I was born in England and moved to the US (South Carolina) when I was 12. My parents both came from humble beginnings and worked tremendously hard to put food on the table and ensure I had access to quality education. In my early years, I loved doing outdoor sports. I played football and basketball, enjoyed live music and had aspirations of joining the military, attending college and serving others. At an early age, I quickly realized I wanted to live a service life and was drawn to joining the armed forces. I wanted to serve my country, protect others and maybe lead the best in the world.
In 2000 I joined the US Marines. I was stationed in Southern California and was a proud 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines member. We did two deployments while I was there. The first was aboard Navy ships through the Pacific, Asia and the Middle East; we trained with foreign countries and worked with the United Nations to provide humanitarian support in East Timor. The humanitarian work was my favorite as we helped fix schools, provided medical care and were able to provide various resources to the kids.
Our second deployment was supposed to be similar but quickly turned into Operation Iraqi Freedom. This was a very different deployment than my first. We were in harm’s way often, and things got tough. I was a team leader at the time, and I was responsible for four Marines. This is where I started learning and understanding what leadership means. It was also where I saw how critical a good security plan can be. Threats in modern combat come from every direction and no one thing can be relied upon. Security must be well planned, multifaceted, adaptable, scalable, and nimble.
The years following September 11th 2001, were life-changing for those that served in the armed forces. My cousin was killed in Afghanistan, six friends were killed in Iraq during the early years, and many more were wounded. During that time, we all had to step up and do what was asked of us. Those were defining times for me, and I quickly learned about sacrifice and servant leadership.
As my 4 years in the Marines ended, I decided to head home and start a new life, but I wanted to serve my community. So I embarked on becoming a Firefighter/EMT. First, I had to attend EMT class for half a year and then attend the fire academy, where I graduated top of my class. Becoming a firefighter was a fantastic experience for me.
I loved the people, and I loved being able to help those in my community. It was a tremendous experience, and it was at this time I became a father to my beautiful daughter Addison. She came into the world early and was a “25-weeker” and had to stay in the NICU for 3 months before she could come home. She was a miracle baby, and it was a blessing she survived. Having a daughter changed everything for me. Now protecting my daughter was my number one priority. My firefighter work provided me with incredible experiences in emergency response, from traditional day-to-day events to hazmat spills, mass casualty incidents and natural disasters. Around this time, I finished college and earned my bachelor degree.
My time as a first responder was crucial in better understanding the functionality of local government resources and how they are best used with the local populace, especially when it came to mitigating risk and emergency response.
In addition, I attended Army Officer Candidate School and became an officer in the US Army Reserve. Being in the reserves provided me with continued leadership opportunities as a platoon leader as well as company commander, and we were able to support multiple disaster responses in South Carolina and Louisiana.
In 2012 I shifted careers and concentrated my military and leadership experience on the security industry. I worked in the private sector in Texas before moving to Colorado. Here in Colorado, I have led and started several security firms while continuing to serve as a Civil Affairs Officer at Ft Carson, Colorado. At one point, I led about 400 armed security guards across 5 states. We provided security for everything, including events, high threat, retail, executive protection, medical facilities, and industrial.
We also provided security at schools in Colorado and California. This was an essential experience as I saw how critical a good security plan with professionally trained personnel can positively impact the safety of students and staff. In the past year, I have been doing security consulting and working on various humanitarian-related projects in the Pacific region with the US Army and US Navy, including a recent trip to Vietnam, where we worked with local leaders to explore disaster relief initiatives.
Through these experiences I have been able to utilize respect, competence, teamwork and diplomacy to assist in real world activities that improve quality of life for citizens.
Last year I completed my Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of Colorado Boulder (SkoBuffs). My daughter Addison recently graduated from McAuliffe International School and will attend Northfield High School next fall. My long-time girlfriend Kristin is a school counsellor. Her eldest son graduated from East High School, and her younger son is a rising senior at East High School. We live in North East Denver and love to ski, attend sporting events, and go to concerts, and we love being a part of the community we find ourselves in. We are proud DPS parents.
I have paid close attention to our school board and district leadership over the past few years. I remember the decision made by the board in 2020 to end the relationship with the Denver Police Departments School Resource Officers. It was one of the worst decisions I’ve heard of from an educational safety perspective as the removal came with no risk assessment, let alone a comprehensive safety plan. My girlfriend’s son has been on campus for all three most recent shootings at East High School and I am horrified that no action has been taken.
Our leaders don’t have a plan and can’t see past their pettiness to protect our nearly 90,000 students and 15,000 educators. After the most recent shooting at East High School, I decided to get more involved with school safety in the DPS district. I joined P-SAG (Parent Safety Advocacy Group), which has done a phenomenal research job, connecting with experts, involving various stakeholders, developing policies based on best practices and plain old common sense, and then demanding action. This group has shown me that we, as parents, must fight for our kids and educators. During my time with PSAG, I quickly realized that I wanted to positively impact our kids’ education as possible, this is why I decided to run for Director at Large on DPS’s Board of Education. The support and encouragement from the community for me to run have been overwhelming, and I am proud to represent ALL Denverites that want the best for our children. I want to help lead that positive change.
It is with this conviction I announce my campaign to earn your vote to serve as your next DPS At-Large School Board Director.