NESSI Faculty and Associates

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Frank Quiambao | Founding Director

Frank Quiambao is the Founding Director of the National Education Safety and Security

Initiative (NESSI) in the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. Frank has spent 35 years in higher education. He has held numerous faculty and administrative positions with the California State University and Community Colleges. While in higher education, he worked extensively with education and training programs for law enforcement, fire technology and emergency medical services. He was appointed by the State Chancellor to chair the California Community Colleges Homeland Security Task Force. During his career he served as president of two colleges.

Prior to his assignment at UCLA, Frank served as the Director of the Safe Communities Institute, formerly DCI, in the Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California.

From 2005 to 2014 Frank served in homeland security at the state and federal level. First, in the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), formerly the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security.  In this capacity he worked in the area of critical infrastructure protection and countering violent extremism. He also developed partnerships with business, educational institutions and faith-based communities to promote emergency preparedness. More recently he was assigned as a DHS loaned executive attached to the U.S. Secret Service focusing on school security. Frank holds a doctorate in education from Nova Southeastern University.

Bryan "Scorpio" Astrachan | NESSI Presenter

Bryan Astrachan is the Coordinator of the National Education Safety and Security Initiative (NESSI) in the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. Bryan has spent several years in education including K-12, college and university. He is a leading expert in the arena of safe schools, school administration, school law, and juvenile procedures. He has held numerous posts dealing with administration, discipline, Child Welfare Attendance (CWA), and school safety, in addition to being primary school safety trainer including partnership development with school districts and the County Office of Education. Bryan's unique experience with law enforcement, military, and educational administration allows him to deliver instruction on a multiple levels, from executives to the "Boots On The Ground" teams.

Bryan is also the NESSI Governmental Affairs Representative who works closely with California Department of Education (CDE), Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), and law enforcement partners. Bryan is a POST certified academy instructor and our Terrorism Liason Officer (TLO) Coordinator with the Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Bryan provides contract services to school districts, county office of education and charter schools; services include background investigations, uniform complaint investigations, employer/employee relations, and internal affairs investigations. 

Jill Barnes | NESSI Presenter

Dr. Barnes is the Executive Emergency Strategist for the Los Angeles Unified School District, providing emergency management for the district. She advises schools on emergency procedures, writes guidance documents, oversees emergency-related training, manages the Emergency Operations Center, and acts as a liaison to government and community agencies during emergencies. She is also a consultant to federal agencies, including the US Department of Education, FEMA, and the Unites States Geological Survey.  Dr. Barnes is a former Police Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department and a former Public Information Officer for the Santa Monica Fire Department. She has also worked as a middle school teacher, Coordinator, and Dean of Student Discipline in LAUSD – along with various other roles and responsibilities. She is currently working on her fifth university degree.

Dr. Tony Beliz | NESSI Presenter

Dr. Tony Beliz is a licensed clinical and forensic psychologist who trains and lectures nationally and internationally on Behavioral Threat Assessment, Emerging Trends in Targeted Violence, Interviewing Strategies, and Trauma Event Management.

Dr. Beliz is a consultant to private and public educational institutions, security firms, and global  corporations on risk assessment, risk management, and special circumstances.  He trains educators, mental health providers, law enforcement, and threat management teams on violence threat risk assessment and has been featured on HBO, CNN, CBS, New York Times, and local media. As the former Deputy Director, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Emergency Outreach Bureau, Dr. Beliz developed and supervised the Los Angeles County School Threat Assessment Response Team (START), Special Prevention Unit (SPU), and other field based units.

Dr. Beliz is an Instructor, University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy, Safe Communities Initiative focused on countering violent extremism.  He serves as Expert Witness for the Los Angeles County Superior Court and State of California Board of Psychology. He is a Diplomate in the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and American College of Forensic Examiners. 

Andrew Carlson | NESSI Presenter


Andrew Carlson is a ASIS Certified Protection Professional and a Certified Business Continuity Professional through Disaster Recovery Institute International. In his current role he conducts security vulnerability assessments on request in support of first responder agencies in the greater Los Angeles area.



Ray Casillas | NESSI Presenter

Ray Casillas is a first responder with over three decades of operational experience, working as firefighter/paramedic.  For 22 years, he has been collaterally assigned to his city’s SWAT team as the Senior Tactical EMS (TEMS) Specialist. 

