Chandler named Division of Family and Children’s Services Executive Director

Governor Phil Bryant announced today that he has named Mississippi Supreme Court Justice David Chandler the Executive Director of The Division of Family and Children’s Services.

The appointment is effective immediately. Chandler will vacate his seat on the court.

In his post, Chandler will oversee the state’s child welfare and foster care systems.

This is the first time the DFCS Executive Director will be a cabinet-level position that reports directly to the Governor. This change is the result of a recent court order in long-running federal litigation.

“I deeply appreciate the trust and confidence Governor Bryant has shown in me by appointing me to this important position,” Chandler said. “It is a distinct honor, and I gladly accept the appointment. It is also a tremendous responsibility. Our Mississippi children who are placed in the care of the state are some of our most precious citizens. They find themselves without a family through no fault of their own, and we must do everything in our power to keep them safe and see that they are afforded proper food, shelter and clothing. We must pursue every avenue available to us to help them find the family that is meant for them. I promise you that this will be my goal and I will work as hard as I know how to accomplish it. I know the Governor is committed to the same.”

Chandler was born in Kosciusko and moved with his family to Weir just before his first year of school. He graduated from Weir High School and then attended Mississippi State University, where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in education. Chandler earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Mississippi School of Law and his Master of Laws in the Judicial Process from the University of Virginia School of Law.

“I am extremely pleased that Justice Chandler is taking on this critical role,” Governor Bryant said. “His experience and ability will be invaluable in making sure our foster care system operates safely and efficiently.”

Chandler spent the first 20 years of his professional career in education. For approximately 10 years, he served as a teacher, counselor, school psychometrist and administrator with the Choctaw County public schools. Chandler then moved to the college level, where he served as a research and curriculum specialist at Mississippi State University. In this capacity, he directed the development of curriculum material for secondary and post-secondary work force training programs. His work was designed to provide a more skilled workforce in order to attract business and industry to Mississippi.

Following law school, Chandler practiced law in Tupelo. In January 2000, his law firm opened a branch office in Choctaw County, where he served as the attorney for the Board of Supervisors, a position he held until beginning his service on the Mississippi Court of Appeals in January 2001. He also served as municipal judge for his hometown of Weir from 1999 until beginning work on the appellate court.

Chandler was elected to the Mississippi Court of Appeals in November 2000, and re-elected, without opposition, in 2006. After serving as a judge on the Court of Appeals for eight years, he was elected to the Mississippi Supreme Court. He commenced his duties as a Supreme Court justice on January 1, 2009.

Chandler has served on numerous committees, including chairman of the Court of Appeals Rules Committee and co-chairman of the Professionalism Committee of the Mississippi Bar, as well as serving as a member of the Supreme Court Committee on Administrative and Related Matters. He presently serves as chair of the Mississippi Continuing Judicial Education Committee. He serves as adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law, where he teaches judicial administration, and he is a member of the Charles Clark Inns of Court. He was named the 2010 Alumnus of the Year by the Mississippi State University College of Education.

Throughout his career, Chandler has authored professional articles in the field of education as well as in the legal field. In July 2007, Chandler had published an article in the professional journal for Mississippi Bar members. The article addressed methods of improving professionalism among lawyers. His thesis for his LLM degree consisted of a comprehensive analysis of Mississippi statutory law pertaining to acts of violence committed on school property. Since becoming a member of the appellate courts of Mississippi, Chandler has authored well over 600 opinions.

Chandler is a member of the Tupelo Bar Association, the Mississippi Bar and the American Bar Association. He and his wife, Glenda, reside in Louisville, where they are members of First United Methodist Church. Chandler will start serving on the church’s board of directors in January. He is the proud father of two sons.

Gov. Phil Bryant Press Release