Mike Johnson Named Director of School Safety for HSE Schools
Writer / Renee Larr
Photographer / Travis Hinkle
The safety of students is paramount at Hamilton Southeastern (HSE) Schools. In creating a safe learning environment, HSE school leaders recently appointed Mike Johnson as director of school safety. The school board recently decided to make the position a full-time role.
“Most recently, school safety fell under the director of staff and student services,” Johnson says. “When Ryan Taylor retired, the superintendent and the school board decided to create a full-time safety position. I had recently retired from Fishers Police Department, so the timing to apply was right for me.”
Johnson spent 29 years with Fishers Police Department in various roles. He spent 21 years working with the D.A.R.E. education program, gaining in-school experience in the process. He was embedded within the school system from the beginning of his law enforcement career.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the program,” Johnson says. “It was a great opportunity to work with kids of all ages. I also provided some conflict resolution with students and families. I also got to be a mentor for kids. I was fully immersed in the school culture in my life as a police officer.”
Johnson was also heavily involved with the Indiana School Resource Officers Association and Diamond Protection Training, where he was trained on best practices for school policing across different spectrums. While his current role does not directly involve supervising school resource officers, he works in conjunction with them.
“They have their own supervisor with the police department, but they have me as a liaison to anything school-related,” Johnson says. “We talk through a variety of issues as they come up. It might be something as minor as an elementary-aged student needs a positive role model, to something heavier such as how we can respond to students with suicidal ideations.”
Johnson is excited to be able to make the position his own by deciding what he wants to focus on in the upcoming years.
“This concept of school safety isn’t new, but having someone dedicated to it full time is,” Johnson says. “There are really great people at HSE Schools, and it’s just a blessing to take this role and make it my own.”
Johnson knows physical safety is important, but wants to focus on emotional safety as well. He also wants to expand upon the Parent Safety Academy to showcase what HSE school leaders do to protect students and staff. He would also like to work on transparency efforts through social media.
“I want to look at the things we do well and expand upon those, and look at the areas where we may see some gaps so we can improve on those,” Johnson says. “The beauty of this now being a full-time position is that I won’t be pulled away due to other responsibilities or duties.”
Johnson is also a trainer with the National Association of School Resource Officers, teaching their adolescent mental-health class and school resource officer course.
For more information, visit hseschools.org.