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Meet the Panelists for the School Safety Town Hall

Five panelists will answer questions from the audience during our School Safety Town Hall on Wed., May 9. (Image credit: WLOS Staff)

WLOS ABC 13 is hosting a "Your Voice, Your Future" School Safety Town Hall on Wednesday, May 9. The Town Hall will be held at the WNC Ag Center in Fletcher in the Virginia Boone Building from 8 p.m. - 9 p.m. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

The event is FREE and open to the public. Please RSVP to townhall@wlos.com if you can attend.

We have assembled panel to represent a variety of perspectives on this issue. We asked each panelist to provide a short biography so viewers could learn a little more about them.

Dr. Kimberly Elliott - Superintendent, Jackson Co. Schools


Dr. Kimberly Elliott is completing her sixth year with Jackson County Public Schools. Dr. Elliott is honored to serve as Superintendent of Jackson County Public Schools. She has served JCPS as an Assistant Superintendent, Associate Superintendent and most recently as Interim Superintendent. Dr. Elliott has been engaged in an educational administrative capacity in North Carolina since 1999.

Kim began her work in education in 1987 teaching adult education at a local community college; she then transitioned to a K-8 school setting where she taught elementary education, special education, arts education, K-2 continuous progress primary, middle school students and led as school based administrator. Dr. Elliott then served the state as a regional consultant and teacher recruitment/retention specialist. She has served two school systems as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and two systems as the Assistant Superintendent supporting all departments. Kim was named faculty member and Director of Rural Education and Teacher Recruitment at Western Carolina University in 2005 where she was able to pursue her research interests in teacher recruitment, college access, science education and educational interventions for students. Dr. Elliott has taught Kindergarten through the Doctoral Program and states that “while there is an age difference, each student has needs to be met. All students desire to be heard, valued, cared for, and supported in their learning. This commonality supports educators in reaching all students”.

Kim Elliott has a long history of partnership development, strategic planning, grant management, fiscal management, program evaluation, and most importantly teaching and learning. Dr. Elliott is focused on student success and educational interventions partnered with professional learning communities. She is relationship driven and believes strongly in the use of collaboration with families and communities to create school systems of excellence.

Dr. Elliott earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Masters in School Administration, Educational Specialist Degree with a concentration in curriculum design and organizational structure, and her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. She has also studied and researched at UNC-Charlotte, Alverno College in Wisconsin, and Western Carolina University.

Dr. Kimberly Elliott is committed to Jackson County Public Schools and to making decisions based on data and in the best interest of all students. Her focus priorities are school safety, teaching and learning.

Mr. Alan Justice - Safe Schools Director, Transylvania Co. Schools

Alan Justice serves in a wide range of important roles for Transylvania County Schools. As Director of Safe Schools, Mr. Justice handles safety training, compliance, monitoring, and planning for all nine public schools in Transylvania County.

He also serves as Transportation Director responsible for all drivers and maintenance, and as Athletic Director, he oversees the well-being and competitiveness of TCS student-athletes.

In his capacity as Safe Schools Director, Mr. Justice chairs or facilitates the Transylvania County Juvenile Crime Prevention Commission and School Health Advisory Council.

Mr. Bo Caldwell - Superintendent, Henderson Co. Schools

In his second year as Superintendent of Henderson County Public Schools, Hardy “Bo” Caldwell has a rich history in HCPS administration and in the classroom, and has been at the forefront of school safety discussions in Western North Carolina.

Bo meets regularly with parents, students, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders to evaluate and determine best practices for schools, including safety protocols and procedures to ensure the safety of his 13,500 students and 2,000+ staff members. He is currently leading an initiative to establish a reporting tool on the district and school websites, which will allow students and staff to anonymously report threats, bullying, and more.

Caldwell previously served as Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services from 2014-15, after years as a teacher and school administrator. From 1984 to 1990, Bo taught mathematics at Edneyville High, then became Assistant Principal at Flat Rock Junior High. He became Principal at Atkinson Elementary in 1993, then Principal at Apple Valley Middle in 1995.

In 2002, Bo transferred to Central Office and served as Senior Director of Facility Management through 2010. In 2010, he was named Senior Director of Human Resources, and in 2014 became Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services.

Bo is a 2018 Graduate of the Next Generation Superintendent Development Program Cohort IV and was named the 2017 Superintendent of the Year by the NC School Based Health Alliance.

Bo serves the community as a member of the Henderson County Board of Public Health, the Henderson County Board of Recreation, the Kiwanis Club of Hendersonville, and as member and deacon at Mount Moriah Baptist Church

Bo has a bachelor’s degree in Science in Mathematics from Mars Hill College, and a Masters of Arts in Education and an Educational Specialist Degree from Western Carolina University. He lives in Hendersonville with his wife of 30 years, Jackie.

Capt. Bruce Simonds - SRO Supervisor, Hendersonville Police Department


A lifelong Western North Carolina resident, Capt. Bruce Simonds was born and raised in Swain Co. He attended Southwestern Community College and attained an Associate in Applied Science in Criminal Justice. He applied and was accepted into the family of the Hendersonville Police Department in the summer of 1990. Shortly after, Capt. Simonds completed his formal education at Western Carolina University by completing the Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. He has spent his entire career at the Hendersonville Police Department and has 28 years of service to the City.

Capt. Simonds is the patrol Captain and handles all matters of concern that involve patrol to include, housing officers, animal enforcement, parking, business district officer and school resource officers. He is looking forward to retiring in 8 months. He lives in Hendersonville with his wife and two children.

Jessica Villatoro - Senior, A.C. Reynolds High


My Name is Jessica Villatoro and I am a senior at A.C. Reynolds High school and I enjoy actively giving back to my community through my school extracurricular activities and through Students Demand Action.

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