Julia Shoun has joined Colorado Academy as Co-Director of Campus Security. She will be working with Co-Director Ed Bleã.
What intrigued you about working in security at CA?
I was intrigued by the challenge of securing a very large campus. CA already has very good security in place, and the people working security at CA really impressed me—they are top-notch. I could see the opportunity to use my previous experience to even further develop security protocols at CA, and I think I can add value to CA’s security team.
Where were you working before CA?
For the past five years, I have been the Manager for Security Operations for Jefferson County Schools. I oversaw 27 campuses for regular and non-traditional high schools, all of which had open campuses. I had more than 85 employees under my supervision. In that position, I developed a protocol that implemented consistent security practices on all 27 campuses.
You are also still working for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office?
Yes, I’ve been with the Sheriff’s Office for 15 years now, the last 5 years part-time after I started working for Jeffco schools. I really like the challenge of the work, and I know I am doing a good job keeping people in the community safe.
Where are you from originally?
I went to high school at Rapid City Central in Rapid City, South Dakota. I loved doing debate and playing tennis. I had a mile-wide independent streak as a student, but I still managed to graduate at the top of my class. We had no concerns about security back in those days. I think our biggest concern was getting with the “in crowd.”
How did you end up in law enforcement?
I started my education at the University of South Dakota, and I ended it at Metro State University, graduating with a dual major in criminal justice and criminology and political science. While I was in school, I raised my three daughters as a single mom, and I worked, so it took me a while to finish. I got my BA the same year my middle daughter, who is now 28, graduated from high school! We had a dual celebration.
I was always interested in police work, and I met a police officer who asked if I wanted to come on a ride-along—essentially shadow him on his job. I did it and I loved it. Then, it was just a matter of getting the degree and coursework finished.
How were you hired for your first law enforcement job by Jefferson County without previous experience?
(Laughing) At the interview, I remember saying, “I have three teenage daughters. I have a lot of experience in law enforcement!”
Given how much you loved your work in the sheriff’s office, why transition into school security?
I like new challenges. All of my daughters had attended Jefferson County schools, including my youngest who went to Columbine High School. I knew the system as a parent, and I felt I could take it to a new level as a professional.
What are you looking forward to at Colorado Academy?
I am looking forward to focusing on just one campus. I also like the culture and the climate at the school. I’m very impressed by how adults and children interact at CA. It almost feels like you are in a home rather than at a school. I enjoy working with small children in a positive way, praising them for making the right choices, so this job will give me that opportunity. I believe students learn best when they feel safe, and I want to reinforce all the systems already in place at CA which make children feel safe.