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Founder & Chief Executive Officer at the Institute for Childhood Preparedness

Andrew Roszak, JD, MPA, EMT-Paramedic, serves as the Founder & Chief Executive Officer for the Institute for Childhood Preparedness, as Chief of Preparedness, Health and Environment for the Region II Head Start Association and as an adjunct professor in the school of community and environmental health at Old Dominion University. Since 2015, he has been working full time on emergency preparedness, response and recovery issues impacting the early childhood sector – child care and family child care programs, afterschool care, Head Start and Early Head Start. Roszak was formerly the Senior Director of Emergency Preparedness at Child Care Aware of America, Senior Public Health Advisor for the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Emergency Care Coordination Center and Senior Director of Environmental Health, Pandemic Preparedness and Catastrophic Response at the National Association of County and City Health Officials, where he worked each day to help prepare communities and the healthcare sector for pandemics and disasters. Roszak began his emergency preparedness career as a firefighter, paramedic and is certified as a hazardous materials technician and in hazardous materials operations. Roszak also served as Health Policy Fellow for the United States Senate Budget and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees during the 110th and 111th Congress. Roszak is admitted to practice law in Illinois, the District of Columbia and before the US Supreme Court. He holds a certificate in early childhood leadership from Harvard. 



Senior Safety Advisor

Ronald serves as the senior safety advisor for the Institute for Childhood Preparedness. Previously, Ron has served as a subject matter emergency preparedness expert for Child Care Aware® of America, supporting their Emergency Preparedness Team. Ronald has over 20 years of distinguished service as a law enforcement professional, including experience as a patrol officer, tactical unit supervisor, watch commander, detective and community outreach officer. Ronald has a long history of conducting community outreach and training and was one of the first community educators for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Program. He has received specialized instructor training from the Los Angeles Police Department, is a graduate of Marquette University, and is certified as an active shooter instructor from the ALICE Training Institute, which specializes in active shooter trainings for civilians.

Ronald’s experience also includes conducting corporate investigations, including fraud detection and prevention and private security for Fortune 500 companies. In recognition for his outstanding service, Ronald has been awarded Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.

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Leah Smith | Chief Operating Officer

Leah serves as Director of Customer Success for the Institute for Childhood Preparedness. She has over eight years of experience working on project management, process optimization, and client relations in the technology and nonprofit sector. Over the course of Leah's career, she designed and managed the quality assurance programs for two large global customer experience teams, and through data collection and analysis, was able to streamline and implement new processes to improve the efficiency of the teams and their interaction with stakeholders across the company. As Director of Customer Success at the Institute, Leah handles planning, communication, and logistics for all potential and ongoing clients, and helps plan in-person and online events and conferences for up to 1000 attendees. Leah also manages ongoing projects for the Institute, sources and implements tools to improve efficiency of processes, and assists in designing and distribution of marketing materials.

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Bradley Fisher, MPA | Associate Director of Logistics and Operations

Bradley Fisher serves as the Associate Director of Logistics and Operations for the Institute for Childhood Preparedness. Fisher comes to us with 20 years of public administration experience. Fisher has worked in government administration and has a deep understanding of policy review and implementation. Fisher also has training in Homeland Security from the University of Illinois, Springfield. This training gives him a deep understanding of … Furthermore, Fisher also has background in Criminal Justice from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and has worked with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Fisher also has worked as a lobbyist and has deep understanding in government process, policy, and compliance. Fisher brings a unique skill set to ICP that helps us review, design and implement policy to make our facilities safer.

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Ruth Kvistad | Legal/Policy Intern

Ruth Kvistad is currently a MD/JD student at Southern Illinois University, Ruth holds a deep passion for issues that sit at the intersection of law and medicine, such as public health and the safety of our nation’s children. Ruth brings a diverse range of experiences and a unique skill set to the Institute. With a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, Ruth's academic foundation reflects her inherent curiosity and analytical thinking. During her undergraduate tenure, she also worked in a biochemistry lab doing cancer research and has teaching experience both in the classroom as a supplemental instructor to multiple Biology courses. As a legal intern, Ruth leverages her knowledge in health, law, and philosophy to support the institute's initiatives in safeguarding the well-being and safety of children.

