Office of the Commissioner

Office of the Commissioner

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​DCBS Commissioner Lesa Dennis

Chief of Staff Lesa Dennis

Lesa Dennis was appointed Commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services by Gov. Andy Beshear on June 16, 2023.

Dennis began her career at DCBS on March 16, 1997, as a frontline social worker, serving children, families and vulnerable adults in Eastern Kentucky. As a 26-year veteran of the department, her passion for the work has centered around helping individuals reach their full human potential and supporting communities to build capacity to enable them to thrive. Dennis remains dedicated to supporting and empowering families, youth and adults. She recognizes it takes everyone working together to create environments and communities where individuals can flourish. She is committed to ensuring the department continues to strive for organizational development, growth and success to provide the highest quality of services to all citizens of the commonwealth.    

Dennis most recently served as DCBS acting commissioner since Jan. 1, 2023, and prior to this, served as DCBS deputy commissioner since Feb. 1, 2021. In that role, she served as part of department executive leadership providing coordination of and direct support to the commissioner on strategic and critical projects to achieve department mission, goals and objectives. She has spent her entire career serving vulnerable children, adults and families, and she continues to lead DCBS efforts to engage families and community partners in a collaborative decision-making process where every voice matters.

With extensive policy and personnel understanding, Dennis is an experienced child welfare professional who has assisted with successful implementation of key department initiatives. Following recent natural disasters in Western and Eastern Kentucky, Dennis spearheaded efforts to provide department staff and services every day to affected families – phone, online and in person at local offices and at Disaster Recovery Centers, one-stop shops for families with multiple needs. Dennis has also led multiple departmental equity efforts: As sponsor of DCBS’ Racial Equity Core Team, she oversees progress of the department’s internal and external race equity goals. She has brought poverty recognition and understanding by continuing the focus on Human Centered Design and implementing a “Bridges of Poverty” curriculum to both departmental leadership and customer service staff. 

She previously served as chief of staff to the commissioner and helped implement strategies and programs to increase efficiency and productivity to better support individuals served by the department. She has also served as DCBS director of service regions and was responsible for supervision and support of the nine department regions, including policy development and implementation and budget compliance.

Dennis has also served the commonwealth in roles that include service region administrator, service region administrator associate, service region clinical associate and family services office supervisor. She also has experience as an AmeriCorps member and a substitute teacher. In January 2022, she was honored by Kentucky Youth Advocates as a Champion for Children for her comprehensive work supporting Kentucky children, youth and their families. In May 2023, she received the Kentucky Children’s Alliance Champion for Children’s Award for her partnership and outstanding leadership in supporting foster care and residential providers across Kentucky.   

​She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Morehead State University and her master’s of social work from the University of Kentucky. She resides in Sandy Hook with her husband, Chris, and has two adult daughters and one grandson.​​

DCBS Chief of Staff Shannon Hall

Shannon HallShannon Hall was named chief of staff for the Commissioner’s Office on Feb. 1, 2022. He has been with DCBS since 2001 and has held various positions in the department, most recently as service region administrator of the 15-county Northeastern Service Region, a role he held since 2015.

Hall’s main responsibilities include furthering the goals of department transparency and inclusivity as the agency works toward becoming a 21st C​entury DCBS. He is the conduit between leadership and staff on all personnel issues, including pay equity, professional development and safety, and has helped implement major improvements in these areas. He also currently leads the DCBS Critical Incident Task Force to strengthen staff safety and facility security.

Hall is a graduate of Morehead State University and gives much credit for his practical education and skills development to his colleagues, customers and leadership throughout his experiences at DCBS.

He is a lifelong Kentuckian and currently lives in Grayson with his wife, a social worker in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and their two sons.​

Programs and Services

DCBS Superhero Award

The DCBS Superhero Award recognizes those who go above and beyond the call of duty to demonstrate excellence, outstanding performance and contributions to the Department for Community Based Services.

It is a great way to honor the focus and dedication of an employee or employees who go the extra mile every day or who have made significant contributions to a project.

Any person, including people from outside the agency and state government, can submit a recommendation for a DCBS Superhero Award. 

About the DCBS Superhero Award
DCBS Superhero Award Nomination Form

Contact Information

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