Principal Recovery Network

Founded in April 2019, the NASSP Principal Recovery Network (PRN) is a national network of current and former school leaders who have experienced gun violence tragedies in their buildings. Together, the PRN seeks to assist principals in the immediate aftermath of a crisis and well beyond. PRN members reach out directly to their colleagues to provide much-needed support, share the combined wisdom of their experience with the larger principal community through various outlets, assist schools during recovery, and advocate for national school safety enhancements and violence prevention programs.

Members

Michael Bennett

Michael Bennett*
former assistant principal
Columbia High School
East Greenbush, NY

At 10:35 a.m. on February 10, 2004, the first shot rang out at Columbia High School, just north of Albany, NY. A few seconds later, the second shot rang out. At this time, not knowing what was happening, I left my special education classroom and the students with another teacher and a couple of teaching assistants. Upon entering the hallway, our assistant principal also stepped out of a classroom. We cleared the hallway of a couple of students and followed the noise. As we were turning the corner of the hallway, we saw the shooter. The AP, being a few yards in front of me, approached him from behind. As the student spun around and saw us, he raised his shotgun and fired off a shot that struck me. A 16-year-old student was arrested for the shooting and charged on multiple counts. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Elizabeth Brown

Elizabeth Brown*
principal
Forest High School
Ocala, FL

On April 20, 2018, a 19-year-old that had been expelled entered Forest High School in Marion County, FL carrying a guitar case concealing a sawed-off shotgun. He shot through a door into a classroom, wounding one student. The gun then jammed and a teacher brought him into a classroom until the SRO arrived within minutes to apprehend him.

Frank DeAngelis

Frank DeAngelis*
former principal
Columbine High School
Columbine, CO

On April 20, 1999, two students placed two propane tanks in the cafeteria set to explode at 11:20 a.m. during our A lunch period; there were over 400 people in the cafeteria. The two killers were going to wait outside and kill survivors when they exited the building. The bombs did not explode. The two killers entered the building, killing 12 students and a teacher; 24 others were injured. They took their own lives before the SWAT team entered the building.

Lauren Ford

Lauren Ford*
former principal
Procter R. Hug High School
Reno, NV

I was in the lunch room with my campus officer on December 7, 2016, when the call over the radio. The police officer who worked in my school responded while I cleared the lunchroom. When I exited the lunchroom and the door shut and locked behind me, I heard the shot. The area of students in front of me opened and I saw my officer with his gun in his hand and a student on the ground. The student, who had been wielding two knives, recovered from the gunshot wound but suffered a stroke in the hospital.

Andy Fetchik

Andy Fetchik*
former principal
Chardon High School
Chardon, OH

On Monday, February 27, 2012, at approximately 7:37 a.m., a student opened fire in the cafeteria of Chardon High School and took the lives of three students and wounded three others. The shooter ran out of the building and was followed by Frank Hall, football coach and study hall monitor, before Frank tended to the wounded. The shooter ran from the building and soon surrendered to a good Samaritan who pulled over when she saw him walking. He was then apprehended by local law enforcement and is currently serving over three life sentences. For the school’s recovery efforts, Chardon High School and its leadership team received the Governor John Kasich Award for Courage.

Denise Fredericks

Denise Fredericks*
principal
Townville Elementary School
Townville, SC

On September 28, 2016, an individual entered the campus of Townville Elementary during the recess period for first graders by driving a truck onto the playground. He opened fire on the playground while one class of first graders was playing and the other class was exiting their class to join them. A teacher and three students were shot. One first grader died days later.

Kathleen Gombos

Kathleen Gombos
principal
Sandy Hook Elementary School
Sandy Hook, CT

Patricia Greer

Patricia Greer*
principal
Marshall County High School
Marshall County, KY

On Tuesday, January 23, 2018, a student opened fire in the commons area of Marshall County High School in rural Benton, KY, injuring 14 and killing 2 students. The shooting lasted less than 1 minute. The event happened as the students were waiting for the bell to ring to attend their first class. The campus was then searched, and students were moved to an alternate location for reunification later in the day. MCHS was closed Wednesday and Thursday before welcoming students and guardians on Friday morning.

