WJ welcomes two new security members


Photo by Amit Hanadari-Levy.

Security guards Kyle Peterson (left) and Alieu (Ali) Tunkara (right) monitor the halls as students leave the school at the end of the today. The two new recruits joined Walter Johnson High School’s security team this year on January 3.


Walter Johnson High School’s security team welcomed two new recruits to its staff earlier this month. The security guards have not been at the school long but already seem to be adjusting well and getting to know students and staff. Their positive and energetic attitudes to the job have impressed their co-workers and made them a great addition to the security team.

According to head of security Patrick Rooney, the school interviewed many potential candidates but the two hired were clearly the best for the job.

“We had some good possible candidates and these two gentlemen were the top two candidates – there was no doubt about it,” Rooney said.

The need for these new hires came after the school’s recent loss of two of its security guards. One security guard retired and the other moved to Gaithersburg High School in order to be closer to home. This left the school with new openings in the security team, which they filled with the new hires. Earlier this year, Rooney joined the school’s staff as the new head of security, replacing Adam Hoffman who left to become a firefighter.

One of the new security guards, Kyle Peterson, previously worked security at the Rio Center in Gaithersburg where he was in charge guarding the mall area. Peterson was motivated to make the move to Walter Johnson because he really values education and wanted to get involved with MCPS in order to be a part of that experience.

I’ve always said that the two most important jobs are being a parent and being a teacher, so this is a unique opportunity to be able to help kids at the beginning of their journeys,” Peterson said.

The other new recruit, Alieu (Ali) Tunkara, was already part of the Montgomery County school system and came to WJ from Gaithersburg High School. For Tunkara, the new security job is a good opportunity for a full time job at a great school.

“It’s a great opportunity – it’s a full time job… [and] I heard a lot of great things about the school,” Tunkara said.

Peterson and Tunkara both enjoy working at the school, as well as getting to know the staff and students that make up WJ’s community and their impressions of the school seem to be overwhelmingly positive.

“I think the staff is great, the students are great, the atmosphere is good – I really like the school,” Tunkara said.

So far, both of the new recruits appear to be doing well and, according to security guard Ron Joyner, the two are adapting to the WJ community and are a great addition to the staff.

“They’re both doing well; so far they say they like the building, they like the place, they like the kids… [and] hopefully they’ll be here for a long time,” Joyner said.