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“Throughout the country, schools are being implored to adopt a threat assessment strategy. Policymakers and politicians at local, state, and federal levels have recognized that adopting a research-based threat assessment strategy is an effective way to identify students and school personnel who may be on a pathway to engaging in harmful behavior. 


For threat assessment to be effective, a school district and its community need a leader who knows:

  • How schools operate.

  • The key elements of an effective threat assessment strategy.

  • Youths and their various behavioral traits.

  • How social media is used.

  • What is doable and what isn’t.

  • What resources are available.

  • The connections between schools, parents, and community groups, including businesses.


John is one of a small handful of people and organizations that deal with threat assessment, having the background, experience, training, and understanding of how all the elements of a comprehensive threat assessment strategy tie together. 


He has been a leader in the field for the past two decades. His pragmatic and forward-thinking approach has led numerous school districts to adopt and modify their approaches to identifying students who are on a pathway to violence and other forms of inappropriate behavior. 


I highly recommend John for any school district or community exploring the development and/or modification of a threat assessment system that is pragmatic, useful, and aligned with leading practice.”

— William Modzeleski, Associate Assistant Deputy Secretary (Retired),
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools


“Pundits and academics talk the talk, but John has walked the walk. He designed the Salem-Keizer Cascade model from years of experience doing the work and helping others do the work. That system is the best school-based threat assessment program in the United States. I strongly recommend Van Dreal as the go-to individual for developing a practical, experienced-based system.” 


Reid Meloy, Ph.D., Forensic Psychologist;

Co-Editor, International Handbook of Threat Assessment



“John is known across Oregon and throughout the northwest for his work in keeping communities and students safe. He has dismantled information silos, built violence prevention systems, and maintained a threat response program for tens of thousands of children over many years. He is the ultimate professional, who builds confidence from educators to law enforcement and social service agencies. I highly recommend that you consider the resources he offers.”

Sandy Husk, CEO for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)

“John Van Dreal has long been one of the most critical and innovate thinkers in the assessment and management of threats in the educational setting. Making sense of the complexity involved in managing violence-inclined situations at schools is no small task, but Van Dreal has managed to do it. He works diligently to systematize threat management at educational institutions and effectively identifies ways to establish responsibilities, professional roles, and accountability.”

Captain Robert J. Martin (LAPD 1966–1994), Senior Advisor, Gavin de Becker & Associates, L.P.;
Founder, Los Angeles Police Department's Threat Management Unit

“I have had the pleasure of working with John Van Dreal over the past 18 years on a variety of policy, program development, and training issues pertaining to school safety and threat assessment and management. John is a consummate professional in his field, having led the charge to develop practical, flexible, and professional school threat assessment and management programs. One would do well to heed his advice on these issues, as he speaks from depth and breadth of both knowledge and experience.”

— Craig D. Apperson, MS, LMHC, CCCJS, BCPC, Director (Retired),
Washington State School Safety Center

“When we were ready to implement a student threat assessment system in our K–12 school district, we called upon John Van Dreal for guidance. He skillfully coached us through laying the foundation, and then personally provided on-site training for our newly identified multidisciplinary threat assessment team.

John is a national leader and expert in the fields of threat assessment and school security. His research-based student threat assessment system is nationally recognized and used in schools all over the United States. John is a gifted trainer, providing high-quality instruction. He is able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people from different disciplines. After 17 years in the field of school safety myself, I can honestly say that when it comes to school threat assessment, there is nobody I respect and trust more than John Van Dreal.” 

— Susan Graves, Comprehensive Safe Schools Coordinator,

Lincoln County School District, Newport, OR

“I highly recommend John Van Dreal for your next school safety training. We have sponsored him for a number of training sessions in our region, with overwhelmingly positive response. John has the unique ability to facilitate training for hours on end, several days in a row, while consistently delivering depth of content, keeping it interesting and entertaining, while responding to audience needs. His stories from the trenches are not only entertaining, but they also illustrate how the principles of student threat assessment are applied in a variety of contexts. John customizes threat assessment systems to the unique needs of a school district and community, and can communicate industry-specific terms in a way that is easily understood by all threat assessment team trainees, regardless of educational background or role (i.e., educator, law enforcement, juvenile justice, or mental health). Perhaps even more importantly, he truly cares for children and youths, and consistently goes beyond expectations to help schools implement systems that identify potential issues early and respond with appropriate supports.”


— Mike Hickman, Assistant Superintendent, Capital Region ESD 113,
Tumwater, WA


“My district has been working with John for more than five years to implement the Salem-Kaiser Cascade model for assessing student threats. John's depth of knowledge and practical experience leading teams make his training comprehensive. Participants leave with the knowledge necessary to begin taking steps to mitigate student threats. In addition, he has always made himself available for follow up when we have needed to troubleshoot specific scenarios. I look forward to continued collaboration with John.”

— Amy Fine, Assistant Director of Special Education, Secondary Education,

Coeur d'Alene School District, Coeur d’Alene, ID



“John Van Dreal is one of the most generous, gracious, and professional training facilitators with whom I have worked during my 32 years within the education profession. John possesses an incredibly strong knowledge and experience base to draw upon as he delivers top-tier professional development. He provided high-quality assistance as I worked to develop student threat assessment trainings for my region. I was very impressed with John's prompt response to my inquiries. His commitment to excellence is outstanding. I highly recommend John Van Dreal for any consulting services you may have.”


— Larry Davison, Teaching and Learning Support Coordinator, Educational Service District 105, Yakima, WA

“John provides prompt customer service, professionalism, quality training, and the ability to adapt the threat assessment system to the needs of districts of all sizes. The impact of the training that John provides to the school districts of Oregon is invaluable. The training brings school district, local law enforcement, juvenile justice, and county and mental health staff members together to help develop a threat assessment team that will assist in preventing and mitigating human violence. I highly recommend using John and his multitude of training options for any education entity.”


— Dave Harvey, Property & Casualty Coverage for Education (PACE) Administrator, Oregon School Boards Association


“There isn’t anything more important than the safety of our children. The Salem-Keizer Cascade Threat Assessment model is a proactive process, tailored to the needs of our schools. When promulgated with fidelity, the model will enable critical support to students, staff, parents, and the communities we all serve.”

— Gregory L. Lynch, Superintendent, Education Service District 114,
Bremerton, WA

Ready to make your school or district a safer space?

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