Warman Hall

Warman Hall*
principal
Aztec High School
Aztec, NM

On December 7, 2017, a former student opened fire in two of our hallways and a classroom at Aztec High School in northern New Mexico just as school was beginning. The violence that day resulted in a districtwide lockdown, the evacuation of our high school and the death of two of our students. After the shooting, our school community came together on March 14 to collaboratively plan a student-led Walk-Up ceremony on campus. Our student council wanted to advocate for more commitment from their peers to get involved in making a positive change in their school and community. This collaborative act encouraged nearly our entire student body and staff to come together at the flag pole for mutual support in committing to a list of 21 positive personal actions. Students filled out pledge cards highlighting commitments ranging from acts of kindness to informed voting in the next election. These pledge cards were then displayed in honor of our two student victims.

Jake Heibel

Jake Heibel*
principal
Great Mills High School
Great Mills, MD

On the morning of March 20, 2018, a male student walked into the building and down the hall to his former girlfriend and shot her once to the back of the head. The bullet exited the female student, injuring another student in the leg. The shooter then proceeded down the hall with the gun to his head while staff members tried to convince him to drop the gun. The young man turned the corner and down the hallway before he was confronted by our SRO who advised him to put down his weapon. The young man simultaneously shot himself in the head while the SRO shot the gun out of his hand. He died on site while the female student was on life support for two days before passing away.

Matthew Hicks

Matthew Hicks
former assistant principal
Noblesville West Middle School
Noblesville, IN

Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson*
principal
West Liberty-Salem High School
West Liberty, OH

On January 20, 2017, a junior at West Liberty-Salem entered school with a disassembled shotgun and a large amount of ammunition. He locked himself in a restroom stall to assemble the weapon and prepare himself for the shooting, when another student entered the restroom and was shot twice at close range. A teacher entered the restroom, saw Logan on the floor, and fled across the hall. As he closed the door to his classroom, two shots were fired into his classroom door and one shot was fired into the adjacent classroom door. AP Andy McGill and I entered the restroom to hear the injured student saying, “You don’t have to do this, you haven’t killed anybody.” Upon seeing Andy, who had coached the shooter in football and wrestling, the shooter said, “Sorry, coach,” and slid the gun under the stall partition. The injured student made a full recovery. The shooter was sentenced to over 23 years in prison. That sentence is currently being appealed.

Andy McGill

Andy McGill*
assistant principal
West Liberty-Salem High School
West Liberty, OH

On January 20, 2017, a junior at West Liberty-Salem entered school with a disassembled shotgun and a large amount of ammunition. He locked himself in a restroom stall to assemble the weapon and prepare himself for the shooting, when another student entered the restroom and was shot twice at close range. A teacher entered the restroom, saw Logan on the floor, and fled across the hall. As he closed the door to his classroom, two shots were fired into his classroom door and one shot was fired into the adjacent classroom door. Principal Greg Johnson and I entered the restroom to hear the injured student saying, “You don’t have to do this, you haven’t killed anybody.” Upon seeing me, the shooter who I had coached in football and wrestling said, “Sorry, coach,” and slid the gun under the stall partition. The injured student made a full recovery. The shooter was sentenced to over 23 years in prison. That sentence is currently being appealed.

Kevin Lein

Kevin Lein*
former principal
Harrisburg High School
Harrisburg, SD

On the morning of September 30, 2015, a troubled new student entered the principal’s office at Harrisburg High School armed with a handgun and fired a shot at my head. Fortunately, the bullet struck only my arm and chest. I went on the PA to inform students of what occurred, ensure them of their safety, and express my care for them before medical personnel escorted me to the hospital in an ambulance.

Jeff Meisenheimer

Jeff Meisenheimer*
principal
Lee’s Summit North High School
Lee’s Summit, MO

The morning of September 29, 2017, I was Tweeting a picture of the new picnic area that was opening for lunch that afternoon. At approximately 7:50 a.m., I heard a call through my walkie that a nurse and an administrator were needed in the modern language hallway. Two assistant principals responded and I continued to work in my office. Something was telling me that I needed to follow my assistant principals, so I headed to the modern language hallway. As I turned the corner to the hallway, Beth Bock, assistant principal, yelled out to me, “She did it, Jeff. She killed herself.” A senior who was in our at-risk class went to the restroom and shot herself in the heart.

