William “Bill” Modzeleski is currently a senior consultant with several groups specializing in school safety, threat assessment, emergency management, and homeland security. Modzeleski recently retired after serving over 40 years of service at the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education. During his tenure at the Department of Education, where he served as the Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, Modzeleski was instrumental in the development and implementation of numerous programs, policies and studies related to school safety, emergency management, violent extremism/terrorism and violence prevention. These programs included: Safe Schools/Healthy Students Program (a multi-agency effort designed to approach violence prevention from a comprehensive perspective); School Emergency Response to Violence (a program designed to bring assistance to schools immediately after a crisis that has affected teaching and learning); the REMS program (a program designed to assist schools improve their emergency management plans); and Project SERV (a program designed to assist schools recover from traumatic incidents).
Modzeleski also played a leadership role in numerous studies related to school shootings, radicalization and violent extremism. Modzeleski served as co-author with staff from US Secret Service on the Safe School Initiative, and co-author with staff from Secret Service and FBI on study on Targeted Attacks at Institutions of Higher Education. After completion of the Safe School Initiative, Modzeleski co-authored a publication on forming threat assessment teams in schools. The publication was used by the Department of Education (ED) and the US Secret Service as the basis for a training program for K-12 schools on the formation and operation of a threat assessment team. Modzeleski assisted the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute in the design of studies related to terrorist incidents involving education targets, emergency management planning in international schools, recruitment and radicalization by international terrorist groups, and a review of school-aged youth involved in terrorist activities. Modzeleski recently completed an article on why schools aren’t taking violent extremism among students more seriously. Modzeleski also led ED’s efforts to assist schools after events disrupted teaching. These events ranged from Columbine to Virginia Tech, from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina to the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, that destroyed several school buildings, and from the bombing of the Murrah Office Building (in Oklahoma City) to the September 11 attack. Modzeleski also led a team that worked closely with staff from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) on efforts to stem the spread of the H1N1 epidemic.
Modzeleski has written numerous articles on the issues of school safety and threat assessment. He has been instrumental in designing surveys and studies that provide information on crime and violence in schools, including the School Associated Violent Death Study. Modzeleski served as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute, where he provided guidance on issues, including research needs, related to violent extremism and role of schools in combating terrorism.
Modzeleski is currently in an advisory capacity to several organizations that are involved in school safety. The organizations include: The Anna Grace Foundation (a Sandy Hook Initiative); the Atlanta and Miami-Dade Safe School Initiatives; the Virginia Tech research study on Keeping Kids in the Classroom, Out of the Courtroom Research Project; Case Western Reserve Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Research and Education; and Safe and Sound Schools (a Sandy Hook Initiative). Modzeleski has also served in an advisory capacity to the Maryland Safe Schools Center on a variety of issues, including issues related to recovery from a recent shooting death in St. Mary’s County.
Prior to his federal service, he served in the US Army in the US and in Vietnam. Modzeleski earned a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service for duties performed while in Vietnam. He holds a BA from the University of Bridgeport (where he was named a distinguished alum in 2008) and a MA from C.W. Post College.