SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — S.F. Mayor Edwin M. Lee this week appointed Barbara Coccodrilli Carlson as the first new Director of the Office of Early Care and Education (OECE). The OECE was created in 2012 to align and coordinate programs and funding streams from the Department of Children, Youth, and Their Families (DCYF), the San Francisco First Five Commission and the Human Services Agency (HSA) to serve children up to five years old in San Francisco. The goals of OECE are to improve access to early care and education, improve the workforce that serves those purposes, and build up the system capacity.

Mayor Edwin Lee“I am excited to work closely with Barbara and bring her nationally recognized experience back to San Francisco to further improve preschool and early care services,” said Mayor Lee. “Her experience in child advocacy and services on a local and national scale, her collaborative leadership approach and her new team will help our youngest citizens succeed.”

Carlson began her career as a teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District and was the founding director of the San Francisco Starting Points Initiative in the Mayor’s Office of Children, Youth and Their Families in 1996, now known as DCYF. She has worked in a variety of other capacities in child services and advocacy in both California and New York, including as a Staff Attorney at the Child Care Law Center in San Francisco, for the New York State Council on Children and Families and for the New York City Administration for Children’s Services. Her most recent position was as a Program Manager in the Office of Child Care, Region II for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Carlson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, a Master’s degree in Special Education from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University and a law degree from Golden Gate University.

Mayor Lee also appointed Michele Rutherford as Deputy Director. Rutherford was the Program Manager for Child Care Policy, Planning and Administration for HSA and served as the Acting Director for the OECE since July 2012. Rutherford has served the City since 1984. She has also worked in the Department of Social Services in Family and Children’s Services before joining HSA.

Rutherford holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music and Communications from Olivet College in Michigan and a Master’s degree in Social Science and Urban Studies from the University of Michigan and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Western Michigan University.