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This 4 day symposium, held at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, examines lessons learned from traumatic events and reveals new, preemptive school safety measures growing in multiple realms.

Starting Sunday afternoon with the PCHS debrief, the conference includes hands on exercises on Wednesday at the Jefferson County National School Innovation Center.

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.

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 Columbine High School Auditorium, so the number of participants is limited to 550. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The cost of this event is $450 with all proceeds benefiting The "I Love U Guys" Foundation.

New: Two Graduate Credits or three Continued Education Credits available for educators. For counselors or social workers there are 20 hours of Coursework Activity available.

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.

Deer Creek Middle School

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.

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.

Arvada Police Department
Jeffco Regional SWAT (Retired)

A.J. is a 23-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 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).

Principal (Retired)
Columbine High School

Frank DeAngelis has been a staff member at Columbine High since 1979, starting as a Social Studies teacher and filling the roles of Assistant Principal, Dean of Students, Assistant Football Coach before becoming the Principal in 1996.

Frank is a Colorado native, completing his K-12 education in Denver-area schools, proceeding to graduate from Metropolitan State College and subsequently from the University of Colorado with a Masters Degree in Secondary Education and Social Studies.

Frank has been involved in numerous professional activities and associations, and has received multiple awards for his coaching and leadership skills. He has also been called upon to speak about recovery after a school tragedy at a variety of conferences, and has assisted as a consultant after a number of other violent school events.

School Resource Officer
Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

James has been a deputy with Arapahoe County for 16 years. He has worked in the jail and on the road. He became a School Resource Officer (SRO) in 2006. He was certified as an IPMBA Police Cyclist in 2006 and as an IPMBA Instructor in 2008. He has been an SRO at Arapahoe HS for six years. In addition to IPMBA, James teaches Alive @ 25 and is an instructor for NASRO. He received the ACSO Award of Valor and the NASRO National Award of Valor in 2014 for his role in the December 2013 school shooting. James was elected to the IPMBA Board in 2012 and currently serves as Industry Liaison.

Executive Director of Operations
Adams 12 Five Star Schools

Pat has been with Adams 12 for 14 years, and has a master's degree in organizational leadership and management from Regis University. He is a registered environmental health specialist through the National Environmental Health Association, and recently graduated from a year-long advanced leadership program through the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership.

Pat is the co-creator of the Advancing School Safety video and the School Emergency Reunification video. He is a recipient of the National Excellence Award from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, and is an all- around good guy!

In his copious amounts of free time Pat serves on the board of directors for Safe2Tell, snowboards at least 25 days a year and pedals 2000 miles a year.

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.

Executive Director
Security and Emergency Management
Jefferson County R1 School District

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.

Research Fellow University of Denver, 
Morgridge College of Education
Author, Reclaiming School 
in the Aftermath of Trauma
Vice President, Board of Directors, The "I Love U Guys" Foundation

Dr. Mears' 2012 anthology, Reclaiming School in the Aftermath of Trauma, won a prestigious Colorado Book of the Year Award, given by the Colorado affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress Center for the Book. An educator whose son survived the shootings at Columbine High School, Carolyn enrolled in the University of Denver to conduct dissertation research as a way to help others faced with tragedy. Her study, Experiences of Columbine Parents: Finding a Way to Tomorrow, was named 2005 AERA Qualitative Dissertation of the Year. Carolyn is a Founder of Sandy Hook-Columbine Cooperative, Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Alliance Member National Centre for Therapeutic Care, Fellow of the Planned Environment Therapy Trust, Board of Directors of the I Love You Guys Foundation [school safety], and adjunct faculty at the University of Denver. She has presented to audiences in the U.S., Europe, and Australia on trauma response and recovery, school safety, and leadership during crisis.


John Nicoletti received his doctorate in psychology from Colorado State University. Dr. Nicoletti is a Clinical/Police Psychologist who specializes in identifying, assessing and defusing attack related behaviors and violence in various workplaces, campuses and schools. In his other area of specialization, he provides on-site psychological screenings and consultations at the U.S. bases of McMurdo and the South Pole in Antarctica.

Dr. Nicoletti has written three books in the areas of violence, entitled Violence Goes to Work (1994); Violence Goes to College (2001), published by Charles C. Thomas; and Violence Goes to School (2002), National Education Services.

Dr. Nicoletti provides national training and consultation to various university campuses and school districts. He also consults nationally to various state and federal law enforcement agencies and private corporations. In addition, he is also called upon to conduct individual direct and indirect risk assessments for campuses and corporations. Dr. Nicoletti was on-scene at the April 20, 1999 Columbine school shooting and also responded to the Platte Canyon High School shooting in September 2006. He also provides training for parents of young children on stranger awareness and personal safety. Dr. Nicoletti is on the Colorado Governor's Task Force on Expert Emergency Response and is past Chair of the Police Psychologist Section for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Dr. Nicoletti also works with Lockheed Martin doing Risk Assessments. Most recently Nicoletti-Flater Associates have been specializing in assisting departments in training and supervising the new generation employees.

