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
Lesa Dennis was appointed DCBS Deputy Commissioner on Feb. 1, 2021. In this role, she will serve as part of the department’s executive leadership to provide coordination of and direct support to the commissioner on strategic and critical projects aimed at achieving the department’s mission, goals and objectives. Most recently, since July 2018, she served as chief of staff to the commissioner. She assisted the department with implementing strategies and programs that increased efficiency and productivity that better supported individuals served by the department. She has also served as DCBS director of service regions and was responsible for supervision and support of the department’s nine regions, including policy development and implementation and budget compliance.
Dennis is a 23-year veteran of the department who began her career as a social services worker and 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.
Dennis is an experienced child welfare professional who has assisted with successful implementation of key department initiatives. She also has experience as an AmeriCorps member and a substitute teacher. 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 Dickerson, and has two adult daughters.