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                      They Call Me "Mr. De," by Frank DeAngelis

 

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“In They Call Me ‘Mr. De,’ Frank DeAngelis reflects on the enduring
resilience and hope of the Columbine community that grieved and
healed together in the aftermath of that terrible day in April of 1999.
This book is a testament to the power of compassion in the face of crisis
and the age-old belief that leaders are not born but made.”
President Bill Clinton
 
 “Frank DeAngelis’ leadership is inspiring, and his insights and compassion
are balm on the wounds of communities wracked by gun violence
and other tragedies. At this pivotal moment in our nation, They
Call Me ‘Mr. De,’ is a must-read for all who seek a pathway to healing and
believe that pain should not be wasted, since it can be a source of hope
and redemption.”
Gerda Weissmann Klein, Holocaust survivor
and founder of Citizenship Counts,
recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
 
 “Frank DeAngelis offers us a rare window into a personal journey
few have traveled and fewer have paved. Through his candor about
helping a community recover from an unspeakable tragedy and his
unwavering focus on relationships, he shows us how respect for others,
empathetic leadership, and bravery can improve the world and deepen
our humanity.”
Kristina Anderson, founder, The Koshka Foundation
for Safe Schools
 
“An incredible book written by an incredible human being. For some
reason, Frank DeAngelis was put in the position to lead a community
through one of the worst school tragedies in history. They Call Me ‘Mr. De’
illustrates Frank’s leadership, compassion, faith, and vulnerability at a
time when those around Frank needed him most. It is an honor to know
this great man and call him my friend.”
Scott Bemis, retired president and
publisher Denver Business Journal
 
“Frank DeAngelis sounds a clarion call of hope in a time that, if
we’re not careful, can seem hopeless—especially to our youngest generations.
Tempered in the crucible of unimaginable tragedy, DeAngelis’
voice emerges optimistic and inspiring. Please read this book. We need
its message now more than ever.”
Steve Farber, author, The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and
Greater Than Yourself; founder and chairman,
The Extreme Leadership Institute
 
“While the world was watching, Frank DeAngelis worked a miracle
by allowing his humanity to be his standard! This book is for every
leader in every profession; it is the truth about trauma, recovery, and
moving forward while never forgetting.”
J. Kevin Cameron, executive director, North American Center for
Threat Assessment and Trauma Response
 
“Surely the best, most personal, profound, emotional, heart-wrenching,
compelling book ever written about the senseless and tragic attack
at Columbine. Irrefutable proof that we must, can and are doing more to
ensure safe schools. Frank DeAngelis has given us the gift of honesty,
resilience, and recovery. Now it’s up to us. No amount of theory from
those who have never experienced a school shooting can replace the
truth and power of experience of our hero Frank DeAngelis. They Call Me
‘Mr. De’ should be required reading for every educator, school resource
officer, and parent.”
Theresa Campbell, president, Safer Schools Together
 
“There was a realization on April 20, 1999, that our nation was catapulted
into an entirely new world of school safety. Both heartwarming
and heartbreaking, They Call Me ‘Mr. De,’ encapsulates the fervor of the
time and propels us into the present moment as the world of school
safety is shifting once again. Frank DeAngelis encourages us to focus
on one of the most important and often overlooked concepts of school
safety: building relationships with students, parents, and school staff.
His recommendations, derived from his experience on that fateful day,
are crucial to furthering our national mission to keep every school and
student safe.”
Mo Canady, executive director, National Association
of School Resource Officers
 
“The book is a true and unique testimony on the Columbine tragedy
and its aftermath, and an insight into the great heart and spirit of one of
its heroes, Columbine Principal Frank DeAngelis. DeAngelis has been a
blessing for his students, community and our nation before, during, and
after the Columbine shooting.”
Jon DeStefano, president, Jefferson County School Board (1999)
 
