Ivymount Director Champions Security and Safety

Ivymount Director Champions Security and Safety
Posted on 09/19/2019

Successful organizations often require people to wear many hats, and Ivymount’s Lee Oppenheim wears about as many hats as there are moving parts on the campus. As Director of Finance and Operations, and the organization’s Incident Commander, Lee leads multiple teams that are responsible for complex accounting and financial compliance, facilities and parking, IT systems, plus safety and security for students and staff.

During her 23 years at Ivymount, Lee has overseen major renovation projects, introduced new technology, and created new accounting systems. She also negotiates most of the major contracts for the Ivymount Corporation. From securing long-awaited new stage curtains, to negotiating leases, to improving IT functioning, to spearheading the installation of new playground equipment and a brand new sport court, to rolling out new emergency communications technology, Lee is at the heart of major improvements at Ivymount School and the Maddux School.

“The goal for me and my teams is to ensure the financial health of our organizations while at the same time ensuring the physical and electronic safety and security of our students and staff.”

An Advocate for Safety

Recognizing the national concern over violence in schools, Lee has recently undertaken a multi-year effort to improve school safety and security through advocacy, capital improvements, and training. “We need to provide an environment where everyone feels safe so they can learn and thrive,” says Lee. “To accomplish this, we need to provide physical security as well as training that is adapted for our students. Safety and security have become essential components of school life.”

Lee’s outreach with MANSEF to state legislators has resulted in the inclusion of nonpublic schools in safety legislation - Senate Bill 318 (see photo of Lee, back row, celebrating passage of the bill). She's also helped secure representation on the Maryland State School Safety Advisory Board, creation of grant opportunities, and allocation of designated funding for safety initiatives.

Ivymount has secured $250,000 in state and county grants for security upgrades, such as the new Visitor Management system, added security cameras, and enhanced safety features in the building lobby. 

Representing Ivymount, Lee has been a key member of a statewide task force which is creating new curriculum guidelines for emergency preparedness for individuals with disabilities. Once finalized, they will be incorporated into the state department of education’s guidelines and shared nationally.

Underlying all of Lee’s diverse efforts is a desire to care for the Ivymount community that has become an integral part of her own family’s life over more than two decades. “The students, staff, and Ivymount are also my family and my home,” says Lee. “I try to take care of them with that in mind.” 

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