Dawn-Renee Smith

Dawn-Renee Smith

Deputy director - programs


Dawn-Renee Smith has served as a deputy director since 2018. In this role, she provides oversight to the programs division, which includes the two community corrections facilities as well as the Work Ethic Camp (WEC) and the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women (NCCW). The division is focused on preparing individuals for release and includes the areas of classification and transportation, volunteers, non-clinical programming, education, vocational and life skills, reentry services, research and communications.

“The work of the programs division is central to our ability to keep people safe,” said Smith. “It is rewarding to work with this team as we provide incarcerated men and women with opportunities for meaningful change and prepare them for successful community reentry.”

Under Smith’s leadership, the programs division has implemented innovative ways to reach the population with programming, education and reentry services, including digital learning and interactive resources.  

Smith started her career with NDCS in 2005 as a caseworker at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution (TSCI). Since then, she has managed the agency’s legislative and communications divisions and served as the administrator for reentry services. Prior to being named deputy director, Smith served as chief of staff, providing oversight of research, communications, legislation and policy development and accreditation.

Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and has extensive experience in human services, with an emphasis in behavioral health, grant writing and fundraising.