Gail Watts, a veteran of the Baltimore County Department of Corrections, has been nominated to lead the agency, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced Wednesday.
Watts is currently serving as acting director pending the retirement of director Deborah Richardson, county officials said.
The 52-year-old Watts joined the department as a correctional officer in 1990. She worked her way through the ranks, supervising work-release and home detention programs, training, inmate employment, staffing and policy analysis, and regulatory compliance, officials said.
She served in the U.S. Army for 30 years.
Kamenetz called her “a natural leader who balances strong operational discipline with a compassionate people-centered approach that inspires her staff to excel.”
Watts has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Touro University in California. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in youth and family counseling at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, and is expected to graduate next fall.
The nomination requires approval by the County Council.
Richardson, 60, was named director in 2013. She is set to retire Oct. 13.