Round Rock ISD Superintendent Steve Flores, Ph.D., announced a re-organization of the District’s administrative structure Wednesday to include an expansion of the Safety and Security office and a new position of Director of Behavioral Health.
As part of the new structure, Jeffrey Yarbrough will be promoted from Director to Executive Director of Safety and Security. Behavioral Health and Risk Management will now be under the Safety and Security umbrella.
“We often say that safety is our No. 1 priority and we mean that. We know that students cannot learn if they don’t feel safe. And we also know that part of feeling safe is access to resources to help students deal with behavioral, mental and emotional issues,” Flores said. “In Round Rock ISD, we are here to help and develop the whole child, and this new structure will strengthen our ability to do that successfully.”
“We also understand that safety encompasses a wide range of issues, from School Resource Officers to technology tools, emergency drills and environmental factors,” Flores continued. “We are assembling a team to ensure all of those issues are addressed, monitored and evolving as necessary.”
The District is also creating a new position of Director of Behavioral Health that will report to Yarbrough. The position is aimed at improving student academic achievement and well-being by providing mental health services and will include overseeing programs for students who are in crisis or at risk due to depression, grief, suicidal ideation, anger, inadequate social skills, disruptive behavior or family problems.
A citizen’s task force focused on student and staff safety in the District reported to the Board of Trustees in September after spending a year researching the issue. A chief priority for task force members was addressing prevention and behavioral health issues in any long term strategy for safety in the District.
“We are so appreciative of the citizens who gave up significant time from their personal and professional lives to address this important topic and we couldn’t agree more that a holistic approach to safety is critical given the challenges schools face today,” Yarbrough said. “I am confident this connectivity between traditional safety and security and behavioral health could become a national model and I am so proud to serve this District in leading the charge.”
Yarbrough has served as Round Rock ISD’s Director of Safety and Security since April 2019. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operations Officer and Chief of Police for Bastrop ISD, overseeing safety operations, emergency services, security, transportation, food services, maintenance, construction, facilities, energy management and more. He has also served as an investigator in the Public Integrity Unit for the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, a senior investigator for the State Bar of Texas, and Assistant City Manager and Chief of Police for the City of Tulia. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Yarbrough served in the 101st Airborne Division and was a Distinguished Honor Graduate of the Advanced Training Program.
He holds a master’s degree from Texas A&M University and a bachelor’s degree from The University of Texas at Brownsville.
In addition to his new duties, Yarbrough will continue to be responsible for coordinating security for all campus and District events and serving as the liaison between the District and law enforcement agencies in emergency situations, ongoing training and security issues, and the School Resource Officer program, currently staffed by officers from the Round Rock Police Department, Williamson County Sheriff’s Office and the Austin Community College Police Department.