George Roberts

George Roberts*
former principal
Perry Hall High School
Baltimore, MD

At 10:43 on the first day of school, August 22, 2012, A 10th-grade male student came to school with his father’s shotgun disassembled, a bottle of vodka, and plans to shoot his ninth-grade science teacher. As he and his friends settled into the lunch period, he became aggravated with other students at a nearby table. He advised his friends to leave the cafeteria as he walked to the restroom, assembled the shotgun, took some shots of vodka, and then slid the shotgun under his long t-shirt and pants. As he re-entered the cafeteria and fired one shot which struck a student in the back. A counselor tackled him as he took a second shot, barely missed two staff members. The school resource officer arrived on the scene to take custody of the shooter and call for emergency support. The shooter was ultimately convicted of various charges and ordered to prison for 35 years for his actions. The victim recovered in the hospital for two months and ultimately came back to school in December of 2012.

Ryan Rollinger

Ryan Rollinger
principal
Harrisburg High School
Harrisburg, SD

Michael Sedlak

Michael Sedlak*
former assistant principal
Chardon High School
Chardon, OH

On Monday, February 27, 2012, at approximately 7:37 a.m., a student opened fire in the cafeteria of Chardon High School and took the lives of three students and wounded three others. The shooter ran out of the building and was followed by Frank Hall, football coach and study hall monitor, before Frank tended to the wounded. The shooter ran from the building and soon surrendered to a good Samaritan who pulled over when she saw him walking. He was then apprehended by local law enforcement and is currently serving over three life sentences. For the school’s recovery efforts, Chardon High School and its leadership team received the Governor John Kasich Award for Courage.

Ty Thompson

Ty Thompson*
principal
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School
Parkland, FL

Just before dismissal on February 14, 2018, a former student entered Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School through an egress gate and entered the 1200 building stairwell. He removed a AK-15 from a rifle bag, put on a tactical vest, and opened fire into random classrooms on the first floor. Between the fire alarm activated by the smoke and the sound of gunfire, students on the second and third floors followed an evacuation protocol, with some fleeing back to their classrooms. The gunman opened fire on the second and third floors, then entered the teacher planning area, where the impact glass thwarted his attempts to establish a perch. He dropped his weapon and fled the scene, leaving behind 17 fatalities and 17 injuries.. Approximately one hour later he was captured by police. The world’s support continued with many recognitions. Some students took the initiative to start the March for our Lives campaign. In true Eagle fashion, they were going to make something positive out of such a negative event.

Stacey Ting-Senini

Stacey Ting-Senini*
principal
Sparks Middle School
Sparks, NV

On the morning of October 21, 2013, a seventh-grade student brought a handgun to the Sparks Middle School and shot a classmate in the shoulder. He then crossed the campus towards the outside basketball court where he shot and killed a male teacher in front of 20 to 30 students as the teacher was pleading with the student to put down the gun. With the main hallway barricaded, the student fired multiple shots through the windows into a hallway. He then returned to the basketball area where he shot another 12-year-old male student in the abdomen. Upon reaching the basketball area alone, the shooter turned the gun to his head and fired and killed himself. The shooting incident lasted approximately 4 minutes.

*Founding Member

In the News

Press Release

Principals of Schools with Shootings Create Network for Mutual Support, Outreach, and Advocacy (NASSP)

Media Coverage

“When Does It Get Back To Normal? It Doesn’t”: Columbine’s Former Principal Calls His Peers After School Shootings To Counsel Them (Buzzfeed)

Principals from schools with shootings form support network (Associated Press)

‘They’re Not Alone.’ Principals Who Endured School Shootings Form Support Group (TIME)

Principals From Schools with Shootings Form Support Group (HLN Headline News)

20 Years After Columbine Principals From Network to Cope With Shootings (EdWeek)

Principals Helping Principals: 20 Year After Columbine Shooting, School Leaders Form ‘Recovery Network’ to Support Others Confronted by Tragedy (The 74)

Contact us

If you are a principal or assistant principal who had a shooting in your school and are interested in joining the PRN, a member of the press who would like to speak with a PRN member, or if you would like more information about the PRN and its work, contact us here: