New Security Head Named for Schools

Special to the Independent

While it may be summer, the local schools have many programs going on for Everett students.  At the School Committee meeting held on July 18, Superintendent Priya Tahiliani outlined some of the many programs taking place. Tahiliani noted that the enrichment program is running at full capacity with 860 local students in grades K-8 taking advantage of the courses. The program runs from 8 AM to 12 PM every weekday and includes lunch.

Alpha Best is also running classes for students in grades K-8 and the program runs until August 19.  Parents can choose a full day of classes or a half-day.

Students are also reminded that there are summer reading book lists available on the school web page.

Tahiliani also noted that Pre-K registration will take place on August 23-24 for prospective students, and the Back to School Bash event will be held on August 29.


— During the Public Comment part of the meeting, several members from the Custodial Union  spoke about the ongoing contract negotiations.  It was brought out that the custodians have been without a contract for more than a year and that the high inflation rate is  affecting their ability to pay their bills. While they received a pay increase of one percent in 2020, the inflation in 2022 is running about seven percent – effectively putting them at a pay decrease.

— In a separate matter, several speakers took to the floor to show their support for the request to extend Supt. Tahiliani’s contract.  The committee had turned down the request at its June meeting.

— Tahiliani announced the hiring of the district’s first-ever Director of Security. Lauren O’Connor, an Everett High graduate and Everett resident, will oversee safety and security policies, procedures, and training for all Everett public school students and personnel. O’Connor will be based out of Everett High School and will direct district-wide security operations.

“Mrs. O’Connor emerged from a strong group of candidates, as we completed an exhaustive process aimed at finding the best person to fill this new and critical position,” said Tahiliani. “Her knowledge of daily operations, emergency preparedness, security, technology, as well as her interpersonal skills, make her a natural fit for our district.”

O’Connor has worked at Encore Boston Harbor since December of 2018, serving as Assistant Director of Security Administration and Emergency Management and as the Security Control Center Manager for the resort casino’s Opening Team. Prior to joining Encore, she was a Public Safety Manager for Event Operations for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA). During her career, O’Connor has developed expertise in high-level, wide-ranging areas of security, emergency planning, communication, and management.

A 2004 graduate of Everett High, O’Connor earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in criminal justice from UMass-Boston, where she was a standout member and captain of the softball and ice hockey teams.

During her time with the MCCA, she was honored with an Excellence in Service Award and a Public Safety Sustained Superior Performer Award. She holds several professional and training certifications, including:

• ALICE Basic Certification Training for Schools

• Trained Crowd Manager

• FEMA Incident Command System (ICS) 100

• FEMA Incident Command System (ICS) 200

• Certified First Responder

• Trained on “Stop the Bleed” by Brigham & Women’s Hospital

• Certified in Public Safety Telecommunications Best Practices for Missing and Abducted Children through AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program.

• Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Class A, License to Carry a Firearm

“Ms. O’Connor’s track record speaks for itself, and she received a glowing recommendation from our search committee,” said Tahiliani. “I am very excited to see her interact with our students and staff to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep each other safe.”

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