Joseph M. McKenna is a Senior Research Associate for WestEd’s Justice and Prevention Research Center. He works collaboratively with local districts, government entities, community-based organizations, and other partners to conduct research, evaluation, and policy analysis and to provide technical assistance that informs efforts to increase safety for individuals, schools, and communities. He is the Principal Investigator on an NIJ-funded evaluation of statewide school safety centers and the lead implementation partner on several Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) STOP grants with state governments and local school districts.
Prior to joining WestEd, McKenna served as the Deputy Superintendent for Comal ISD (TX), where he oversaw all operational aspects of the district from both a programmatic and management perspective. Prior to that, McKenna served as the Executive Director of Safety and Student Support for Comal ISD, where he was responsible for ensuring district compliance with all state and federal requirements related to school safety as well as implementing best practices to ensure all staff and students had a safe learning environment. He also oversaw the district’s student support services department, which provides mental health and crisis supports to students and staff.
Additionally, McKenna spent over seven years at the Texas School Safety Center, exiting as the Associate Director. In this position, he oversaw all operations of the research and education divisions, including the implementation of all legislative mandates and programming (i.e., technical assistance, training programs, and resource development).
McKenna received his PhD in criminal justice from Texas State University, where almost all his work focused on school safety. He has published numerous articles in academic journals, technical reports, and other scholarly products.