DHS’s Operations Staff
Stafford Chipungu, Chief Financial Officer
As Chief Financial Officer, Stafford Chipungu provides fiscal support to DHS Leadership and the local Departments of Social Services, ensuring coordination with the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Legislative Services, Comptroller’s Office, Federal Agencies, and stakeholders. Chipungu also provides fiscal management for proper resources funding and utilization. Stafford has significant experience in state government and banking and is a Certified Public Accountant. He has been instrumental in navigating fiscal challenges so that DHS can deliver critical benefits and financial services to Marylanders in need.
Katherine Morris, Director, Office of Communications
Prior to joining DHS, Katherine Morris spent ten years at Citigroup where she designed, built, and centralized their internal communications department and channels across the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Expanding the role to include external communications and public relations, Katherine oversaw the development, daily operations, and execution of all corporate communications and events, including multilingual communications, press releases, media advisories, public relations events, crisis communication strategies, internal corporate events, web content for six intranets, online and video publications, change management methodologies, creative design, print production, branding and identity initiatives. Most notably, Katherine helped lead a major rebranding initiative at Citigroup and has extensive experience in communication strategy development across multiple geographies, organizational infrastructures, languages, and corporate cultures.
Katherine graduated from Elon University in North Carolina, with a degree in Political Science and Public Administration. She resides in Baltimore City and sits on the Board of Associates of KidsPeace, one of America’s oldest and most comprehensive not-for-profit organizations, with more than 35 programs serving 2,500 children in crisis each day at 50 locations across the U.S.
Rainier C. Harvey, Sr., Chief of Administrative Operations
Rainier C. Harvey, Sr. serves as the Chief of the Division of Administrative Operations and is responsible for providing executive leadership for multiple centralized operational units with statewide operational oversight for the 24 DHS local jurisdictions. Chief Harvey has 30 years of professional experience, serving in leadership roles within Baltimore City, Baltimore County, the State of Maryland, and the Federal Government. His expertise in matrix operational management has garnered local and state recognition and awards.
Under his leadership as Chief of the Division of Administrative Operations, the Department of Human Services has been identified as an industry leader among State Departments in several operational initiatives and the State of Maryland has been recognized nationally for achievements in operational crisis response.
Daniel Wait, Acting Deputy Secretary for Administration and Director of Human Resource Development & Training
Daniel has been with DHS since August of 2009 and was promoted to Director of HRDT in March 2021. He started as an Employee Relations Officer and rose to the position of Employee Relations Manager in November 2011. In August of 2013, he was promoted to Deputy Director for HRDT. Daniel started his career with the State in 2006, working for the Maryland Insurance Commission as a complaints investigator.
He graduated from the University of Albany with a degree in Political Science, and attended the University of Maryland School of Law.
Audre Davis, Esq., Director, Maryland Legal Services Program
Audre Davis leads the Maryland Legal Services Program (MLSP), an organization that provides contractors who provide legal representation services in the Circuit Courts for children and indigent adults when local departments of social services or the Department of Aging are party to a case. In her current role, Ms. Davis ensures that children and indigent adults receive high-quality, cost-effective legal representation in court proceedings for children involved in Child in Need of Assistance (CINA), Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) cases, and for adults involved in Guardianship proceedings and Adult Public Guardianship Review Board (APGRB) hearings. MLSP also manages the Court Appointed Attorney Program (CAAP), which provides quality, cost-effective legal representation in proceedings for any conflict CINA/TPR or Adult Guardianship cases.
Ms.Davis has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Law. Prior to serving in her current capacity, Ms. Davis worked at the Maryland Office of the Public Defender. She has been an advocate for Maryland’s most vulnerable populations for her entire career.
Robin Harvey, Director, Office of Licensing and Monitoring
Robin L. Harvey, the Executive Director of the Office of Licensing and Monitoring (OLM), is responsible for the oversight of DHS licensed private Child Placement Agencies and Residential Child Care Providers. Robin and her OLM team ensure that each licensed program complies with applicable laws and regulations designed to maintain the safety and well-being of children and youth experiencing out-of-home placement.
Robin has extensive background and experience in public child welfare having built a 20-year career in Baltimore City and Carroll County. She brings a disciplined approach to practice to the Office of Licensing and Monitoring with a focus on regulatory compliance, technical assistance, and professionalism. Robin is an accomplished leader who applies her skills as a certified Results-Based Accountability practitioner to her work. Robin earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.
