SAU #39: Officer Joseph Cerra Appointed as School Resource Officer at Amherst Middle School

      AMHERST & MONT VERNON –Superintendent of Schools Adam Steel and Amherst Chief of Police Mark Reams announce the appointment of Joseph Cerra as student resource officer for Amherst Middle School effective July 1, 2021.       Officer Cerra has been a member of the Amherst Police Department for eight years. He attended Amherst Middle School as a student and is a graduate of Souhegan High School and New Hampshire Technical Institute.  Officer Cerra has also been the D.A.R.E. instructor at Amherst Middle School for the last three years. 

      Officer Cerra is replacing Officer Michael Knox who has served as the first ever school resource officer at Amherst Middle School for the last 17 years.  

      Officer Cerra will begin working with Officer Knox at Amherst Middle School over the next few months as a transition plan to the role. 

      Adam Steel: “Officer Knox is an exemplary school resource officer. In short, he’s made our school one the safest in New Hampshire and he has dedicated himself to the best interest of our students. Countless families have been served by the thoughtful, caring, and professional service of Officer Knox. His shoes are not easily filled, and he will always have a home as an Eagle at Amherst Middle School. In regards to Officer Cerra, I am pleased we have an officer who grew up in Amherst and attended the schools transitioning into this role. He has my full support.” 

      Chief Reams: “Amherst was the first town in the region to have school resource officers assigned to both their middle school and high school, and the programs have been models for other schools statewide.  Officer Knox was the driving force in developing and implementing Amherst’s SRO program for last 17 years, and that groundwork has provided a solid foundation for the continued success of the program.   Officer Cerra has consistently demonstrated a commitment to our agency, our schools, and our town throughout his life and will be an excellent addition to the Amherst Middle School team.  Officers Knox and Cerra are true professionals and I wish them both the very best in their new roles.” 

Officer Joseph Cerra

      Officer Joseph Cerra: “Growing up in Amherst, I have seen the importance and effectiveness of the AMS/SHS SRO program first hand. Going from a student, to an officer of the town, and now becoming part of the school again, things have really come full circle.  I would like to say that my successes in life have come from the experiences and lessons I have learned during my time as a student. I hope that I can provide the same for the students of AMS, so they can share the same rewards of this great school and community.  I look forward to this new opportunity and will give the students of our town my fullest efforts to provide them with a safe, fun, and comfortable learning environment. I also look forward to working with school staff, administration, and parents to achieve this goal.  Lastly, I want to thank Offficer Knox for his commitment to our schools and the foundation he has created.  He has set the standard for me and for all SROs.”  

      Officer Michael Knox: “I am absolutely honored to have served as a School Resource Officer in the Amherst School District.   At its outset, there was a necessary “leap of faith” into the “unknown” required by so many people to make it even happen.   A collaboration between brave school officials, teachers, students, police representatives and our amazing community created something which continues today to provide the safest environment possible to the children of Amherst.     To the many professionals who helped me along the way, I SINCERELY THANK YOU.  To the many parents who have supported me for so many years, I THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.  And finally, to the many students who gave the SRO position a chance to help.  I CONTINUE TO WISH YOU SUCCESS IN ALL OF YOUR ADVENTURES.  TRY HARD AND GET THERE!!!  Please receive Officer Cerra as you did me and help him guide the SRO position in the direction it needs to go so many more chapters can be written.  Honored to have served and I Thank You.” 

      Principal Bethany Bernasconi: “Officer Knox’s commitment to our community of learners has been unparalleled for as long as I’ve been privileged to work with him.  The ways in which he supports our students and staff go well beyond what you might typically think of as school safety.  Whether eating lunch with students, filming a basketball game, or simply being present and available to listen, Officer Knox is a trusted adult that so many of our students knows cares about them.  We will truly miss him next year and wish him the very best.”  

      Long time AMS Principal, Porter Dodge: “It has been an honor to work with School Resource Officer Mike Knox over the years. The Amherst Middle School community will always remember his commitment to the safety of students and staff.”

MARCH 2021





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