to this link.

Documentation will be provided at The Briefings.
If you're planning to get credit for attending the sessions, please email: for a syllabus, agenda and advance materials.

The Briefings at Columbine sessions qualify for up to 20 hours of Coursework Activity for School Counselors, Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors.

Appropriate attendance documentation will be provided at The Briefings.

Approved by Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) Division of Professions and Occupations

Questions? Contact:
Continuing Professional Development for Mental Health Professionals
1560 Broadway, Suite 820
Denver, CO 80202
Phone: 303.894.2363
Fax: 303.894.7693

The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine
We will not falter.
We will not fail.
We will train harder and harder.
A.J. DeAndrea
Arvada Police Department
The Briefings are only open to educators, administrators, school safety personnel, law enforcement or critical stakeholders. All applicants must be with, or endorsed by, a recognized school, district, department or agency.

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The Briefings :: A National School Safety Symposium at Columbine
Most people won't face a person shooting at them or their children. But there is a larger lesson about preparing yourself to take action in your life.
Dr. David Benke
Deer Creek Middle School

Dr. Benke tackled the gunman at DCMS

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