Mr. Rick Kaufman, APR
Rick is the Executive Director of Community Relations and Emergency Management for
Bloomington (MN) Public Schools, where he is responsible for directing the district’s
communications, community relations and emergency management programs. Rick
formerly served as the Executive Director of Public Engagement and Communications for
Jefferson County Public Schools, Colorado’s largest school system, from 1998-2006.
Rick is a nationally respected consultant and trainer on crisis management and
communications, having worked in public schools and emergency management for
more than 30 years.
In 1996, Rick developed what is believed to be the first full-scale crisis drill involving an active shooter in a
school. Three years later, the unthinkable happened when on April 20, 1999, two students attacked
Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 13 and wounding 26 others. Among the first to arrive on
scene, Rick provided emergency triage and rescue operations before assuming leadership of the Crisis
Response Team. He led all aspects of the school and district’s communications, media relations and crisis
response/recovery efforts. He was the on-site coordinator for former President Bill Clinton’s visit to Littleton
in the wake of the tragedy, and the annual anniversary events (Years 1-5).
For the past 19 years, Rick has worked with hundreds of law enforcement and emergency management
agencies, and school systems throughout the U.S. to improve safety and security measures and emergency
response. He’s provided counsel to Broward County Public Schools (Stoneman Douglas High School), San
Bernardino City Unified School District (North Park Elementary), the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for the Timothy
McVeigh execution; the New York Education Commission and New York City Schools following the terrorist
attacks in September, 2001; U.S. Department of Education, Los Angeles Office of the FBI, Association of State
Colleges & Universities, National School Boards Association, Wisconsin Health and Hospital Association,
North Carolina and North Dakota Division of Emergency Management agencies, the Minnesota Office of
Emergency Preparedness, and the Minnesota School Safety Center. Rick also served a 35-day assignment as a
FEMA Field Coordinator for public information officers as part of the national response to Hurricane’s Katrina
and Rita (2005) in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, LA.
Rick is the author of The Complete Crisis Communication Management Manual for Schools (4th edition, 2016),
and served as a panelist at the We Are Columbine: 20 Years Later symposium (2018), content expert at the
Wisconsin School Safety Summit (2015) and former U.S. Senator Al Franken’s School Safety Summit (2014).
He was the keynote speaker for MN School Boards Association Summer Institute and MN Association of
School Personnel Administrators (2018); Campus Safety Conferences (Dallas, TX and Long Beach, CA, 2017);
National School Board Association’s Planning for and Managing the School Crisis You Hope Never Comes
webinar following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy; MN Metropolitan Hospital Compact’s
Footprint of Disasters symposium; MN School Safety Conference; Midwest Summit on Violence in the
Workplace and Schools; Wisconsin Bioterrorism Summit; National Transportation Public Affairs Conference;
and Airports Council International – North America.
Rick has directed public school communications programs in Wisconsin, Colorado and Minnesota, and served
as a special consultant with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction under former State
Superintendent John Benson. He is a past president of the National School Public Relations Association
(NSPRA) and the Wisconsin School Public Relations Association (WSPRA), and has served as a director with
the Wisconsin, Colorado and Minnesota school PR chapters.
Rick was awarded the Public Relations Society of America’s inaugural Public Relations Professional of the Year
honor in 2000, and has earned PRSA’s Silver Anvil Award of Excellence, NSPRA’s Gold Medallion five times for
excellence in communications programs, Minnesota School PR Association’s Dawn K. McDowell Award,
Colorado PRSA’s Gold Pick Award, and is a two-time recipient of the WI School PR Association’s President’s
Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Rick holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and is
accredited (APR) by the Public Relations Society of America. He is the father of two children, and recently
became a grandfather.