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News Article
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UPSD Board Meets New Security Guards
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Upper Perkiomen's school board met six of its new security guards during last week's workshop meeting. John Gooley, the chief security officer at Cardinal Point Homeland Security Group, introduced them to the members.

            Four of the guards told the members they had previous law enforcement or military experience. All of the guards started their new jobs on Monday.

            Joseph Spych, the company's director of security who also addressed the members during the Aug. 24 meeting, will oversee the six-person team in the district and report to Rodney Blake, the district's school resource officer. Blake reports to Craig Howard, the director of facilities and operations.

            The guards – who are considered independent contractors – were brought forward by the Jenkintown firm and interviewed by district representatives who determined whether or not they would work at one of the schools, according to an email message received Monday morning from spokesperson Alexis Jenofsky.

            According to Blake, the company completed the background checks for each candidate.

            "We wanted them to be selected by Upper Perk," Blake said during the meeting. "We need to know how they are going to intermingle with students and staff."

            Armed guards will be stationed at the high school and middle school from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and at the 4th & 5th Grade Center, as well as Marlborough and Hereford elementary schools from 8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to the district's security agreement approved earlier this year.

            Elijah Thompson IV will serve as an armed guard at the 4th &5th Grade Center in East Greenville. He has 24 years of police experience, including 23 years in school security

            Thompson told the members he has a vast background with the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) and that he worked previously as the chief of two district police departments. His LinkedIn page identifies multiple certifications, including as a NASRO School Resource Officer, School Safety Officer and a past president.

            Kevin McKnight will serve as an armed guard at the high school. He told the board that he had worked as a corrections officer in his native New Jersey for 19 years.  McKnight met with high school staff prior to the board meeting, according to Principal Robert Carpenter. He described the interaction as productive.

            David White will serve as an armed guard at Marlborough Elementary. A former resident of East Greenville, he worked as a corrections officer for two years, as a sheriff's deputy in Lehigh and Montgomery County and as a military contractor.

            Ruben Rosario II will work as an armed guard at Hereford Elementary. He served seven years in the Air National Guard and was deployed to Iraq in 2009.

            Jason Gallagher will serve as an armed guard at the middle school. He told the board his work experience includes 18 years in the U.S. Air Force and five years as a police officer in Delaware County and for Amtrak in Philadelphia. Gallagher also previously served as a full-time EMT for the Gilbertsville Area Community Ambulance Service.

            Leah Gold will be an unarmed guard at the high school. She told the board that she worked previously in security at a mall in Metro Detroit and that she was about to be promoted from sergeant to lieutenant before moving to the area 2 and 1/2 months ago.

            The district is in the process of hiring three unarmed guards at the high school and one unarmed at the middle school, according to a separate email from Jenofsky.

            Gooley thanked Superintendent Allyn Roche for his faith in Cardinal Point. He described collaboration as essential for the success of the implementation of his company.

            In June, the members voted to approve a three-year service agreement with the Jenkintown firm worth more than $1.522 million. Members Judith Maginnis and Dana Hipszer voted against the contract that includes an option for a fourth-year renewal.






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