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David Banaszynski | Environmental Health Expert

David Banaszynski serves as an environmental health officer, where he works each day to protect his community from illness and disease.  He has 20-years of experience. His work includes inspecting food establishments, child care facilities, public pools, and a myriad of other businesses to ensure they are operating in compliance with public health rules and regulations. Mr. Banaszynski also serves as a member of the State Board of Health and as past-president of the Illinois Environmental Health Association.  Mr. Banaszynski has years of expertise as an environmental health officer and collaborates extensively with other organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Environmental Health Association and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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Dr. L.J. Samuel | Criminologist

Dr. L.J. Samuel is a criminologist with expertise in police-community relations, police misconduct, risk management, community engagement, and interpersonal violence. With over ten years working with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Washington, DC she is a leading expert in Early Identification and Intervention System (EIS). She also served as the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Division. A forward thinker and innovator, Dr. Samuel created and oversaw the MPD Fitness Challenge, a health and wellness initiative designed to better the health of MPD officers. This hard work and dedication earned her the honor of the 2012 MPD Employee of the Year.

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Dr. Betsy Kagey | Public Health and Emergency Preparedness Expert

Dr. Betsy Kagey has worked in public health for over 40 years and emergency preparedness and response for 15 years and she most recently worked with the Georgia Department of Public Health. Her primary focus includes planning and preparing for and with vulnerable populations. Dr. Kagey currently resides in Upstate New York and consults on public health emergency preparedness, planning, and response.


Demi Woods | Senior Medical Researcher

Demi Woods will graduate with her Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree this December. She is specializing in Diagnostic Radiology with a keen interest in Breast Imaging/ Mammography. She has been a part of our team since 2018. During this time, she has planned preparedness trainings, assisted with blog posts, and is contributing greatly to our upcoming book. What makes her a great asset to our team is not only her medical knowledge, but her interest in public health. While Woods has always had an interest in public health, from 2015-2017 she attended numerous public health seminars at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee to further explore the public health crises surrounding her local community. Additionally, she traveled to Puerto Rico with our team in 2018 to work with the local public health sector and Head Start programs within that region. She is currently serving as Senior Medical Researcher, and her extreme interest in public health and background in medicine will allow Woods to be an integral part of our team.


Zakary Woods, MD | Senior Medical Researcher

Zakary Woods is a 2nd year pediatrics resident at the University of Florida and is applying to fellowship in pediatric cardiology.  Zak has worked with a multitude of pediatric organizations with patient populations ranging from neonates in the NICU to teenagers in high school. After witnessing the impact emergency situations, natural disasters, and the COVID-19 pandemic have on pediatric populations, Woods’ passion for advocacy for one of mankind’s most vulnerable populations led him to join our team.



Andrew Roszak serves on the advisory board for the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation

COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic: Considerations for Early Childhood Professionals EdWebinar ranks number 8 out of 450 webinars on EdWebinar's list of top webinars of 2020

Received recognition from Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland:

Received recognition from Governor Northam of Virginia:

Received recognition from Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey

Andrew Roszak serves on the advisory board for Domestic Preparedness

Independent Author Network 2020 IAN Book of the Year Award in Career/Occupation and Social Issues

Received recognition from Senator Warner of Virginia:

Received recognition from Senator Manchin of West Virginia


2023 Region II Head Start Association Conference White Paper

Published a white paper detailing the impact of Hurricanes Maria and Irma on early childhood programs and children in the US Virgin Islands

Proud to serve as a national partner for Sesame Street and Sesame Street in Communities. Distributed 56,000 copies of the Sesame Street Resiliency for Children curriculum in Puerto Rico and 18,000 in the US Virgin Islands.

Partnered with Kids and Cars to prevent heatstroke-related illness and death.

Partnered with the Kansas Head Start Association to provide active shooter training across the entire State of Kansas

Published Emergency Preparedness Plans and Perceptions Among a Sample of United States Childcare Providers (Leser, Looper-Coats, & Roszak, 2019) in the Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness Journal

Published Preschool Preparedness for an Active Shooter through Kaplan and Gryphon House Publishing. Now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kaplan and Gryphon House. This is the only known book that focuses solely on active shooter preparedness in a pre-Kindergarten setting.

Published a white paper detailing the impact of Hurricanes Maria and Irma on early childhood programs and children in  Puerto Rico

Served as an instructor to train the new members of the US Virgin Islands Environmental Health Division – on how to conduct inspections in early childhood facilities and at K-12 schools.

Conducted workshops to bring together early childhood professionals, public health officials, emergency management and child care licensing. Example- State of Georgia

Presented at the BUILD QRIS National Conference

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