Lotito, Stump-Kurnick Win 2024 Campus Safety Director of the Year Awards

The 2024 Directors of the Year were announced at the Campus Safety Conference held in Atlanta Wednesday.
Published: July 10, 2024
Director of the Year

For full coverage of this year’s and previous year’s the Director of the Year winners and finalists, click here.

The 2024 Campus Safety Director of the Year awards winners and finalists were honored Wednesday morning at the Campus Safety Conference, held at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at Centennial Park in Atlanta, Ga.

The winner of the K-12/school category is Kelli Lotito, safety director at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo., and the higher education/healthcare award recipient is Linda Stump-Kurnickassistant vice president and chief of police at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. Aaron Skrbin, director of safety and security at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit in Homestead, Pennsylvania received the honorable mention designation.

“Once again, the improvements implemented by this year’s Director of the Year nominees were phenomenal,” said Campus Safety Editor-in-Chief Robin Hattersley, as she kicked off the celebration by highlighting some of the notable achievements of this year’s awards program nominees. For example, one finalist was able to have his school district officially designated as “storm ready.” Another finalist developed a diversity, equity, and inclusion task force on campus.

This year’s winners, however, had that extra special something that put them over the top.

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Related Article: Announcing the 2024 Campus Safety Director of the Year Higher Education and Healthcare Finalists

Director of the Year Program Honors Campuses of All Sizes

Although directors/chiefs at larger public schools, colleges, and districts with greater access to resources often have an advantage over their counterparts at smaller, private organizations with more limited budgets, being from a small campus actually helped Lotito win in the K-12 Director of the Year category this year. Some of the judges were particularly impressed by her accomplishments despite her being from a school with less than 2,000 students, faculty, and staff members.

For example, Lotito was able to partner with the school’s technology director to bolster cybersecurity, expand the school’s security camera system, and upgrade the campus visitor management, emergency notification, and door-locking systems. Additionally, Lotito worked with parents to obtain funding for body armor for her security specialists. She also implemented a pre-employment screening program for all armed officers.

Related Article: Announcing the 2024 Campus Safety Director of the Year K-12 Finalists

Of course, being responsible for public safety at a large institution of higher education has its challenges too, albeit different ones than smaller campuses. And with more than 34,000 students to protect at the University of Florida, Stump-Kurnick’s achievements were no less notable.

She launched a robust employee wellness program. Additionally, Stump-Kurnick hired two in-house mental health clinicians to ride with officers responding to mental health calls. Doing so resulted in diverted hospitalizations for 48% of calls through establishing safety plans and securing alternative resources where involuntary hospitalization was considered. On top of all that, her department was recognized by the Florida Crime Prevention Association as the 2023 Crime Prevention Unit of the Year (small agency).

“Not too shabby!” said Hattersley during the ceremony.

Campus Safety thanks the judges who reviewed dozens of pages of nomination materials. This year’s judges were:

  • Guy Bliesner, School Safety Analyst, Idaho Office of School Safety & Security
  • Daniel Carter, President, Safety Advisors for Educational Campuses LLC
  • Daniel Dusseau, Owner, Dusseau Solutions LLC
  • Amanda Guthorn, Associate, Margolis Healy; Interim Director of Security, Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation
  • 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

Congratulations to the Campus Safety Director of the Year winners, finalists, and their departments!

Do you know someone who would be a fantastic candidate for this awards program? If so, CS will begin accepting nominations for next year’s program in the fall. Sign up for CS’  newsletters to be notified when the 2025 Director of the Year nomination portal opens.

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Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series
Strategy & Planning Series