Rick Puente, Public Safety Director
When Rick Puente was in the 3rd grade, he knew he wanted to be a police officer. If that didn't work out, he wanted to be the governor of Oregon. In 2000, Rick realized his childhood ambition when he became a reserve police officer with the City of Hubbard. Two years later, he went on to work for the Woodburn Police Department.
While at Woodburn, Rick worked as an officer, detective, school resource officer, hostage negotiator, instructor and community police liaison. Rick brings that wealth of knowledge and experience to his new role as Public Safety Director of the Beaverton School District. "With every role comes the good and the bad. I made it a goal to embrace both, which helped me build and shape my character," says Rick.
Rick was born in Portland and raised in the Salem-Keizer area. To say he comes from a large family is something of an understatement. He grew up with 12 siblings. While several have passed away, Rick is very close to his remaining brothers and sister, performing with them in a band. Rick and his wife have three kids, and recently celebrated their 17th anniversary.
On the job for just four weeks, Rick says he knew that his experience would be an asset in his new role with the District. "My key focus is to take what we're doing and make it better." He recognizes that a major challenge in a district with 51 schools and more than 40,000 students is building close relationships. He's spent a lot of time in the last few weeks visiting schools and connecting with building administrators. "School administrators are focused on educating the kids. There is a lot on their plates." Rick says when it comes to school safety, it is essential that administrators take the lead in their buildings. "School safety is bigger than a fire drill, an earthquake drill, or a bus drill."
School safety looks different today than it did 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Rick's philosophy is simple, "When evil wants to do evil, evil will do evil. It is how well we are trained and prepared as a school district, as administrators, as staff, as students, that will determine how much damage evil does." Rick believes to make our schools as safe as possible, we need to prioritize safety over convenience. "If we are choosing convenience over safety, then we're not doing the right thing for our kids and our schools."