Meet the Safety Team


Robert Susi

Director of the Maine School Safety Center

Robert is a retired 33 year municipal police officer, having served 27 years as a School Resource Officer.  Robert has been involved in and helped create safety plans for several school districts and continues to strive to bring safety and security to every school in Maine.



Karen Barnes, Ph.D., LCSW

Behavioral Threat Assessment & Management Coordinator

Dr. Barnes worked for over 25 years in public schools, with the majority in adolescent mental health. Karen works with a group of stakeholders at federal, state, and local levels to develop effective strategies to identify students who are at risk of committing acts of violence and providing early intervention to change the trajectory on their path to violence. Much of her work focuses on facilitating the development of multidisciplinary teams to support students and promote favorable outcomes of early intervention including reduced suspensions and expulsions, increased connection to positive supports, elimination of racial disparity with disciplinary measures, reduced support for zero tolerance policies, and overall emotional wellness.  

You can contact Karen for:

  • Information about Behavioral Threat Assessment Management
  • Assistance in enrolling school-based Threat Assessment teams in training
  • Ongoing support for trained BTAM teams

Wendy Robichaud, Ed.D.

School Safety Training Coordinator

Wendy spent 24 years in education as a pre-primary instructor and a high school marketing instructor. She also spent 10 years teaching at the college level. Wendy has a doctoral degree in Instructional Technology and Distance Education. She helps the team design and deliver trainings, as well as managing the School Safety Specialist program through Eastern Maine Community College.

You can contact Wendy for:

  • Enrollment in the School Safety Specialist Program
  • Trainings available on website
  • Signing up for an upcoming training

Stacey Barlow, M.Ed.

Restorative Practices Coordinator

Stacey spent 17 years working in middle and high schools in alternative education programs. She has a master’s degree in Curriculum Design and Instruction and is in the process of completing her Ed.D. in Restorative Justice in Education.

You can contact Stacey for:

  • Restorative Process in an educational setting
  • Alternatives to suspension
  • Integrating trauma informed practices into school behavioral response


Cheryl Brackett, MBA

Transportation Coordinator

Cheryl has worked for over 32 years in a public school system. She has earned a master’s in business administration from Thomas College. Cheryl works with local school systems to establish and maintain safety and training programs. Although safety for students and staff remains the number one objective, a focus is also made on, efficiency, environmental impact, and reliability.

You can contact Cheryl for:

  • Information on School Bus Safety & Training
  • School Bus Purchase Program
  • Transportation Data & Reports
  • Information on obtaining commercial driver's license.


Bridgette Gilbert

School Emergency Management Coordinator

Bridgette was a police officer for 26 years. Sixteen of those years were spent as a School Resource Officer in rural Maine. She was the primary investigator for sexual assault and child abuse cases for many years. Her passion is school safety and security, always striving to make the schools safer for students and staff. She worked closely with local emergency services, the school’s administrative team, social workers, school counseling, and day treatment program. Bridgette was a member of the schools Safety Team, Crisis Team, BARR Program, Homeless Committee, and Threat Assessment Team. Bridgette also helped students who had food insecurity. She currently volunteers at the local food pantry. Bridgette earned her associates degree in Criminal Justice.

You can contact Bridgette for:

  • Planning for your school's Comprehensive Health and Safety and Emergency Management Plan
  • Resources for Emergency Operations Plans
  • Emergency Management training and education
  • Emergency Exercises and Drills


Rebekah Sousa, MPH

Food Security Champion

Rebekah began working at SOM DOE in June 2021 as an Americorps VISTA- part of the campaign to end hunger by 2030. Prior to that, she worked as an Ed Tech in the Pathways program and Resource room, as a community manager for a homeless shelter and as an Air Force medic- with an emphasis on teaching field first-aid and public health practices.  As a mother of 7, the school environment is very important to Rebekah, and she is grateful to champion food security with the MSSC.  “Even if it’s not my kids who are hungry, it is kids in my kid’s class...”

Rebekah holds a Masters in Public Health and a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology.

You can contact Rebekah for:

  • Information on local anti-poverty/ anti-hunger resources,
  • Help in establishing in-school pantries, weekend meals programs, classroom snack sourcing, other evening/ weekend/ school closure food access programs, and
  • Most recent data on food needs across the state.


Staci Warren

Office Manager

Staci has a B.A. in Liberal Studies, with minors in Childhood Behavior & Psychology from the University of Maine System.

She began working at SOM DOE in June 2020. Prior to that, she worked for University of Maine Augusta, as Assistant Director of University Advancement and Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Affairs.