“This book is about family and faith. Frank led Columbine as his
precious family. His faith and those around him gave him strength
which he used to help mend broken hearts. The world is better when
we believe we are part of the family.”
Ron Castagna, principal, Lakewood High School (1996-2014)
 
“Frank came to my attention the first hour of the shooting, when a
sophomore in her gym uniform told a harrowing story of escaping gunfire
in the hallway. When I asked if she was afraid, said, ‘No, because the
principal was with me.’ Really? All afternoon and all that week, I heard
similar depictions of a principal unlike any I’d ever met. Covering the
Columbine kids was heartbreaking. They were the first to face such a
horror, and recovery was uncharted territory. No one knew what it would
take to get them to the other side of this emotional wasteland. They
needed someone exceptional. They already had him.”
Dave Cullen, magazine contributor and
author of Columbine and Parkland
 
“This book is a chilling, realistic account of the trials and tribulations
of a man who is larger than life. Frank, a true national treasure,
has been the guiding light for so many others who have experienced
tragedy. Learning from the tragic events on April 20, 1999, Frank took
those lessons and continues to tirelessly help a nation prepare. He is a
true inspiration and I’m honored to call him a friend.”
Deputy Chief AJ DeAndrea, Arvada Police Department
 
“Frank’s story is perhaps the most undertold story of the Columbine
shootings. This book is compelling and riveting. Even though I was
the principal at the high school near Columbine during the weeks and
months that followed, I learned so much more reading this book. In an
era when we search for heroes, or perhaps angels among us, Frank easily
qualifies for both titles. What an amazing person he is. There are, perhaps,
a handful of people in the world who could have brought about
the healing to the Columbine community. If there was the equivalent to
the Medal of Honor for educators, Frank should be the first recipient. His
story, contained in this book is powerful and uplifting.”
Jim Ellis, principal (Bell Middle School, Chatfield
High School, Ralston Valley High School)
 
“Those of us lucky enough to call Frank DeAngelis friend, family,
teacher, mentor, coach, boss, or ‘Mr. De,’ draw great inspiration from the
stories of his beloved Columbine, the staff he considers family, the students
that will always be ‘his kids,’ and the faith, family, and friends that
supported him through it all. An unwavering servant leader, Frank has
given greatly to many. Here he shares more—deeply and honestly—so
that we too might never forget.”
Michele Gay, mother of Josephine Gay and co-founder
and executive director, Safe and Sound Schools
 
“The best book I have read about the Columbine High School shootings.
Every once in a while, in our lives we get to meet a great person.
Frank DeAngelis is one of those.”
Monsignor Ken Leone, Denver, Colorado
 
“This is a book about a faith journey. A journey not only for Mr. De
but of everyone. A work that reminds us that we are never alone that
we are on this journey together the good times and the tragedies. I
can remember where I was on that tragic day as can most people, but
I couldn’t imagine the events that followed after the cameras left. Mr.
De, in this book, tells the story of the aftermath. I know Mr. De as a man
of faith, a leader who doesn’t check out when the bell rings at the end
of the day. Mr. De gives me hope and I am blessed to call him a friend.”
Fr. Sean McGrath, former pastor,
St. Frances Cabrini Church,
Littleton
 
“Reading They Call Me ‘Mr. De’ is a truly literary experience, one
that transports the reader to a chair across from Frank DeAngelis as
he shares the story of his life. Interwoven with stories from those that
know him best, this memoir captures the authenticity, strength, resilience,
faith, and hope of a man who faced one of the worst tragedies in
U.S. history and not only came out on top but also brought his community
with him. For anyone who wants to understand the true meaning
of Columbine and its spirit, this book is a must-read.”
Dr. Jaclyn Schildkraut, associate professor
of Public Justice, SUNY Oswego
 
