Board of Directors
Meet the TSONY 2022-2023
Board of Directors
Evelyn Bautista-Miller: President & Founder
Evelyn Bautista-Miller, LMSW, SDA is a bilingual Certified Licensed Social Worker (LMSW) in education with an impressive career in social work spanning over two decades. From working as a supervisor in a New York City Foster Care Agency to working within the education sector as a pre-school program director for general and special education students to educating the next generation of social workers as an adjunct lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work, Mrs. Bautista-Miller’s commitment to serving New York’s most underserved and vulnerable populations is unwavering. A graduate of the State University of New York at Albany the Rockefeller School of Social Welfare, she earned both a Bachelor and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Additionally, she attained her Educational Administration license at the Leadership Academy at (MCLA) Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and her bilingual certification from Touro College.
In 2014, passionate about using her experience and education to serve her community, Mrs. Bautista-Miller founded Tender Steps of New York, Inc. (TSONY, Inc.). TSONY Inc. is a 501(C) non-profit organization located in Rockland County, New York whose mission is centered on providing direct services to individuals who are struggling with some aspect of their lives including but not limited to eliminating inequities in education, helping families overcome challenges due to language barriers and addressing immigration and citizenship concerns. Whether it’s anger management, conflict resolution, educational advocacy, trauma support, or the many other services TSONY, Inc. provides, Mrs. Bautista-Miller leverages her skills, talents, knowledge, and compassion to provide support to families and youth that help improve their skills, attitude and outcomes for their future.
Her steadfast commitment to helping others, her ability to work effectively with clients from diverse backgrounds, and her professional commitment to enhance human well-being and help meet the basic human needs of all people are what drives much of Mrs. Bautista-Miller’s work. Her work extends far beyond the individual to the macro level allowing her to
influence public policy and legislature such as helping to introduce legislation (bill S.7526-A) that would mandate every school district to provide students with access to a school social worker to assist with the students’ mental health. A true community partner and advocate, part of her volunteer work includes the chartering of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s Tau Gamma Zeta Chapter in Rockland County in 2003. In addition, she has served on a Task Force with the District Attorney’s Office with the Clarkstown Police Department and has served two, 3-year terms as a board member for the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center in Spring Valley, New York.
Whether it’s working with families one on one, training up the next generation of social workers, advocating for legislation, or managing the day to day operations of TSONY, Inc., Mrs. Bautista-Miller is a fierce advocate for change to improve social conditions and strengthen the social networks. She is committed to being a part of the solution and uses all the tools in her arsenal to be the change she wants to see in the world. She currently works in Rockland County as a district social worker.
Degrees and Certifications:
Bachelor of Science (BSW) and Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), S.U.N.Y. at Albany.
Educational license as a Certified Bilingual in Spanish Social Worker and School District Administrator (SDA) in both New York and New Jersey Education Department.
Certification with the New York State Department of Health for Group Development Intervention & Family/Caregiver.
Support Groups for the Early Intervention Program for skill-building, intensive in-home, and respite services.
Provisional Certification as a school attendance teacher.
2020 Woman of Distinction Award- Presented by Assemblywoman Ellen C. Jaffee, NYS 97th Assembly District.
2019 Person of the Year awarded by the Rockland County Omega Psi Phi Chapter
2019 “Trailblazer Soror” honored by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Epsilon Nu Chapter for continued service to the community.
2018 Recipient of the “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Award honored by St. Charles AME Zion Church.
2018 “Unsung Hero” and “William Darden Education Award” recipient by the NAACP Spring Valley Chapter.
2018 “Ambassador” at the Dominican Parade and the Festival for the United Latin Festival which was held in Haverstraw, New York- August
2018 Recipient of the “Distinguished Service Award” presented by Toney L. Earl, Chairman of the Rockland Legislative Office.
2017 Recipient of the Outstanding Citizen Award awarded by the Town of Ramapo.
2016 Recipient of Mayor Demeza Delhomme Proclamation proclaiming that April 17, 2016, is the Tender Steps of New York Inc. Day in the Village of Spring Valley.
2015 Women’s History Month Honoree by The County Legislature Office in Rockland County for service within the community (includes the work done with schools and community organizations).
2015 Recipient of the “Rising Star” for 40 Under 40 by the New York State Hispanic Coalition, Inc.
2014 Honoree at EPIC’s 25th Anniversary of the Rockland County Chapter.
2014 Panelist for the AAUW Association of University Women Diversity Brunch.
2012 “Zeta of the Year” honored by Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Tau Gamma Zeta Chapter.
2012 Recipient of the “40 Under Forty” by REDC- Rockland Economic Development Corporation.
Dr. Sandra Ortiz, MD: Vice-President
Sandra Ortiz, M.D. F.A.A.P., has been serving the Bardonia, New York community as a pediatrician since July 2006. Prior to that, she was an attending and an Assistant Clinical Professor at The Children’s Hospital of New York/Columbia University for 9 years where she taught pediatric residents and coordinated several community outreach programs. Dr. Ortiz completed her internship and residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. During her time there, she served as chief resident. Dr. Ortiz obtained
her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She completed her undergraduate education at Manhattan College with a major in Biology. Dr. Ortiz, resides in Rockland County with her 2 daughters.
Dr. Ortiz is passionate about promoting positive community health outcomes, especially for underserved populations. Most significantly, she has been a fierce advocate for Latino communities and domestic violence survivors throughout her tenure. She hopes to harness and build upon these experiences as a member of our board.
