Who's Who of Professional Women


Initially considering becoming a lawyer, Kristina Ann Lesley, MS, was inspired by a psychology class during her undergraduate studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha and decided to pursue a career that would allow her to support others, particularly at-risk children and teenagers. She graduated cum laude in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Ms. Lesley began her career that same year as a youth care worker for Cooper Village at Uta Halee Girls Village, now Uta Halee Academy, a residential service that provides young women with a safe, supportive and nurturing environment. Subsequently, she served as a law clerk with Lustgarten & Roberts, PC, from 1998 to 1999.

Joining Heartland Family Service as an intake specialist in 1999, Ms. Lesley rose to become a program specialist from 2003 to 2005. During this time, she earned a Master of Science in criminal justice, with an emphasis in counseling, from the University of Nebraska Omaha in 2001. Over the years, she also achieved certification as a probation officer and probation officer trainer, a medication aide, and in CPR and first aid. From 2005 to 2007, Ms. Lesley was an adjunct instructor at Kaplan University, and since 2008, she has excelled as an adjunct faculty instructor in the sociology and human services departments of Metropolitan Community College, teaching courses on criminal justice, sociology, marriage and family, cultural diversity, juvenile justice, and human relations.

Ms. Lesley became a mentor coordinator and admissions and family support service specialist for the Omaha Home for Boys from 2007 to 2009 and later served as a program manager from 2012 to 2013. In 2009, she became a juvenile probation officer for the state of Nebraska and rose to serve as a juvenile justice resource supervisor from 2010 to 2012. She is incredibly proud of what she accomplished during this time, serving on several committees as well as with other community service organizations. Notably, Ms. Lesley was invited to present her work on data collection and reporting in Douglas County, Nebraska, at a national conference.

In 2015, Ms. Lesley returned to Uta Halee Academy as the program director of the Rite of Passage program, for which she also spent time on the community advisory board. In this role, she was responsible for taking the program from a bare-bones framework and turning it into something truly spectacular for both the children and the staff. On all levels, from treatment to education to activities, it provides young girls with rich cultural experiences and opportunities that many have never gotten to experience before. Stepping down in 2022, Ms. Lesley considers this seven-year tenure to be the highlight of her career.

Today, Ms. Lesley brings her expertise in human services, juvenile justice, trauma and gender-specific programming to Heartland Family Service, serving as an assistant program director for Nebraska Family Works since 2022. Overseeing 10 programming staff members, her duties include reviewing referrals, interviewing and screening potential clients, and ensuring that all the low-income housing paperwork is completed correctly. Ms. Lesley additionally contributes her expertise through teaching ethics, professionalism, assessment, case management and sociology to high school students.

Attributing much of her success to her tenacity and passion for helping others, Ms. Lesley has been the recipient of a number of honors and accolades throughout her career. Named Educator of the Term by Kaplan University in 2006, she was later presented with the Above and Beyond Award by Nebraska State Probation in 2015. Most recently, she was named Employee of the Month in 2022 for her work with the Rite of Passage program at Uta Halee Academy. Ms. Lesley’s excellence has also been recognized through induction into Phi Kappa Phi, the Golden Key International Honour Society, and Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology.

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