Born in a small town in Montana, Brandie J. Reece hails from a family of educators and knew from an early age that she wanted to be involved in education. She began her studies at Montana State University Northern, where she achieved a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, in 1998. Also certified as a reading specialist and in a variety of subjects, she subsequently earning a Master of Education in educational counseling, summa cum laude, from Azusa Pacific University in 2005. Ms. Reece continued to excel as an elementary educator, school guidance counselor, verbal judo instructor and adjunct professor until her health caused her to take medical leave after two years in the role of senior counselor.
When Ms. Reece was ready to return to work, the Great Recession was in full swing and she had to expand her parameters for job hunting. She found her answer with the Federal Correctional Complex, Victorville, where she served for eight and a half years as a teacher for inmates. During this time, she was involved in teaching everything from general education degree (GED) to college-level courses for inmates and coordinating vocational training as well. Notably, she was responsible to raising the facility’s completion rate from seven GEDs a year to 65 GEDs a year, with record breaking numbers three years running. Developing a passion for working in the prison system, Ms. Reece stuck with her new field and in 2021, she became the human resources employee development manager for the United States Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Today, Ms. Reece’s duties include supervising staff training for prison system personnel and overseeing employee development and career enhancement, and she often collaborates with outside agencies to provide the best training possible. She coordinates training for a variety of programs and services, including correctional services, food services, psychological services, residential drug treatment programs, facilities, and health services. In accounting for her success, Ms. Reece credits her drive, internal motivation, and dedication to making a positive difference in the lives of the inmates and prison staff she works with.
Greatly influenced by her mother, who was a nurse, Ms. Reece cites her mother as a phenomenal role model who instilled in her a “go-getter” attitude. As she strives to improve her department each and every day, she has made a name for herself through the communication skills she developed as a counselor. Looking toward the future, Ms. Reece intends to continue to advance in her career in the prison system and hopes to see herself as an executive assistant, warden or director within the Federal Bureau of Prisons. She would advise young and aspiring professionals to set high standards for themselves and to always strive to be their best every single day.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Reece is an active member of her community and has been involved with a variety of community relations board meetings. She also donates her time to food drives, coat drives, backpack drives and more in support of her local community, particularly underserved students. She holds membership in the education honor society Phi Lambda Theta, a division of PDK International, and was inducted into Who’s Who Among Educators in 2008, making her one of just 12% of teachers nominated by the age of 30.
Over the course of her career, Ms. Reece has been presented with an incredible 20 Special Act Awards for her service and contributions as an employee of the federal government. In 2012, she was also nominated as Rookie of the Year. More recently, she was nominated as Supervisor of the Year in 2022, which she cites as the highlight of her professional career. When she first started working in the prison system, it was quite challenging to be a woman in such a male dominated field, however her excellence in the field speaks for itself and she finds it incredibly gratifying when inmates and former inmates come to her and thank her for helping them achieve an education and other goals that they didn’t think were possible for them.