Ryan Lancaster, Acting Director, Constituent Services Office
Ryan Lancaster leads the Constituent Services Office, which is a special support and services office under the Office of the Secretary. Constituent Services functions as DHS’ centralized customer service operation, providing information about and access to programs and services administered by DHS. Customer gain access through a variety of methods: telephone, correspondence, walk-ins, email, web forms, social media, community outreach, and referrals from political officials. Other roles such as DHS Ombudsman Services, Hispanic Services, Community Outreach and the DHS Call Center management fall under the Constituent Services Office.
Nneka Willis-Gray, Director, Office of Procurement
Nneka Willis-Gray is Director of Procurement for the Department of Human Services (DHS). During her tenure with DHS, Director Willis-Gray has assumed increasing responsibility for the proficient commission and operation of the Office of Procurement – subsequently serving as a lead worker, a supervisor, deputy director, and, currently, the division’s executive administrator.
Director Willis-Gray manages and ensures that DHS’s procurement policies, procedures, and regulations are observed and compliant with state law. She provides leadership and instructions about procurement directives and activities for DHS’s directors, supervisors, managers, and frontline staff. Director Willis-Gray also works closely with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to ensure that contract terms and conditions are properly reviewed and approved to mitigate liability for the state.
A graduate of Morgan State University, Director Willis-Gray is a consummate, solution-driven professional with over 13 years of experience in contract management, negotiation, competitive bidding, regulatory compliance, and customer service.
Tiffany Rexrode, Executive Director for Local Operations DHS
Tiffany Rexrodew is Executive Director for Local Operations Department of Human Services. Having worked in public child welfare for 21 years, Ms. Rexrode served as the the Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for Programs. Most of Tiffany’s experience was at the local level where she managed all human service operations for the Washington County Department of Social Services (WCDSS) as the Assistant Director for the Adult, Child, and Family Services Division. She has proficient knowledge of public administration in a social service agency and the ability to assimilate a wide variety of administrative details and analyze information for problem identification and resolution. Additionally, Tiffany has experience leading accreditation efforts to promote best practices for our constituents. Tiffany has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, and she is a licensed clinical social worker.
Denise Conway, Executive Director, Social Services Administration
As Executive Director of the Social Services Administration (SSA), Denise Conway oversees the Department’s mission to prevent abuse and neglect, protect vulnerable adults and children, and strengthen families through collaboration with state and community partners. Conaway brings over fifteen years of child welfare experience to her role, having held mission-critical positions at a number of our local Departments of Social Services and at our Central office.
As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she developed statewide policies to enhance our child welfare practice and served as lead for the planning, development, implementation, and monitoring of our SSA’s Continuous Quality Improvement processes. Most recently, she has served DHS as the Deputy Executive Director of Programs for our Social Services Administration.
A lifelong resident of Maryland, hailing from the Eastern Shore, Denise holds both a Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree and a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Salisbury University.
Kevin P. Guistwite, Executive Director, Child Support Administration
Kevin Guistwite has nearly two decades of child support-related experience and a proven track record of establishing strong relationships with local, state, and national child support program partners. As Executive Director of the Child Support Administration (CSA), he leads the department as they provide comprehensive child support services to Maryland’s families and children. CSA is responsible for establishing paternity for children born to unmarried parents; establishing, collecting and distributing child and medical support obligations; enforcing past-due support; and the accounting of child support payments which are made through the Department. The mission of the Child Support Administration is to make certain that children grow up receiving financial support from both parents and that the family can stay economically independent.
Previously, Kevin served as the Director of the Division of Program Development and Evaluation at the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Bureau of Child Support Enforcement. Kevin has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Communication Studies from Shippensburg University in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
La Sherra Ayala, Executive Director, Family Investment Administration
La Sherra Ayala was appointed as the Executive Director of the Family Investment Administration (FIA) on February 24, 2021. La Sherra has served in several critical leadership positions within FIA in a dual capacity as the Deputy Executive Director of Operations and as the IT lead for FIA’s efforts associated with the MD THINK Eligibility and Enrollment (E&E) platform. In her current role as Executive Director of FIA, La Sherra will oversee the State’s family assistance programs, which include food benefits, temporary cash assistance, energy assistance, and workforce development, among other initiatives.
Kenyatta Powers, Chief Information Officer
As Chief Information Officer (CIO), Kenyatta Powers oversees the day-to-day operations of the Office of Technology for Human Services (OTHS). Her leadership and relentless efforts ensure that OTHS continues to deliver mission-critical services and seamlessly run information systems that lay the foundation of essential human services and social benefits for Maryland’s vulnerable citizens.
Kenyatta’s prior experience as Director and Deputy CIO at OTHS has honed her skills as a senior executive and prepared her to shoulder manifold responsibilities at the agency, particularly around statewide networking. She also plays a key role in the Maryland Health Information Exchange Project and is a familiar and respected name agency-wide as a proponent of state-of-the-art technological solutions for Maryland’s human services.