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Sheriff Brian Winter School Safety Awards

Safety and security can be a challenging and thankless task. We don’t think it should be, and neither did Sheriff Brian Winter. That’s why, with his help, we started the Sheriff Brian Winter School Safety Award in 2019. As most of you know, Brian was instrumental in establishing the SSOCC (School Safely Operations & Coordinator Center). Even though he is no longer with us, his professionalism, courage, inspiration, and wisdom are still felt in everything we do.  He was our first hero. Today, we recognize three more. There are four criteria for this award: progress, attitude, consistency, and safety mindset. Brian exemplified all of them, as do this year’s winners. Please join us in celebrating their tremendous accomplishments

**Note: due to unavoidable circumstances, these are last year’s winners. We’ll be back on track this fall to award the current 2022-23 winners.


Career and Background

  • HS History Teacher - South Umpqua HS 2002-2004
  • HS History Teacher, Safety Committee - Goldendale HS, 2005-2013
  • AD/Dean of Students - Goldendale MS, 2012-2013
  • AD/Asst Principal - Highland JH & HS, 2013-2018
  • Principal - Highland JH, 2018-present
  • HIB Compliance Officer - Highland School District, 2013-present

Fun Facts

  • Father of four daughters, husband to an amazing wife… one lucky dude
  • Twin to Wapato HS Athletic Director, we are the youngest of six siblings… two lucky dudes
  • Colorectal Cancer Survivor… fortunate & lucky again
  • Senior offensive lineman during Husky Football Coach Kalen DeBoer's first college coaching season at the University of Sioux Falls (2000)... one lucky Dawg!

-- Don Strother


Don has a heart of gold. He is a selfless, genuinely caring person, who is full of love for his school, his students, his community, and his family. Not to mention, he is not afraid to brighten your day with a dad joke or two! 


Don has gone above and beyond for his school. He personifies the true essence of a Protector with his attitude of loving sacrifice. Not only has Don kept his school safe, improved and innovated school safety for his staff, students, and their parents, held constant safety meetings and trainings, coordinated safety drills, and completed safety plans, but he has done it all while battling cancer (he even took monthly progress calls while on the drive back from treatment!).


Don is a true inspiration, not only to the SSOCC, but to all of our schools and our entire community. He is a Protector through and through. It is an honor to work with him. And... that is why he has received first place for the Sheriff Brian Winter School Safety Award!


Thank you, Don, for keeping your school safe.


--Jacob Milner, SSOCC Operations Specialist