As a contemporary, he has pioneered many first responder best practices, policies and training programs in existence today.  Examples include, comprehensive interdisciplinary response to active shooter, Tactical (Fire/EMS & Police) Unified Command and Control, and all levels of Tactical EMS (TEMS) training and education, which are used to train physicians, nurses, firefighters, police officers, paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). Some of these courses are approved by state governing bodies.  He was one of the first in the nation to call for and translated the revered military Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) curriculuum into a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) approved civilian training model for allied responders. 

Adding to Ray’s credentials, he was recently interviewed for a “Special Talk” by the esteemed peer reviewed journal, the Journal of Special Operations Medicine (JSOM).  He has presented on similar related topics at a National DHS Conference, several California Fire Chiefs’ conferences and has consulted numerous senior executives across the country regarding first responder interoperability and school safety and security. 

Academically, Ray has attended numerous discipline specific trade schools.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Fire Science and is pursuing a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree.   Ray has attended the University of Southern California’s (USC) Sol Price School of Public Safety Leadership program and is in the process of completing their Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE) course as well.         

Rick DeMartino | NESSI Presenter

After four years of military service and Viet Nam service, Rick was appointed to the Los Angeles Police Department where he served for over 37 years.  During his tenure on the LAPD, Rick participated for six years in an innovative model for investigating unsolved gang murders.

Having worked undercover for almost two decades as an LAPD Detective Supervisor, Rick was recognized by law enforcement and the courts as an expert in undercover investigations, and was the Los Angeles Police Department’s expert on Informant Management and Control.  Rick was a Peace Officer Standards of Training (POST) instructor and has taught in those areas to officers, supervisors and managers from dozens of law enforcement agencies throughout the western states.

As a Lieutenant, Rick served as an Incident Commander on numerous shooting crime scenes in Los Angeles.

After the attacks of 9-11, Rick was assigned as the Officer in Charge to manage the development of a program to protect the Critical Infrastructure (CI) in the City of Los Angeles.  The program, funded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was called “Operation Archangel”.  In this assignment he oversaw the process for the assessment of Critical Infrastructure.  He managed a training program that instructed other jurisdictions in the methodology of Critical Asset Assessment and Protection.  Additionally, Rick recruited, selected and arranged for training of 22 highly skilled police officers to staff the Protective Security Task Force (PSTF); a team of plain clothes officers which provided a high risk cloak of protection against a terrorist attack over critical assets.  Rick maintained the Automated Critical Asset Management System (ACAMS); a very sensitive national database to protect against a terrorist attack.

Rick has used many of his prevention, protection and security skills to develop strategies to protect educational institutions.  Rick has been a contributor to the development of the National Education Security and Safety Initiative since its inception.  He currently instructs on Counter Terrorism, Active Shooters and School Security for Educators.

Deborah Tull | NESSI Presenter

Dr. Deborah Tull has had a 38-year history with the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) serving in numerous roles including counselor, instructor and administrator. She has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation and Community College Counseling. She has worked collaboratively with law enforcement entities on violence prevention training within the Los Angeles area for the past fifteen years.   She has served as an instructor for USC’s Safe Communities Institute for the past three years and is currently serving as an instructor for USC’s LAPD Lead Program. 

Areas of professional accomplishment have been recognized with numerous state and local awards and include programs for students with disabilities, sexual assault and domestic violence prevention, and college student mental health.  Her community leadership efforts include service on advisory committees with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health to develop collaborative college programs which support individuals with mental health challenges, Third Party Assessor for the State of California to mediate conflict between the Welfare Department and welfare recipients, and the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office to conduct research on adolescent suicide prevention.  Additionally, she has a long history serving as a Technical Assistance Expert for colleges, agencies and professional organizations needing training on mental health related issues (Mental Health 101, Suicide Prevention, Stigma and Discrimination Reduction, Achieving Success through Successful Community Collaboration, Development of Cost-Effective, and Student Friendly On-campus Mental Health Programs). 

She is currently serving as the Executive Director of VentionWorks, LLC which offers colleges, communities and businesses mental health prevention, intervention, and postvention training and program development opportunities.  Most recently, she has served as a lead researcher on two National Council on Disability Projects which are nationwide in scope: (1) College and University Student Mental Health Services and Supports Project and (2) A Federal Project targeting sexual assault services and supports for students with disabilities. Data from the Projects are being used to inform the President of the United States and Congress along with other government entities and colleges and universities across the United States.  She is also currently serving as a member of the Los Angeles Superior Court Mental Health Think Tank.