“In this book, Frank DeAngelis tells a story that only he can tell. He
shares a little bit about growing up in North Denver, but truly his life
has been defined by his professional commitment to and his love for
Columbine High School and its community. On April 20, 1999, Frank’s
life was changed forever when that tragic senseless event occurred.
“‘Mr. De’ is revered in the Columbine community, our school district,
and the nation because he had the courage, skill and heart to lead his
beloved school community through uncharted waters in the aftermath
of this horrific tragedy. He followed that, with time as his ally, by leading
the school and community to the light of recovery and hope. This was a
journey that no one ever plans or hopes to take.
“Once I started this book, I could not put it down, and I could not
keep my eyes dry. Thank you, Frank DeAngelis, for having the courage
to accurately share this complex journey with all of us. Your leadership,
values, and love made this story possible, and it documents a classic
triumph of the human spirit over the forces of evil. Anyone who has
ever stepped foot into a school building can benefit from this compelling
story.”
Ron Mitchell, past Columbine High School principal,
Jefferson County School Board president, and friend
 
“There are lies. There are rumors. There are myths about the events
of April 20th, 1999, at Columbine High School. Lies, rumors, and myths
that are shaping generations. There is also a personal story. A transparent
story from a man who not only survived the day, but defined the
aftermath. This is that story.
“Frank DeAngelis, ‘Mr. De,’ shares his experiences before, during and
after the killings at Columbine. Some of the read isn’t easy. It’s a tough
conversation. But it’s also joyous and wise and strong. This book is peppered
with life lessons that everyone should see.
“It is also a story of friendships: friendships forged in the aftermath
of tragedy, unlikely friendships that would never have occurred without
a loss—friendships that are gifts. You might even call it a club. Thank
you Frank for sharing your journey.”
John-Michael Keyes and Ellen Stoddard-Keyes,
founders of The I Love U Guys Foundation
 
“I found Frank’s personal story to be a very powerful journey starting
from his early years growing up Italian in the Denver Metro Area
and finally arriving at Columbine High School. He uses stories and
experiences to give the reader an inside and close view of life in a normal
suburban high school. However, in Chapter 5, his journey transcends
into the darkness and tragedy of April 20, 1999.
“Frank’s descriptions of the beginning events, the responses, and
the recovery make the readers feel like they are in the center of the
storm. These chapters were very impactful for me personally since I was
one of the many responders on scene and was involved with the recovery
process. His stories and writing style allows the reader to empathize
with those impacted that day and identify with the psychological footprint
left by the tragedy.
“Frank’s journey then takes the readers into a place people never
want to venture, that of a new normal due to bad events. The book ties
everything together in the final chapters as it prompts the readers to
face up to the realities and challenges in dealing with our new normal.
His final chapter provides a touching close to those who lost their lives
and the family members whose lives were changed forever. Frank, thank
you for sharing your story with us.”
John Nicoletti, PhD, ABPP board certified specialist in
police and public safety psychology
 
“Frank DeAngelis is a man of courage. His book is truly a reflection
of bravery and compassion. During the Columbine tragedy, Frank modeled
leadership in the finest sense. His words in this book portray both
the heartbreak and the triumph of leadership in the most difficult of
times. I worked with Frank through the Columbine tragedy. I can attest
that he has much to teach all of us about strength and commitment. I
can attest that he was a beacon of light in darkness. I can attest that the
school, his colleagues, and the community will be forever grateful for
his leadership. As you read this book, I hope that it touches your heart
and your intellect. I hope you find the story as tragic and as uplifting as
I did. I am eternally grateful that Frank has now told the story. Although
Frank would dispute some of these descriptors, he is a friend, a colleague,
and a hero.”
Dr. Cynthia Stevenson, senior instructor at University
of Colorado at Denver, and former superintendent
of Jefferson County School District
 
“Frank DeAngelis’ story is a journey of recovery, healing, and transformation.
There are forward steps and mis-steps, faith questioned and
affirmed, love lost and found, and the search for peace in the aftermath
of the unspeakable horror of mass murder. And it is a journey that continues
to this day.”
Mark Wolf, Columbine High School parent,
Columbine High School basketball coach