Kearny native Clifford J. Brooks earned his bachelor's degree in French language and linguistics from Georgetown University, where he also studied Italian, history, and vocal and choral music. "I am most proud of graduating summa cum laude from Georgetown and being elected to Phi Beta Kappa," he says. He was awarded a Master's degree in Library and Information Studies from Rutgers University and a Master's degree in Urban Education from New Jersey City University.
Mr. Brooks served as librarian and consultant to a French-based center for children's literature and librarianship, and worked in the New Jersey public library system. He was also the Education Director and General Manager for Sarah Caldwell's Opera Company of Boston and Opera New England. While with the Caldwell Opera Company, Mr. Brooks coached many film and television stars and produced educational programs featuring such operatic luminaries as Beverly Sills and Shirley Verrett. His was the first opera education program in the history of the National Endowment of the Arts to receive a Chairman's action grant.
In 1994, Mr. Brooks worked with inmates at the Miami-Dade Correctional Facility, and under his direction, the men created and produced the first piece of opera musical theater written, scored and presented by inmates.
In 2004, Mr. Brooks was honored by the New Jersey State Assembly for the creation of the first Asian Studies teacher-training program in New Jersey.
He has also served as an adjunct professor at Rutgers University, University of Missouri, Eastern Nazarene College, New Jersey City University, and Baguio Normal School (The Philippines).
With a national reputation established from working as the Boston segment's orchestra contractor for the MGM film production of Luciano Pavarotti's first feature film, Yes! Giorgio!, Mr. Brooks has served as a consultant to OPERA America, over 30 opera companies, and a number of museums, universities, public school systems and symphony orchestras throughout North America. He has also designed and facilitated workshops in pre-service and in-service education for over 38 years. After serving as Director for four National Endowment for the Humanities grants for national teacher training, Mr. Brooks began consulting on a regular basis for the Leonard Bernstein Center for Learning through the Arts (LBC), where he used his skills in partnership building and outreach to create a national LBC school reform program. While working for the LBC, he was asked to demonstrate a lesson on arts integration for President Clinton's Secretary of Education, Richard Riley. When the LBC joined forces with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and the Grammy Foundation, Mr. Brooks continued in his role as a school partnership specialist, teacher trainer, and consultant until October 2000.
Mr. Brooks' Music! Words! Opera! textbook series, currently in a new edition, is in use in more than 100 school districts in this country and Canada.