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Administration Team

Terry S. Smith, Ph.D., Executive Director
Currently, Dr. Terry S. Smith serves as the Chief Juvenile Probation Officer for Dallas County. Since 2011, Dr. Smith has served as the Executive Director of the Dallas County Juvenile Department that is responsible for meeting the needs and effective supervision of more than 10,000 youthful offenders, and the management of six residential facilities, nine field offices and five educational campus settings. The department has more than 1,000 employees in addition to numerous contracts for services.

Prior to coming to Dallas, Dr. Smith devoted 25 years to the youth of Harris County in various capacities within the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. Included in her service to the department was a nine year tenure as Superintendent of the Burnett-Bayland Reception Center, a secure residential detention facility. Her extensive experience in agency administration also encompasses duties in staff training, quality assurance, certification, accreditation, audit functions, planning, program creation and curriculum development. Dr. Smith has advocated for expanded mental health services for juvenile offenders and for programs to address juvenile sex offenders. She is fluent in federal and state regulations governing the administration of juvenile justice. She is both capable and willing to serve at the state level.

Dr. Smith is committed to the philosophical tenets of juvenile justice, focused on assisting youth to meet their individual potential through family focused, strength based intervention while continuing to always be mindful of community safety and victim restoration.

Dr. Smith has been involved with the Juvenile Justice system for over 30 years, having previously served the last 25 years with Harris County Juvenile Probation (in Houston, Texas), 18 of those years in an administrative capacity. Dr. Smith's Harris County experience is diverse and extensive, serving as a Probation Officer, District Supervisor, Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, Director of Training, Accreditation and Quality Assurance, and Deputy Director of Institutional Services.

It brings an added measure of pride that Dr. Smith holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Psychology from Texas Southern University and earned her Ph.D. through the nation's first program to award a doctorate in the study of Juvenile Justice at Prairie View A&M University. This imminently qualifies her to appraise youth, programs, employees and public/private partnerships from a holistic and comprehensive approach.

Dr. Smith has an innate leadership ability which translates into well run programs and divisions, high staff morale and a strong judgment regarding youth safety. She is an extremely all-embracing team player with a positive perspective and a paramount supporter of all things related to her mantra of “Youth First.”

Dr. Smith is extremely dedicated to staff, youth, and her Department and is ever focused on the Department mission of servicing and empowering youth and families in crisis. Having worked within the two largest juvenile departments in the state of Texas, affords her vast practical knowledge in the field of juvenile justice.

Bill Edwards, Assistant Director

Denika Caruthers, J.D., Administrative Legal Advisor

Rudy Acosta, Deputy Director of Probation Services

Leslie Gipson, Deputy Director of Administrative-Executive Services

John Pita, Ph.D., Deputy Director of Clinical Services/Chief Psychologist

Karen Ramos, Deputy Director of Educational Services

Ervin Taylor, Deputy Director of Institutional Services