Founding ExecutiveDirector/Special Agent
Susan Payne is the Founding Executive Director of the Safe2Tell®, a prevention initiative developed as a response to the Columbine tragedy in Colorado. Susan served in this role as a Special Agent with the Colorado Department of Public Safety, Homeland Security from 2006 until 2010; she currently serves as the Director of Safe Schools with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. In 2006, Susan’s expertise was requested at the President’s White House Conference on School Violence Prevention. Once again in 2013, Susan was invited to the white house convening experts around the nation regarding school safety, security and the tragic events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
Susan has attended the law enforcement debriefings following many incidents around the nation including New Life Church, the Pennsylvania Amish School, and Virginia Tech. In addition, Susan has been requested to participate in the development of National School Safety standards, providing input into the training and revision of the Four Phase Model of Crisis Management: Preparedness, Prevention, Response and Recovery. Susan has also been reviewing the language in FERPA with the U.S. Department of Education to encourage information sharing when a threat to safety exists along with managing intelligence.
Susan has focused her career on continuing the development and expansion of school safety efforts along with the expansion of the Safe2Tell® program with a focus of preventing violence in schools and communities. She is recognized as a national expert on prevention, intervention, awareness, education, and training for school safety. Susan also consults extensively with Emergency Management planning teams throughout the U.S.
After the Columbine tragedy, Susan was appointed to the Attorney General’s office to develop a statewide program to facilitate intelligence gathering and information sharing. The Columbine Commission recognized that the research showed targeted acts of violence were often broadcast in advance. Susan developed Safe2Tell®, a Colorado prevention initiative that opens lines of communication providing methods of anonymous reporting answered by law enforcement and managed by a non-profit board of directors. Safe2Tell® works in collaboration with young people, parents, law enforcement, government agencies, and community groups in which students are encouraged to report any threat to their own safety or the safety of others. The outcome results have proven the Safe2Tell® prevention initiative is a simple, yet profound solution to breaking the “code of silence” and promoting school and community safety. Susan was a contributing author along with Dr. Del Elliott, Founding Director of the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence on the article included in the book, “Columbine a Decade Later: The Prevention of Homicidal Violence in Schools: New Directions in Youth Development, Number 129” (Editors: Cornell, D. and Scheithauer, H.; Wiley Publishing; 2011).
Susan is a 24-year law enforcement veteran. Susan served a 17-year career with the Colorado Springs Police Department. She was the first Special Agent at the Colorado Department of Public Safety dedicated to school safety. Susan is a Terrorism Liaison Officer for Colorado. Her experience includes team leader for Hostage Crisis Negotiations, serving on the FBI Safe Streets task force, and training at Quantico at the FBI Academy. Susan is a graduate of the National School Safety Center and also has been certified as an Advanced Public Information Officer. Susan has worked in media coordination as a spokesperson and as an advisor behind the scenes in major events. She has worked on threat assessment to prevent work place violence and with schools.
Susan has also conducted thousands of training sessions, seminars, and presentations – including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Colorado District Attorney’s Council, the Colorado Association of School Board Executives, and Terrorism Liaison Officers.
She has developed a unique Train-the-Trainer program for School Resource Officers and Counselors, which includes certifications to conduct classroom guided discussions with youth on issues they face today. Susan has coordinated and established anonymous hotlines for the Air Force Academy, Colorado University and the Colorado Department of Corrections to assist in providing additional intelligence for specific investigations.
Susan currently serves on the Colorado Prevention Leadership Council, the Behavioral Health Planning Advisory Council, the Colorado School Safety Resource Center Board of Directors, and the NOMC (Not One More Child) Task Force. She has served on the Drug Endangered Children Task Force, the Kidpower Board of Directors, The PBIS Advisory Council and as the President of the multi-state federal task force WIN (White Collar Investigative Network).
Natasha Sansoni is a skilled public speaker and trainer with over 10 years of experience in the corporate sector. As the Communications Manager for Safe2Tell®, Natasha concentrates on the outcome of each tip that comes through the Safe2Tell® system. She works with school administrators and law enforcement each day to ensure that issues are addressed in an effective and timely manner.
Natasha has previously served as the Vice-President of the Rocky Mountain Toastmasters Forum and has enjoyed teaching public speaking at the collegiate level. She enjoys presenting the Safe2Tell® program to parent and teacher organizations throughout the state of Colorado.
Natasha holds a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership with a focus on Marketing and Communication. A mother of two school-age children, she is passionate about school safety and feels very fortunate to be part of such an outstanding Safe2Tell® team.
Director of Development and Partnerships
Suzi Karrer Director of Development and Partnerships, is responsible for ensuring the fiscal solvency and sustainability of the Safe2Tell non-profit organization. Suzi’s main role at Safe2Tell is working with the staff and board of directors to develop plans and strategic initiatives that will provide sources of funding, allowing the organization to grow and thrive. Suzi leads efforts to develop tactical partnerships and communications that best provide for safer schools and communities.
Suzi received her Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration and Marketing from Colorado State University. Suzi has over 11 years of experience working with Colorado non-profit agencies in various development and marketing roles. Her passion for nonprofit work has helped her gain vast experience in fundraising, grant writing, donor relations, planned giving, communications, capital campaigns, sponsorships, major gifts, marketing, public relations, event planning, graphic design, accounting, financial management and organizational management. In her free time, Suzi volunteers with community programs that help shape the characters of young people. As a mother and community organizer, Suzi uses her devotion for safer schools as a motivator to ensure that all young people will benefit from the Safe2Tell strategy.