Focused on prevention, guided by preparation.

Established in 2022, The Pennsylvania School Safety Institute (PennSSI) provides hands-on experiences and classroom trainings designed to address emerging security threats that may occur in school buildings, on district property or at other locations where students and staff may be present. District personnel, security staff and law enforcement officials learn de-escalation tactics in PennSSI’s state-of-the-art multiroom simulator and 360-degree augmented reality. Original funding for the creation of PennSSI LLC was provided by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association Trust.


Michael Deitz PennSSI headshot

Michael Deitz

Director of School Safety

Michael Deitz has an extensive background as a law enforcement officer and as a non-commissioned officer with the U.S. Army and PA Air National Guard. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a juris master’s degree from Liberty University. He is currently enrolled in the university’s educational law doctoral program.

Britta Barrickman headshot

Dr. Britta Barrickman

Chief Impact Officer

Britta Barrickman has an expansive background in the association realm and draws on her experience managing an array of member benefits in the areas of human resources, crisis communications, board training and more in her work with PennSSI. Britta holds a master’s degree in public administration from Penn State University and a doctorate in education from Temple University.

Nyla Kater headshot

Nyla Kater

Manager of School Safety

Nyla Kater combines career experience and knowledge in both education and criminal justice. She previously held administrative positions throughout the Pennsylvania educational system as well as at a daily reporting center alongside probation/parole. She currently works as a field manager for a local security company. Nyla holds an associate degree in criminal justice.

Board of Advisors

Roberta M. Marcus serves as the consultant-in-residence for the Pennsylvania Schools Boards Association (PSBA). As a past president and the former co-chair of the Principles for Effective Governance and Leadership Committee, she contributes her experience, training and knowledge on board directors’ roles and responsibilities. Marcus helped develop the PSBA Training and Education portal and multiple professional development documents for school board service and leadership. Her accreditations include PSBA’s Chief Executive Officer’s Distinguished Service Pin, Accredited School Director Leader (Retired) and the Allwein Society Award for advocacy. She was awarded the Parkland School District Superintendent’s Parkland Pride Award. Marcus served 20 years as an elected school board director for the Parkland School District, where she served multiple times as president, vice president, chair of several committees and board liaison to the Parkland Community Advisory Council. Marcus is a trustee emeritus for the Lehigh Carbon Community College and has served on multiple community nonprofits.

Sabrina Backer has been active in public education since her children started elementary school. She first began her public school volunteering on the executive board of her children’s school’s parent/teacher organization. In 2014, she was elected to the board at Franklin Area School District, where she has served as board president since 2020. She also has served as a Pennsylvania Schools Boards Association (PSBA) Sectional Advisor and in numerous roles on the association’s governing board since 2018. She has served as a PSBA liaison and on the Hall of Fame, Personnel, Operations, Finance and Negotiations committees, chairing both the Personnel and Operations committees. Backer also has served on PSBA’s Bylaws and Platform committees, the Pennsylvania Public Education Foundation Board, Penn SSI Board, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s board as a member of the School Safety and Security Committee, been a member of the Legislative Advisory Council and chair of the Policy Committee. Backer attended Fayetteville State University. Professionally, she is the chief clerk/county administrator for the County of Venango.

Jeremy R. Bogdanski is the director of police and security for the Brentwood Borough School District located in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Bogdanski has been a sworn law enforcement officer for 12 years, serving the K-12 education community and also at the university level at Point Park University, where he reached the rank of corporal. He is responsible for the daily safety of students at the Brentwood Borough School District. Bogdanski specializes in community relations and school safety. The Brentwood Borough School District has had its own police force since 2002 and continues to coordinate a working relationship with the municipal departments in the surrounding areas. 

Diana Futrovsky is a managing director in CRA’s Strategic Communication Practice. She advises clients on how to engage employees, generate organizational alignment and build leadership credibility. She has expertise in designing strategic messages, developing communication strategies and executing large-scale change initiatives. Futrovsky also has experience in leading CRA’s proprietary cascade process, a series of carefully orchestrated team conversations that foster employee understanding of business priorities and generate alignment among all levels of the organization. Her recent clients include Northwell Health, KPMG, Dell, Boomi and Comcast Cable. Prior to joining CRA, Futrovsky served as a contracted relocation advisor and negotiator for PennDOT and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. She holds a master’s degree in communication management from Temple University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA.

Mark K. Leidy serves as the superintendent of Mechanicsburg Area School District, a position he has held since 2010. With a commitment to educational excellence and student success, Leidy brings over 30 years of experience in the field of education to his leadership role. Under Leidy’s guidance, the Mechanicsburg Area School District has implemented innovative programs and initiatives aimed at enhancing student learning and development while also navigating significant enrollment increases and unprecedented challenges. He is committed to staying abreast of the latest research and best practices in education to inform his decision-making and leadership approach. He serves on the Pennsylvania Association of School Administrators Board of Governors, the Shippensburg University School of Education Advisory Council and as a University of Pennsylvania GSE Study Council Advisor. He believes in the importance of building strong partnerships between schools and the community. Leidy holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Shippensburg University and a doctorate in interdisciplinary programs in educational leadership from Duquesne University.

