Rick Phillips

Rick Phillips's picture


Rick Phillips, M.S. Ed.


Founder, Community Matters

Summary of Qualifications

Rick is known for his expertise and extensive work in the field of school climate improvement. He is the founder and former executive director of Community Matters, a 22 year nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to equip, empower and engage students and adults to create schools and communities that are welcoming, safe and inclusive. Through their evidenced based program, Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA), they have worked with over 1,700 schools across North America, Puerto Rico and Guam to improve the climate and culture of schools. Rick and Community Matters have also developed The Whole School Climate Framework, a comprehensive, clear and integrated model that provides educational leaders with a blueprint and the tools for effectively planning, implementing and measuring the many mandates, requirements and initiatives related to school climate improvement. 


As the founder of Community Matters, Rick has recently retired from the day to day operations, but remains closely involved as a consultant and speaker for the organization. Rick is recognized as a thought leader and a nationally sought after educator, speaker and trainer. He has been a keynote presenter and workshop leader at more than 350 national and state conferences and many regional educational services centers. He has appeared on The Today Show, CNN Headline News, and NPR. He is the lead author of Safe School Ambassadors: Harnessing Student Power to Stop Bullying and Violence (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, 2008) and Ten Years after Columbine: School Violence-Prevention Report Card.

Professional Affiliations

Past President (1991 - 1996), - California Association of Peer Programs
Past President (1995 - 1996), - Youth Service California
Past Board Member - (1994 - 1999) National Peer Helpers Association  
Advisory Committee Member - (1995 - 1998) National Crime Prevention Council


Master of Science - University of Southern California (Education)

Bachelor of Arts - California State University, Los Angeles (History)


Member for
3 years 9 months