Gloria Reyes has been named the executive director and CEO of Briarpatch Youth Services, the organization’s board of directors announced on Monday.
“I am very excited for the opportunity to lead an organization with deep roots in our community serving our most vulnerable youth and families,” said Reyes, who currently serves as president of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), in a statement. “I look forward to working with our board of directors and amazing staff at Briarpatch Youth
Services, in advancing our mission, investing in our youth today for the future of Dane
Briarpatch Youth Services’ mission is to strengthen the lives of youth and families. The organization was formed in 2003 by the merger of Briarpatch, Inc. (established 1971) and Community Adolescent Programs, Inc. (established 1978). Briarpatch offers a broad array of services to approximately 3,000 runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth in Dane County each year. The agency works closely with local government agencies and non-profit organizations to provide unique programs that fill service gaps for youth and their families.
Reyes will succeed Casey Behrend who retired in September after 20 years.
“Many in the Dane County community know Gloria Reyes as a strong, capable leader,
with a tremendous breadth of experience that will serve Briarpatch well. She is a
passionate voice for youth, a great strategist, and an advocate for change; a perfect set
of attributes to move us forward to being even better advocates for the youth we serve,” said Kate Reilly, Briarpatch Board Chair, in a statement. “Gloria’s appointment as Briarpatch Executive Director comes at a unique point in time for our agency and for our
community. In 2021, Briarpatch will celebrate 50 years of service to youth in Dane
County. It is a wonderful time to take bold action to revision our mission, revitalize our
programming, strengthen community partnerships, and grow our commitment to assuring that diversity and inclusion is the lens through which all our work is focused.
“We at Briarpatch feel that Gloria is the person who can best lead us through this period
of transformational change,” she added.
Gloria worked as a governmental consultant for the Government Alliance on Race and
Equity and National League of Cities and served as the deputy mayor for the city of
Madison for five years where she focused on community services, public safety,
civil rights and public health and shared responsibility for administering the over $120 million City of Madison budgets and operations.
Reyes, who earned a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and law and criminal justice from UW-Madison and earned a master’s degree in public administration from the
American Military University, was previously a detective in the Madison Police Department. She started the first youth court in the southern part of the city and has worked with nonprofit partners to coordinate this effort. Gloria also served as the Director of the Madison Department of Civil Rights and as an investigator for the Wisconsin State Public Defenders Office.
Reyes has served on numerous nonprofit boards over the years including Centro Hispano of Dane County, YWCA, Domestic Abuse Intervention Services and the Wisconsin Association of Women Police Board.