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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​DCBS Commissioner Marta Miranda-Straub

Marta Miranda-Straub was appointed commissioner of DCBS by Gov. Andy Beshear July 1, 2020. She brings 47 years of social work practice experience at multiple levels to this leadership position. Miranda-Straub has served families and children through trauma, substance abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault intervention and gender equity and anti-racism activism.

Miranda-Straub is the founder of Catapult Now, LLC. As an executive consultant she provided organizational, leadership and board development, strategic planning, executive coaching, retreats, facilitation and training services to non-profit and for-profit organizations with a focus on equity and inclusion.

From 2011 to 2018 she served as President/CEO of The Center for Women and Families, a $6 million nonprofit that served more than 8,000 clients each year with rape crisis and domestic violence services for survivors and their children.

Before joining The Center, Miranda-Straub worked 17 years at Eastern Kentucky University as an associate professor in the Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work Department. There, she served as the chair of Women and Gender Studies and Multicultural Student Affairs. She also assisted in the design, implementation and evaluation of the Public Child Welfare Certification Program (PCWCP), which prepares social work students to work for DCBS upon graduation. She currently is part of the Spalding University faculty.

Miranda-Straub received the Martha Layne Collins Leadership Award in 2016. She was named a Daughter of Greatness by the Ali Center for her gender equity and erasing racism work and also was honored for her humane immigration reform and antiracism work by the Alliance Against Racist and Political Oppression and Jewish Family and Career Center. The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs awarded her a SAMMy for her long-term work with survivors. Ampersand Sexual Violence Resource Center of the Bluegrass, formerly the Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, gave her its Pioneer Award for 40 years of advocacy and service to eradicating sexual assault. The Center for Women and Families named Miranda-Straub a 2020 Woman of Distinction. She also was named a Compassionate Laureate by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who has honored her by proclaiming Marta Miranda Day for her activism.

Her education includes a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and sociology from Florida International University in Miami, a master’s degree in clinical and organizational social work from Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla. and a PhD in honorary-public service from Spalding University in Louisville.

Miranda-Straub has served numerous groups over the years, including Metro United Way, Stoll, Keenon and Ogden, Junior League of Louisville, Backside Learning Center, Sweet Evening Breeze LGBTQ Youth Program and Leadership Louisville Executive Green Room. She is a published poet and long-time member of the Affrilachian Poets. Her memoir, Cradled by Skeletons: A Life in Poems and Essays, was published in Winter 2019 by Shadelandhouse Modern Press.

Miranda-Straub lives in Louisville with her husband, Cary Jude Straub.

DCBS Deputy Commissioner Lesa Dennis

Chief of Staff Lesa Dennis​Lesa Dennis began her career at the Department for Community Based Services on March 16, 1997, as a frontline social worker, serving children, families and vulnerable adults in Eastern Kentucky. As a 25-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 was appointed to the position of deputy commission on Feb. 1, 2021. In this role, she has 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. In her current role she continues to lead DCBS efforts to engage families and community partners in a collaborative decision-making process where every voice matters.

With extensive understanding of policy and personnel, 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 maintain access to staff and services for affected families through phone, online and in-person accommodations at local offices, disaster recovery centers and one-stop shops for families with multiple needs. Dennis also has led multiple agency equity efforts: as sponsor of the DCBS Racial Equity Core Team, she oversees progress of internal and external department race equity goals; raised awareness and understanding of poverty by implementing a Bridges of Poverty curriculum for both departmental leadership and customer service staff; and she has been integral to the agency's pay equity work and bringing salary equity to all current and future 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 also has 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 also has 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.

​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 century 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.​

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