Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr

Mayor Brandon Scott on Thursday appointed former educator and special education expert Debra Y. Brooks to be the next director of the Mayor’s Office of Children and Family Success, after the office has been without a permanent director for nearly nine months.

Brooks will start in her new position July 11.

“I am proud to announce that Dr. Debra Y. Brooks will be assuming this position and look forward to working with her to prioritize Baltimore’s young people and their families through MOCFS’s work,” Scott said in a statement. “Having worked in the Baltimore City Public School System for over 25 years, Dr. Brooks brings a wealth of experience and deep institutional knowledge to this role.”

The office’s former director, Tisha Edwards, resigned in September to serve as chief of staff on Wes Moore’s gubernatorial campaign.

Deputy Mayor for Equity, Health, and Human Services Faith Leach has served as MOCFS’s acting director since Edwards’ departure. Once Brooks begins in her new role, she will report to Leach.

Brooks will be in charge of improving various aspects of the lives of Baltimore’s children and families, including early childhood development, youth food insecurity, youth homelessness, youth literacy, trauma-informed care for youth, youth diversion practices, and “breaking down historical barriers to success for Black boys and young men,” city officials said in a release.

During her 30-year career in education, Brooks worked as a teacher, a building leader at the elementary and middle school levels, and central office leader.

She worked in the Baltimore City and Baltimore County public school systems, where she served in various leadership roles related to inclusion and special education. 

“It is an honor and pledge to serve Baltimore City children and families,” Brooks said in a statement. “Understanding that the essence of Baltimore City is its residents and well supported families mean a healthier more vibrant community for everyone, it is my goal to collaborate with community partners and incorporate youth voices to improve outcomes for all children and families.” 

“Every day the incredible team at MOCFS works to radically improve the lives of Baltimore’s Children and Families,” Leach said in a statement. “With a transformational leader like Dr. Brooks at the helm, MOCFS is well positioned to deepen its impact and double down on efforts to reform once fragmented support systems.”

MOCFS serves as the lead agency on several of the mayor’s initiatives, including energy, water, and rental assistance; Baltimore City Head Start; The Children’s Cabinet; The Baltimore Young Families Success Fund; The Trauma-Informed Care Task Force; And summer programming for youth and families.

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at