Ensights Magazine

Aj Calvert and Gloria Kemp

Managing Risk: Ensworth’s Efforts to Keep Our Campuses Safe

Bedell James, Director of Institutional Advancement, and Whitney Johnson, Director of Finance & Operations
An ever-increasing issue challenging Independent Schools is appropriately managing risk while maintaining the warm and open community that we all value and appreciate. Yet, headline-grabbing crises involving independent schools in recent years have shone a spotlight on the importance of engaging in a robust enterprise risk management (“ERM”) process.
In early March 2020, just before COVID-19 began the global shutdown, the Board of Trustees held its annual retreat to discuss ERM, among other topics of strategic importance for Ensworth. The Board welcomed Pete Talbot from EAB, a consulting group for K-12 schools, who facilitated a conversation around their ERM research as summarized in The Institutional Risk Management Playbook: Developing a Comprehensive Process to Manage Risks at Today’s Independent Schools. At the direction of the Board, CFO Whitney Johnson then drafted a comprehensive Risk Management Policy, following the framework recommended by EAB’s Playbook, and put Ensworth’s ERM process into motion.

Simultaneously, the Ensworth Leadership Team was thrust into an ERM intensive course as the global pandemic forced school online following Spring Break in 2020. While much of the pandemic planning was reactive to new and unknown challenges, the spring and summer of 2020 offered a real-life “crash course” to test Ensworth’s crisis response and risk management and direct a more proactive and robust ERM process moving forward.

A key component of launching Ensworth’s ERM process was the creation of a new Facility and Risk Analyst position to focus specifically on campus risk and safety and work with the Business Office and Facilities teams across both campuses. Ensworth was fortunate to have a recent faculty member, Gloria Kemp, return to Ensworth in October 2020 with a wealth of pertinent knowledge from her studies at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, where she earned her B.S. in Homeland Security with a concentration in emergency management. In her new role, Gloria focuses on the areas of risk management and crisis planning and serves as chair of a newly formed ERM Task Force charged with implementing the Board-approved ERM policy. Ensworth’s ERM Task Force meets regularly throughout the year and consists of faculty and staff representing a broad array of departments, positions, divisions, and experiences.

As a result of Gloria’s early research and the work of the ERM Task Force, it was determined that bringing Ensworth’s primary security functions in-house would be an important first step. Accordingly, AJ Calvert joined Ensworth in July 2021 as our new Director of Security. AJ comes to Ensworth with fifteen years of combined military and law enforcement experience, most recently working in leadership roles as a School Resource Officer with Decatur Township School District in Indiana. Along with a wealth of security and school knowledge, AJ has a demonstrated history of developing positive relationships with colleagues, students, and citizens while approaching each situation with alertness, compassion, and concern. AJ’s security expertise will partner well with Gloria’s direction of the ERM Task Force to provide structure and protocols for risk identification, risk assessment, risk controls and risk monitoring and reporting.

Ensworth has made tremendous strides in our ERM process over the past year, which will be continuously refined and improved through the work of the ERM Task Force and two new employees with the expertise and commitment to ensuring and formulating the best long range plan for keeping our campuses, faculty, and students safe.

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