Leslie Etheridge Joins HCDE to Lead Center for Safe and Secure Schools

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August 24, 2023 by HCDE Communications

The Center for Safe and Secure Schools is in good hands with its new leader, a 28-year law enforcement veteran with experience in school safety and a passion for children. Leslie Etheridge started as director of CSSS on Monday, coming to HCDE from Texas Southern University, where she was captain of police.

“I’ve always loved kids, so I’ve always been drawn to help them,” Etheridge said. “My experience has taught me that there is not always a one-size-fits-all solution for every school. Programs and training often need adjustments to fit the school environment you serve. I want the CSSS to grow so we can effectively meet the demand for our services.”  

CSSS Director Leslie Etheridge poses for a photograph.

In her new role, Etheridge will oversee the division’s various initiatives and programs related to school safety and culture. During her tenure at Texas Southern, she served as a command staff member, conducted emergency training courses, and generated safety plans for large-scale events.  

Prior to moving to Texas, the native New Yorker was a career New York Police Department police officer assigned to various community policing roles, including within New York City Public Schools.

As a Lieutenant over the NYPD’s school safety division, Etheridge worked closely with various New York City Board of Education administrators to develop and implement programs to address diverse school safety needs.  

“Mrs. Etheridge brings a diverse wealth of law enforcement experience,” said Assistant Superintendent of Education and Enrichment CJ Rodgers. “In all her previous roles, she has used innovative methods to remain proactive in her approach to safety. We are excited to welcome her to HCDE and will be leaning heavily on her leadership and experience as we continue to move the CSSS forward as a beacon of expertise, resources, and support at the local, state, and national levels.”   

Etheridge holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from John Jay College. She is an active community member and has organized afterschool programs, mentored girls, coordinated D.A.R.E programs, and facilitated a summer Youth Police Academy.  

She is also a member of various organizations, including the National Organization of Black Law-Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Association (FBI-LEEDA), Historically Black Colleges & Universities, Law-Enforcement Executives & Administrators (HBCU LEEA), Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT), and the Star of Hope Grand Chapter-Order of The Eastern Star.

To learn more about Center for Safe and Secure Schools, visit www.hcde-texas.org/CSSS.

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