School Boards Association Convention Will Explore Challenging School Safety Issues

Former Newtown Superintendent will discuss communication challenges during Sandy Hook School Shooting

FOR RELEASE: October 22, 2018



CONTACT: David Albert
(518) 783-3716 or (518) 320-2221 cell



Two professional seminars examining communications and legal challenges surrounding school safety will set the stage on Thursday, Oct. 25, for the New York State School Boards Association’s 99th Annual Convention and Education Expo in New York City.

Dr. Janet M. Robinson, superintendent of the Newtown Public School District at the time of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012, will be among the featured speakers during NYSSBA’s Pre-Convention Communications Workshop, "Communicating Under Pressure," at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Robinson, now the superintendent of schools in Stratford, Conn., will share her insights on leading when the unthinkable happens in a school. Also during the first portion of the communications workshop, two social media professionals will explore the fast-paced communications environment surrounding any school crisis in an age of live video streams and near-instant capability for sharing photos and updates.

A tabletop crisis drill for school board members and administrators will be led by Courtney Spritzer of Socialfly, a social media marketing agency, and Molly Stark Dean, senior social media and audience development manager with CoinDesk, a news site specializing in coverage of Bitcoin and digital currencies.

The second half of the workshop will focus on keeping cool at board meetings when the public comment periods turn hot. The experts offering strategies for managing emotions and maintaining decorum will be David Register, co-director of the Bard Debate Union at Bard College, and Dr. Peter Faustino, a psychologist with the Scarsdale Union Free School District.

The communications workshop will take place from 1 to 4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Midtown. More details are available here:

A panel of legal, law enforcement and academic experts will kick off NYSSBA’s 22nd annual Pre-Convention Law Seminar at the Sheraton New York Times Square with a school safety panel discussion subtitled "A World Turned Upside Down."

The discussion will touch on a wide range of safety-related decisions and choices that face school leaders including prevention, response, community engagement and collaboration with law enforcement.

The school safety panel will feature Alison B. Bianchi, counsel and deputy commissioner for legal affairs at the New York State Education Department; Bryan Vossekuil, a retired U.S. Secret Service special agent and president of The Metis Group, a consulting group that provides services including threat assessment; Southhampton Police Chief Steven E. Skrynecki; and Elise Cappella, an associate professor of applied psychology at New York University.

The full-day School Law Seminar, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., is co-sponsored by the New York State Association of School Attorneys and will also feature sessions focused on issues surrounding political discourse in public schools, sexual harassment of school staff, and recent developments in legislation and education case law.

More details on the School Law Seminar are available here:



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