The Bulloch County Board of Education has hired Todd Mashburn, a certified law enforcement officer and FBI National Academy program graduate with 25 years policing experience, in the new role of director of school safety.
Board members unanimously approved the hire as a part of a list of personnel actions at the end of Thursday evening's regular meeting. Superintendent of Schools Charles Wilson recommended Mashburn for the job after input and review from more than one committee. Starting this new job Oct. 1, Mashburn is leaving the Bulloch County Sheriff's Office, where he has served since 1998.
"Todd knows this community, he's been here a while, he's deeply invested in this community, he loves this community, but the skillset that Todd brings to the table is tremendous," Wilson said in a phone interview Friday.
Mashburn served with the Statesboro Police Department from 1994 to 1998. Then in two decades with the Sheriff's Office he rose to the rank of captain and recently led the BCSO's Training Division. In fact, Mashburn already did school safety assessments while with the sheriff's department and had led "Run. Hide. Fight," active-shooter response training for Bulloch County Schools employees.
As school safety director for the 15-campus system, he is expected to oversee emergency and crisis planning and ensure that employees and students are trained in safety procedures.
"This is a lot of what he did when working with the sheriff's department," Wilson said. "He knows our schools, he's very familiar with the dangers our schools face and he's very familiar with a lot of the challenges."
Mashburn is expected to maintain his law enforcement credentials while working for the school system. The safety director will have arrest and emergency intervention authority in case these are needed, according to Wilson, who said he is working through details with Mashburn and the school system's attorneys.
But the intent of the Bulloch County Schools safety director position is not to have the director function like one of the school resource officers, or SROs, who are provided by the Sheriff's Office and Statesboro Police Department and assigned to specific schools, Wilson added.
"This is an administrative position in which he is maintaining those credentials," the superintendent said. "He might be at a school if the situation occurs, but this position is not going to be expected to be the point of response for a school incident. We are still going to continue to work with our law enforcement agencies to have SROs from those agencies in our schools and to work with them as the initial response."
However, Mashburn will "have those powers" to "be able to assist and, if necessary, intervene," Wilson said.
The school safety director reports directly to the superintendent, and the position has a starting salary of $75,000.
Wilson traced the creation of the safety director job to a series of community listening sessions on school safety he held at several schools in February and March. These followed the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and other school shootings across the country.
Board of Education members were provided transcripts of comments he received from parents and other community members. Then in April, District 3 Board of Education member Stuart Tedders, Ph.D., presented a set of suggestions that included hiring a safety coordinator or director.
Later, other board members spoke in favor of hiring a director with law enforcement experience as one immediate step toward bolstering safety. The board also discussed increasing the number of school resource officers to have at least one at each school. But this would be a far more expensive proposition, and school system officials continue to discuss options with law enforcement agencies and the county government.
Earlier this summer, Wilson asked Tedders and board Chairman Mike Sparks to join him as an ad hoc committee to develop the safety director idea. They drew up the job description, which was posted in July, and the school system received 13 applications.
Three finalists were asked to participate in interviews with two separate committees, made up of teachers and school administrators, states a news release provided Friday by Hayley Greene, Bulloch County Schools public relations and marketing director.
"I am honored and privileged to continue my service to the citizens of Bulloch County," Mashburn said in the news release. "I am excited and ready to embrace the challenges of ensuring our schools, the people who work in them and our children are protected."
His experience implementing on-site safety and security training is "a key skill the school district was seeking to support principals and bus supervisors," Greene wrote.
The release states that Mashburn brings more than 20 certifications, including state and national certifications in emergency and crisis response and instructor-level certifications, to the new job. A graduate of the Georgia Police Academy, Mashburn attained a bachelor's degree in justice studies at Georgia Southern University. He was nominated to the FBI's National Academy and graduated from its Session 242. The FBI also chose him to attend its Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training, or ALERRT, where he became an active-shooter defense instructor for his team.
"I promise to do my best to help make our schools a model for school safety," Mashburn said in the school system's news release.
Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.