Steve Kantrowitz has over 40 years of experience counseling clients and supervising, arbitrating and trying cases in federal and state courts. He also served as nonexecutive chair of C.M. Regent Insurance Company. Kantrowitz retired as a two-star admiral in the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. His areas of responsibility included ethics, claims, litigation, administrative law, international and operational law, and criminal law. He also served as a principal in investigations of critical significance, spokesman and lead in national and international crisis-media matters, and as an expert in budgetary program planning. He provided counsel and leadership on key legal and managerial issues to the secretary of the Navy and chief of naval operations. His op-ed work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Times and other media. He was associate editor of the JAG Journal, volumes 31 and 32, and author of “Expert Testimony and Scientific Evidence in Arson-Related Cases,” 26 Journal of Forensic Sciences 142. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, a Juris Doctor degree from Villanova University School of Law and a Master of Laws degree from George Washington University.

Nathan G. Mains has been chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) since September 2013. In his role, he leads a staff of more than 65 people who provide a range of publications, conferences and seminars, as well as insurance programs, management and legal assistance, and advocacy services for local school officials. In addition, he serves as a managing director/CEO and a member of the board of the PSBA Trust and PSBA Insurance Company LLC and as chief executive officer of Bent Creek Educational Services Corporation. Mains is an ex-officio member, past board vice chair and past chair of the Investment Committee of the Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System and is treasurer of the Pennsylvania School District Liquid Asset Fund. Additionally, he is a member of the board of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and of the board of EasyProcure, a procurement card joint venture. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of C.M. Regent Insurance Company. Prior to joining PSBA, Mains served as the president and state director for Communities in Schools of Pennsylvania. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Lebanon Valley College, participated in the Harvard Business School’s Executive Education Program and attended Shippensburg University’s graduate school for communications.

Rich Poirier joined Church Mutual in April 2011 as vice president – claims and was promoted to chief operating officer in October 2011. He was named president in 2014. He assumed additional responsibilities as CEO in January 2016. In January 2023, the president role passed to a senior member of Poirier’s team and Poirier continued to serve as CEO throughout 2023. He retired in December 2023 but remains on Church Mutual’s board of directors. Poirier earned his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in 1983. Following graduation, he was given a direct commission in the United States Navy through its Law Education Program. Poirier earned his Juris Doctor degree from Marquette University in 1986. Following law school graduation, he entered four years of active duty as a Navy judge advocate in Norfolk, VA. Following his discharge from active duty, Poirier continued his service in the Navy Reserves. He held a number of prestigious assignments, including two commanding officer tours. He retired in 2010 at the rank of captain. His numerous awards and decorations include two Navy Achievement Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals and a Meritorious Service Medal. Poirier is active in numerous professional and civic organizations. He is the immediate past president of the American Property and Casualty Insurers of America and continues to serve on its board. He also sits on the Board of Directors of Aspirus, Inc., the NTC Foundation, the Marathon County Chapter of the Boys and Girls Club of America, and the Wausau Wolf Pack Youth Lacrosse Association.

Christopher E. Raubenstine is the chief of police for the Silver Spring Township Police Department in Mechanicsburg, PA, Cumberland County. Raubenstine started in law enforcement in 1993 after he graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice and a minor in business law.

Colonel Frank Ryan, USMCR (ret.) is a certified public accountant and received his master’s degree in business administration from the University of Maryland in 1977. He served three terms as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and retired in 2022. Prior to his election, Ryan’s practice included serving as an expert in corporate restructurings and management. His book, Revolutionizing Accounting for Decision Making, published in 2016, focused on lean systems and process controls. He believes strongly in volunteerism and public service. Ryan’s volunteerism is not relegated to meeting rooms. He walked 2,806 miles across America in 2014 to raise awareness of the needs of children with emotional and behavior issues and for developmentally disabled children. His book, Life Lessons Learned – Amazing Stories of my Walk Across America for Children, details his experience. His personal military decorations include three Legions of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal and the U. S. Army Commendation Medal.

Dottie Schindlinger is executive director of the Diligent Institute, the modern governance think tank and global research arm of Diligent Corporation. In her role, Schindlinger directs the institute’s thought leadership on corporate governance and related topics. She also serves as a lead spokesperson for both Diligent Institute and Diligent Corporation, giving dozens of presentations to boards and executives at events around the globe. Her work has been featured in Fortune, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and multiple governance and technology publications. She is co-author of the book, Governance in the Digital Age: A Guide for the Modern Corporate Board Director, and she co-hosts the fortnightly show, The Corporate Director Podcast. Schindlinger brings over 20 years’ experience in governance-related roles, including serving as a director, officer, committee chair, senior executive, governance consultant and trainer for private, public and nonprofit boards. She was a founding team member of the tech start-up BoardEffect, a board management software provider focused on healthcare and nonprofit boards, acquired by Diligent in 2016. She served as the vice chair of the board of the Alice Paul Institute until April 2020, and is a fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar on Corporate Governance. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

Justin Warren is a passionate community leader. He served two terms as vice president of the Central Dauphin School District Board, and as a PSBA Sectional Advisor. Warren is the former chair of the Dauphin County Gaming Advisory Board and past chair of the Dauphin County Republican Committee. He currently serves on the Pennsylvania Interscholastic E-sports Association Board. Professionally, he is a career broadband infrastructure and wireless communications executive. Warren resides in the Harrisburg area.

PennSSI LLC Board

Kathy K. Swope, Chair
Michael Faccinetto
Dr. Richard Frerichs
William S. LaCoff
Roberta M. Marcus
Nathan G. Mains
Marianne L. Neel

Learn more about PennSSI