North Allegheny hires retired Coast Guard commander to lead school security team
The North Allegheny School District has hired a retired U.S. Coast Guard commander with private sector security experience to serve as the district’s manager of school safety and security.
Michael D. Evanish held a number of supervisory positions with the Coast Guard including deputy incident commander for New Orleans, La. during Hurricane recovery operations following Hurricane Katrina. He also was a project manager for a multi-million dollar bridge demolition and construction project and served as commander of an anti-terrorism team.
In the private sector, Evanish was branch manager for U.S. Security Associates in Wheeling, W.Va., where he oversaw 150 security officers and developed site security plans. He most recently worked as the the operations manager for PalAmerican Security in Robinson.
Evanish, who was hired by the school board at its Sept. 26 meeting, will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of building security, emergency preparedness and student safety for the district. He will earn $79,000 a year.
“Mr. Evanish’s experience in site security, planning, and safety operations will greatly benefit the North Allegheny community,” said Superintendent Robert Scherrer. “His wide range of expertise will provide a unique perspective to the district’s existing security plans, which will enhance and strengthen the robust plans currently in place in order to maintain a safe school environment.”
Evanish has a bachelor of arts degree in English writing with minors in French and psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. He also is a graduate of the Coast Guard Officer Candidates School in Yorktown, Va.
Hiring a school safety and security director is part of a stepped-up effort to guard students and staff from danger.
In April, the district announced plans to launch a school resource officer program.
This summer, two veteran officers with the Town of McCandless police department were selected to serve in the program’s first resource officers.
Discussions about enhancing school security measures began following the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed and 17 others injured.
In the past five years, NA has spent an estimated $2 million to improve security in its buildings, according to district officials.
With more than 8,400 students, North Allegheny is the largest suburban school district in Allegheny County.
Tony LaRussa is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368 or [email protected] or via Twitter @TonyLaRussaTrib.