Getting to Know Michael O'Donnell
(219) 374- 3500 ext. 3882
Director of School Safety and Security, Michael O'Donnell
“We’re very similar in backgrounds and interests,” said new Director of School Safety and Security, Michael O’Donnell with a chuckle referring to former Director, Lane Linder. Indeed there are remarkable similarities, but Mr. O’Donnell does bring some unique and impressive credentials to his new position within the Hanover Community School Corporation. Mr. O'Donnell's service as Director of School Safety and Security began on July 3, 2018.
A NWI native, Mr. O’Donnell is a graduate of the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Bloomington, IN and holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from the Indiana University Northwest, School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “I always wanted to be a policeman and made my educational choices to accommodate an appropriate path to achieve that goal,” said Mr. O’Donnell. In addition to a full career as a Police Officer and School Resource Officer with the Highland Police Department, Mr. O’Donnell joins Hanover having most recently served as a teacher at Lowell High School, teaching Introduction to Criminal Justice, Introduction to Criminology, Traffic Investigation and Criminal Investigation.
“In my last twelve years with the Highland Police Department, I had the opportunity to serve as the School Resource Officer and I got to see education from the inside. It helped confirm my thought that when my years as an active duty officer were over, I would like to teach. As a teacher at Lowell last year, I realized that I missed safety and security. I believe providing safety and security in a school setting is an absolutely essential part of the education environment today. This position will enable me to utilize my experience and training to help ensure the safety of Hanover students and staff,” explained Mr. O’Donnell.
Outside his role as Director of School Safety and Security for Hanover schools, Mr. O’Donnell is a happy husband to his wife of nearly 30 years, Traci, an x-ray technician for a spine surgeon. Together the couple are the proud parents of four grown children. They have twin daughters, Kelsey and Morgan, both of whom are nurses. Kelsey is currently pursuing her Nurse Practitioner license and Morgan is working on her Doctorate. Daughter, Brittany is a financial analyst for Wabash National, a nationwide company that builds semi trailers. The youngest O’Donnell, is son, Trevor who has followed in his father’s footsteps and serves as a Police Officer with the Dyer Police Department. All four children are graduates of St. Joseph's College.
Much like his predecessor, Mr. O’Donnell is a motorcycle enthusiast and recently purchased a new Harley Davidson Ultra Limited and loves to tour with his wife. He also enjoys gardening, but his most rewarding outside activity is being a grandparent to three year old grandson, Gatlin. The O’Donnell’s are expecting their second grandchild at the end of July, 2018.
Michael O'Donnell and his wife, Traci O'Donnell with their new ride
Mr. O’Donnell’s professional affiliations include membership and board service with both the Lake County Safe Schools Commission and the Lake County Substance Abuse Council, He is an active member of the Indiana School Resource Officer Association. As he moves into his role as Director of School Safety and Security, Mr. O’Donnell looks forward to continuing the currently implemented Standard Response Protocol and further education of staff, students and community partners about new initiatives and advancements in school safety and security.
“I want parents to know that the most important thing they can do is to stay involved and engaged with their children. It’s essential that parents take an active role in their children’s lives,” said Mr. O’Donnell. “I’ve seen the results of children who haven’t had strong parental influence and can’t stress how important their participation is to their child’s education and well being,” he added.