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    2021 Conference: Michele Gay and Lee-Nadine Oppenheim Present “Especially Safe: An Inclusive Approach to Safety Preparedness in Educational Settings”

    Michele Gay and Lee Openheim outside in the verdant valleys of Maryland take a break to look at the camera.

    Many will want to attend this snapshot presentation of the newly-released safety planning and training program for individuals with Access and Functional Needs. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the program and sign up to pilot it in their school or district.

    Lee-Nadine Oppenheim is the Director of Finance and Operations for the Ivymount School, a nonpublic special education school in Maryland, Ivymount Outreach Programs and the Maddux School.  She has been at Ivymount for 24 years during which time she has overseen $9 million worth of renovations and safety and security improvements for the organizations. In addition to capital and financial projects, she supervises facilities, safety and security, and serves as the Incident Commander and trainer for Emergency Preparedness for Ivymount. Lee’s passion for Emergency Preparedness began with the Washington DC snipers in 2002, when formalized plans needed to be created to protect the students and staff and was further enhanced in 2015 when Ivymount experienced a bomb threat and updated plans and training needed to be implemented.

    Prior to her work at Ivymount, Lee was the Business Administrator and Registrar at Hebrew Day Institute and Vice President at Beacon Seminars and Publishing Company. She is a graduate of Boston University with a BA/BS in Marketing, Finance and Computer Science.  Lee also holds a Certification in Non-profit Leadership as well as currently completing a Certification in Fundraising Strategy and Operations.

    Lee has undertaken a multi-year effort to improve school safety and security for Maryland Special Education schools and sites with the Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF) through advocacy, capital improvements, and training. Lee’s outreach with MANSEF to state legislators has resulted in the inclusion of nonpublic special education schools in safety legislation – Senate Bill 318. She’s also helped secure representation on the Maryland State School Safety Advisory Board, creation of grant opportunities, and allocation of designated funding for safety initiatives. 

    Michele Gay, M.Ed., is Founder and Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools. A mother and educator, Michele chose to take action after losing her daughter Josephine Grace on December 14, 2012 in the Sandy Hook School tragedy. Since that time, Michele has channeled her love of Josephine through her work as an advocate for improving safety and security in schools and communities across our country.

    With a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Towson State University, Michele earned a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from McDaniel College. Prior to the Sandy Hook tragedy, she taught at the elementary level in the Maryland and Virginia public schools.

    Now a nationally and internationally recognized public speaker and school safety advocate, Michele reaches diverse audiences with her powerful message of hope as she continues her mission to keep every child safe and sound. Her unwavering commitment to this important work has garnered her the respect and admiration of stakeholders around the world.  She regularly serves as a consultant to all levels of community institutions including schools, municipalities, houses of worship, educational and public safety leadership, state and federal governments, law enforcement agencies and top news media sources. The recipient of numerous national awards, Michele is a regular contributor to print, radio, and television outlets. As an author and co-author of Safe and Sound’s programs and materials, Michele is recognized as a visionary thought leader in the national policy discussions shaping school safety across the country.  

    At her core is a strongly held belief in the power communities possess when working together to keep our kids safe.  To that end, Michele works diligently to unite stakeholders of all disciplines and perspectives to take a comprehensive, sustainable and proactive approach to prepare, prevent, respond and recover from tragedy.

    As an educator, mother, and survivor of tragedy herself, Michele is uniquely positioned to help others. She has dedicated her life to honoring Josephine’s memory by ensuring that every school, every child, and every community is truly safe and sound.

    Education Administrators, Teachers, School Psychologists/Guidance Counselors, School Resource Officers (SROs), Law Enforcement, Local/State Emergency Managers, Fusion Center Analysts, Crisis Intervention Units, Counselors & Mental Health Specialists, School Social Workers, School Safety Professionals, and other school safety stakeholders interested in attending this presentation should register for the July 2021 MCSS School Safety Summer Conference at

    Post in Category: Conference - Annual Summer MCSS