The Director of the Year winners were announced at the 2023 Campus Safety Conference West in Henderson, Nevada.

The 2023 Campus Safety Director of the Year winners and finalists were honored today at the Campus Safety Conference (CSC), held at The M Report Spa Casino in Henderson, Nevada.

K-12 Director of the Year Mike Newton

Co-winners of the K-12/school district division are Mike Newton, director of safety and security for the Elizabeth School District in Elizabeth, Colorado, and Danielle Stevens, safety manager for the Lake Zurich Community Unit School District 95 in Lake Zurich, Illinois. Stevens is the first female to receive the award for the K-12 sector.

Coming out on top in the higher education/hospital division is Jason Schiffer, assistant vice president of campus safety and chief of police at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

During the awards ceremony, Campus Safety Editor-in-Chief Robin Hattersley commented how although campuses, for the most part, did not have to deal with COVID-19 lockdowns this year, they were dealing with its aftermath, which was as challenging or even more challenging than dealing with the pandemic itself.

K-12 Director of the Year Danielle Stevens

“Child and young adult mental health problems continue to challenge our schools, institutions of higher education and healthcare facilities, as does workplace violence, guns on campus, student learning loss, and disgruntled parents and other community members acting out,” she said. “But, despite all of these challenges, there were a lot accomplishments in campus public safety, security, and emergency management over the past year, and our DOY program participants exemplify that progress.”

For example, Schiffer reversed mandatory arrest policies for alcohol violations, reducing arrests by 90% with no statistically significant increase in crimes or alcohol-related medical incidents. Newton applied for and was awarded $730,000 in school safety grants, and in just three years, Stevens implemented 90% of an outside security assessment’s recommendations for school safety and security improvements.

Year after year, the achievements of the Director of the Year finalists become more impressive and extensive, creating the near-impossible task of selecting winners. We would like to recognize and thank the judges who reviewed dozens of pages of nomination materials. This year’s judges were:

Higher Education Director of the Year Jason Schiffer

  • Guy Bliesner, School Safety Analyst, Idaho Office of School Safety & Security

  • S. Daniel Carter, President, Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses LLC

  • Daniel Dusseau, Owner, Dusseau Solutions LLC

  • Dr. Amanda Guthorn, Associate, Margolis Healy; Interim Director of Security, Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation

  • Amy Rock, Executive Editor, Campus Safety

  • Gary L. Sigrist, Jr., CEO & President, Safeguard Risk Solutions

  • Jason Stoddard, Director of School Safety & Security, Charles County Public Schools

  • Lisa Terry, CHPA, CPP, Chief Development Officer, Vistelar Conflict Management; Author

Do you know someone who would be a fantastic candidate for this award program? CS will begin accepting nominations for next year’s program this fall, so keep an eye out!

Congratulations again to our winners, finalists, and their departments!