Navigating School Security with John Niehls

School safety is a critical issue that affects us all, and no one understands that better than John Niehls, Head of School at Coventry Christian Schools. Following the tragic Sandy Hook incident, John was propelled into the world of school security, gaining valuable insights on how to create an environment that is both welcoming and safe. He believes in the importance of being proactive and draws on his experience with other Christian non-profits to champion the cause of school security.

We dive into the nitty-gritty of school security as John underscores the value of comprehensive site assessments. This involves looking beyond physical measures and getting experts involved in creating a foolproof system. The conversation takes an interesting turn as we discuss transitioning from rigid to dynamic response protocols and the importance of equipping and training staff. John stresses on the necessity of having equipment like portable panic button systems, tourniquets, and stop the bleed kits on hand.

As we wrap up, the conversation shifts to the importance of fostering relationships with local law enforcement. John shares his thoughts on the vital role of an armed security presence on campus, and how to navigate the financial considerations that come with it. We also reflect on the five-year journey of the podcast and encourage listeners to join us in spreading the words of BaseCamp Live. This episode is a deep dive into school security, a topic that is close to our hearts and minds. As we navigate the intricacies of balancing an open, welcoming environment with the need for safety, we hope to spark a broader conversation on ensuring our children are safe.

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Biography: John Niehls

John Niehls (Niles) has served as Head of School at Coventry Christian Schools in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, since 2015.  Prior to accepting the Head of School position, Mr. Niehls served as Board Chair while working in the insurance and finance sector.  

Mr. Niehls has been a leader in school security during his tenure as Head of School, obtaining several security certifications and helping bolster his school’s security posture to include an armed guard presence since 2018.

Outside of classical Christian education Mr. Niehls has served as a board member or director for several other Christian nonprofits including his role as co-founder of The Issachar Imperative, a Christian Worldview Institute.  Mr. Niehls earned his Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Kutztown University and his MBA from Harding University.  He is currently working toward his Ed.S. degree through the Gordon College Leadership program and has completed additional Masters level studies at New Saint Andrews College.  Mr. Niehls is married to Kristen and they have five children ages 3 through 14.  In his free time, John enjoys golfing, spending time with family, and is especially interested in traveling to all of the 63 US National Parks.