Marla Stuart

Director of Contra Costa County, Employment and Human Services Department
Region 1 JPA Board Member


40 Douglas Drive
Martinez, California 94553

Professional Experience

Marla began serving as the Director of Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services Department in 2022. Prior to becoming EHSD Director in April 2022, Dr. Stuart served as Deputy Director at the Solano County Health & Social Services Department where she oversaw the department’s Employment & Eligibility Services Division and 415 staff members who administer CalFresh, CalWORKs, Medi-Cal, and General Assistance.

Marla has dedicated 35 years in public service to promoting social justice and ensuring individual and community wellbeing. She started her career in Rockford, Illinois, where she served as a probation officer at a youth detention center and a case manager at an outpatient mental health services clinic. These experiences motivated her to earn a Master of Social Work with an emphasis on community organizing and planned social change.

In 1993, Marla moved to the Diné Nation in Arizona where she worked for the Indian Health Service, taught at Diné College, served on the local school board, and led Girl Scout troops. In 2007, she moved to California and served at the Sonoma County Human Services Department leading planning, research, and evaluation activities.


Marla holds a PhD in Social Welfare from University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from University of Washington.


Marla has a husband, a psychiatrist for the Veteran’s Administration, and 2 grown daughters, a nurse and a teacher. Marla’s parents and grandparents were also dedicated to service, inspiring her focus on mitigating poverty, counteracting structural inequalities, ending interpersonal violence, alleviating trauma, and educating community members.

Professional organizations

  • County Welfare Director’s Association