2:00 - AJ DeAndrea
Stacy Avila
John-Michael Keyes

Platte Canyon Debrief
Sgt. DeAndrea was a team lead for Jeffco Regional SWAT at Columbine as well as a team lead for the Platte Canyon shooting. Stacy Avila was the lead negotiator at the incident. They and Mr. Keyes present a riveting account of the day Mr. Keyes lost his daughter, Emily. The point-counterpoint of their actions on that day are only part of the story. The positive outcomes and protocols that are a result of this tragedy are impacting schools across the US and Canada.

6:00 - Reception - Open Bar
Refreshments and elbow rubbing. Get to know other professionals in the school safety space.

8:30 - Opening Ceremonies

8:45 - Frank DeAngelis
Principal, Columbine High School (Retired)
On Leadership in Crisis
The tragedy at Columbine redefined the nation. Frank tells his story from the events to the aftermath. 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. Last year, Frank retired after 37 years at Columbine High.

10:15 - Break

10:30 - Dr. David Benke
Teacher - Deer Creek Middle School (Retired)
From Dominoes to Action
Dr. Benke provides an inspirational look at his actions and decisions before and after the shooting at Deer Creek. This presentation ignites educators and other first responders to evaluate their roles in a crisis before the crisis happens.

12:00 - Lunch

1:00 - 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.

3:00 - Break

3:15 - John McDonald
Threat Assessment in Practice
McDonald outlines the real world implementation of threat assessment in the largest school district in Colorado.

8:15 - Columbine Memorial

9:00 - Columbine High School
James Englert

School Resource Officer, Arapahoe High School
The day we train for: A Debrief of the Arapahoe High School shooting 12/13/13
The day we train for... and things I didn't expect. In this session receive first-hand details of the shooting at Arapahoe High School in Centennial from the school resource officer (SRO) on scene. This session will provide audio from dispatch tapes during the event, tactics used during the event, a history of events occurring prior to 12/13/13, and how the reunification was conducted. Learn how the recovery process has been for staff, students, community, and the presenting officer.

10:45 - Break

11:00 - Kristina Anderson
Executive Director - Koshka Foundation
Lessons Learned from Virginia Tech
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 with and meeting others affected by irrational acts of aggression.

12:00 - Lunch

1:00 - Dr. Carolyn Mears
Research Fellow University of Denver, Morgridge College of Education
Trauma Truth
Learning lessons from community-wide tragedies and other life traumas: What is trauma, its effects, immediate and long-term responses, implications for schools, and what helps in the aftermath. An emphasis will be on how educators can help promote the resilience needed for recovery.

2:00 - Break

2:15 - Michele Gay
Beyond Readiness
Michele shares her personal perspective on the Sandy Hook School response and recovery efforts. Based on her own experiences, those of victims, survivors, first responders, community leaders, educators, families, and children in the Sandy Hook and Newtown community, Michele outlines the challenges, successes, and lessons learned in the aftermath of tragedy and loss in order to better prepare others to response and recover from emergencies, crisis, and disaster. She shares insights on emergency notification, communication, death notification, protection of victims and victims' families, mental health needs and services, media management, and financial considerations, as well as other issues surrounding the response and recovery efforts within Sandy Hook and Newtown.

9:00 - Martensen Elementary School
Moved back to Columbine.
Scott Parker

Reunification in Practice

9:45 - Break

10:00 - Pat Hamilton
Executive Director of Operations
Reunification Top to Bottom
One aspect in crisis response is accountable reunification of students with their parents or guardians after a crisis event. The Standard Reunification Method provides school and district safety teams solid, proven methods to plan, practice and achieve a successful reunification.

12:00 - Lunch

1:00 - Hands-on Lockdown Drill and Reunification Exercise

This is a unique opportunity to go hands-on with every aspect of a reunification. From Lockdown, to staging, to transport to reunification. You will assume a role for the exercise.

3:00 - Break

3:15 - John-Michael Keyes
SRP Certification
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 will earn participants The "I Love U Guys" Foundation Adjunct Trainer Certificate.

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. Mention "The Briefings" to get the discounted rate. or by booking on-line at After the dates are entered, "add special rate codes" should be selected and then the GROUP code 450 should be entered.

A complimentary shuttle will be available for transportation to and from Columbine High School.

  • 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 are only open to educators, administrators, school or higher education safety personnel, law enforcement or critical stakeholders. All applicants must be with, or endorsed by, a recognized school, district, institution of higher education, department or agency.
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The "I Love U Guys" Foundation
PO Box 1230
Bailey, CO 80421
303.426.3100 - Service. Leave a message for Elvira, and she'll get back with you.

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