John McDonald is the Executive Director for the Jeffco Public Schools Department of School Safety and is recognized internationally as the architect of the Columbine High School post tragedy security and emergency management plan. Jeffco schools is a district of 86,000 students and 14, 000 employees at the foot of the Rockies in Colorado.
Over the course of his career, John has conducted hundreds of threat assessments on individuals engaged in proactive and reactive attack behavior. His work with K-12, Higher Education, Faith based groups and Fortune 100 companies has been well documented internationally.
John has been recognized by the US Department of Education as a subject matter expert on active shooter preparedness, emergency plan development and school/law enforcement collaboration. Following the Sandy Hook tragedy, John was invited to the White House to speak about creating the model active shooter preparedness, response and recovery program in K-12 schools.
During his time with Jeffco Schools, John has led the District’s crisis response to several tragedies including the 2010 Deer Creek Middle School shooting for which he was recognized as the Security Director of the Year for his leadership and actions, the 2012 kidnapping and murder of 10 year old Jessica Ridgeway while on her way to school and the 2014 tragedy when a high school student intentionally set himself on fire in front of more than 200 classmates.
In addition to responding to critical events in his own school district, John has supported many other school districts around the country including the 2013 Arapahoe High School shooting, the Scream Bandit bank robber shooting at Sheridan High School in 2015 and the 2018 school shooting tragedy in Parkland Florida. Most recently John was in Santa Fe, Texas working with responders, mental health and education communities supporting preparations for the 1st year remembrance of the Santa Fe High School tragedy.
In 2015, John was recognized by CBS News as a Community Game Changer for his work on the front lines, protecting kids and in 2018, Showtime highlighted John’s work during the documentary series Active Shooter, America under Fire. Most recently, John was featured in the FBI’s documentary “Echoes of Columbine” to and the Washington POST in April of 2019. John is often requested by local and national media and is a nationally recognized presenter.