Tera Simmons was nominated by an anonymous colleague.
Dr. Tera Simmons embodies the mission of the LifeChanger of the Year Program. She always keeps a spotlight on student safety. As Assistant Superintendent for Administration, Dr. Simmons has been tasked with directing, managing, and organizing district safety efforts. She does not view this role as a burden, however. She views this as a calling. Among her many duties, Dr. Simmons orchestrates Intruder Drills across all district campuses. She was instrumental in hiring her school system's first-ever Mental Health Specialist.
Dr. Simmons also collaborates with school administrators to ensure Threat Assessment protocols have been followed and reporting databases have been accurately maintained. She organized training on the Salem Keizer Threat Assessment, helped implement an app-based, one-button lockdown system, collaborated with area law enforcement agencies on a full-scale active shooter drill, and collaborated with the Hoover Fire Department on employee tourniquet training.
Dr. Simmons proactively arranges periodic, ongoing meetings with emergency management agency directors, city administrators, and law enforcement officials to gauge school system safety preparedness. Safety proves central to her district's educational mission. In fact, the word safe is the first adjective in the school system's mission statement. After all, if students are not safe - or do not feel safe - how can they learn?