From PE Teacher to Security Director: How a Private Jesuit School Safety Leader Maintains Connections

A security director who has worked at Regis Jesuit High School for 22 years shares how her previous jobs at the school have helped her establish strong relationships that improve campus safety.
Published: July 1, 2024

Twenty-two years ago, Kelli Lotito was hired as a physical education teacher at Regis Jesuit High School in Colorado. Lotito worked her way up the ranks, becoming the athletic director before transitioning into the role of dean of students for 15 years. Lotito just finished her fourth year as the school’s safety and security director and has used her past job experiences to garner buy-in from various school stakeholders whom she has formed strong relationships with over her illustrious career (1:31).

“It’s important, as everybody watching this knows, to have buy-in from your constituents. Teachers and administrators are not always the only people that are on your campus,” said Lotito, a 2024 Campus Safety Director of the Year finalist. “I partner with our certified athletic trainers. They’re here after hours, sometimes early mornings. Let’s all work together on talking about what’s concerning, what’s not concerning. Not just somebody coming on our campus that’s not our own, but let’s talk about weather safety and how do we notify our teams on our various fields. We’re 87 spread out acres. How can we get everybody in quickly and keep everybody safe?”

Coming from a sports medicine background, Lotito has also made connections with the school nurses.

“We’re very lucky to have two nurses on campus, full-time. That’s almost unheard of for schools in today’s world,” she said. “We talk a lot about medical safety and how can we work together, especially getting EMS on campus and making sure they know where they’re going. We have five different buildings, multiple sports fields, and we have three different entrances. So partnering with our nurses is key.”


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Regis Jesuit High School Security Director Nurtures Relationships with Students, Parents

As the former dean of students, Lotito is particularly motivated to maintain strong and trusted relationships with students. She meets with freshman during their health classes throughout the school year to teach them about the school’s safety procedures, including its anonymous reporting program.

“I really put a plea out to them and say, ‘I need your help. I need all your eyes and ears. I need you to let us know if something doesn’t feel right, if something just is slightly off and no amount of concern is too big, too small to report,'” said Lotito. “I really need to rely on our kids, our students. We have them for four years. If I start early as they come on campus as freshmen, by the time they leave, then they are really partners with me.”

Getting in front of parents is also a priority for Lotito, whether through formal parent group meetings or casual conversations in the parking lot.

“We have parents that sit in the parking lot waiting to pick up their kiddos. We’re a private school, so not all of our kids are neighborhood kids. Some come from distances of 20, 30 miles away,” she said. “So some parents bring them to school, drop them off for a camp, and don’t go home because they have to turn right back around to come back. They are eyes and ears in the parking lot for us too, so parents are key.”

Not many people can say they have been with the same school for over two decades, and it’s safe to say that Lotito’s continued efforts to form relationships with various campus community members have played a significant role in both her happiness and success.

“I work with some pretty great people. The longest I had been somewhere was seven years. I didn’t plan on it, but it’s not just a job, it’s a community. It’s a family,” she said endearingly. “I have to trust where my daughter’s going to school, she’s being cared for, but when we have other kids here, they’re ours. They’re our kids.”

During this discussion, Lotito also shared:

  • The role of the school’s security specialists (5:51)
  • How the district partners with local law enforcement agencies (12:26)

Watch the full interview here or listen to the podcast on the go on Apple or Spotify.


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