Djenane Griffith: Treasurer
Djenane Griffith is an Internal Audit professional who is currently responsible for the internal audit (IA) department at TerraForm Power, Inc. She started her career in external audit at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP (formerly Price Waterhouse, LLP) and over the years have gained experience in a diverse range of industries by working at companies such as J.Crew (9 years – senior director), Deloitte & Touche (5 years – senior manager), and the Interpublic Group of Companies (manager – 2 years). Her career as an internal auditor has enabled her to cultivate
strong skills in areas such as project management, team leadership, cross-functional collaboration, and communication. At the conclusion of each IA project, I have a closing meeting with a cross-section of management and must deliver a report that is factual, describes any operational improvements in a fair manner, and include operational recommendations that are actionable.
Djenane spent approximately 7 years as an active member of the St. Anthony Home School Association (HSA); and although there is no formal role definition in place, she has held various responsibilities such as: developing and executing the meeting agenda, developing the over-arching HSA calendar, bringing in music and computer programming extracurricular activities to the school, documenting and distributing meeting notes – including tracking and following-up of pending action items, and organizing and leading fundraising events.
Djenane has been a member of the Rockland Orange Chapter of Jack and Jill of America since 2015. She is currently in her third year as Chapter Parliamentarian. She has also served on various committees such as: Bylaws and Policies & Procedures, Membership, and Audit.
Rachel Schlegel: Secretary
Rachel Schlegel is a school-based social worker at Stamford Public Schools.
Rachel graduated from Columbia University's clinical social work program with a
concentration in school-based services.
Rachel joined the board following her previous internship with TSONY. She is
passionate about grounding her clinical work in anti-oppressive practice, fostering
fulfilling connections, and staying involved in community outreach programs.
Dr. Audrey Marie Baker: Board of Director
Dr. Audrey Marie Baker pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics with a minor in Chinese at CUNY Queens College. She completed a Master’s of Science in Education Administration and Supervision from Pace University. Audrey also attended the Principal’s Center at Harvard University Graduate School of Education Summer Institute and also Critical Issues of Urban Education. Amongst her other credentials, she holds sixteen (16) licenses, permanent state certification (SAS and SDA), and has been certified as a New York State Impartial Hearing Officer. As a long-term educator with extensive experience spanning
over 35 years, Audrey has had the privilege of serving in general, bi-lingual, special needs, and special education environments, from grades P-12. Audrey served as a Principal of a newly themed middle school, School for Theater, Arts and Research (STAR) Academy in the Hunts Point area.
Under her leadership, in addition to the middle school's program, three (3) alternative high school programs (including recently released incarcerated student from the Stafford Juvenile Detention Center), a city-wide (District 75) special education junior high school program, and a Pre-K program, and a community-based organization, Pathways for Youth, all co-existed peacefully in her building. Audrey retired in 2008 from the NYC Department of Education. Audrey served as an instructor at City University and is an educational consultant with a few educationally driven companies.
In 2014, Audrey pursued the open seat for the At Large position on the New York State Board of Regents. She was endorsed by the NYS Allies for Public Education, a cadre of 45 member organizations throughout the state. Although she did not win, she remains responsive to community needs and continues to proactively
connect with teachers, educational leaders, parents, and students for the betterment of our educational system at all levels throughout our state. Audrey earned a Doctor of Education (ED.D) degree from the CSA/CITE/Sage Colleges Doctoral Program in 2017. She also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (DHL) in 2016 from St. Martin’s College and Seminary in Wisconsin. She is a member of the Association of Black Educators of New York, Inc. (ABENY, INC.), the New York City Middle School Principal’s Association, New York Academy of Public Education (NYAPE), the 79th Police Precinct Community Council, Life Member of the Delta Kappa, Pace University, Delta Kappa Gamma International
Society for Key Women Educators and Cornerstone Baptist Church.
Audrey has been recognized and honored for her accomplishments as an educator and community activist. One of her most significant awards was being a recipient of a Congregational Record Award in Education and Community Service honoring Women Who Dare To Be Different from the Honorable Congressman Edolphus Towns. Audrey has also been recognized for her affiliation with organizations that include The Food Pantry, delivering food to the elderly.
Audrey believes that her responsibility is to give back to the public school system, she quietly contributes to a high level of commitment and humanity in helping others. She values the viewpoint of others and has sought to be a role model with a moral high ground and an ethical framework. Audrey knows that her mission on earth is not to be served but to serve.
Michenson Joseph: Board of Director
Michenson Joseph was born and raised in Haiti. He emigrated to the U.S in the year 2000. he and his family emigrated to the United States because of the opportunities they knew and believe existed here. The opportunity for him to obtain a quality education was of the most importance to his parents.
Upon completing a bachelor’s degree from Virginia State University in May 2009, he became further aware of his interest in the field of Human Services. While attending the University, he served as a Mentor for the Big Brother Big Sister Program of Petersburg Virginia; additionally, he also worked as an intern for Chesterfield Juvenile Justice Court. Michenson has furthered his education by pursuing a Masters of Social Work at New York University. Michenson's background experience consists of working with at-risk adolescents and young adults dealing with an array of challenges from different backgrounds.
As a result, he has committed his most valuable professional experience toward Social Work. Most valuable and influential to Michenson's volunteer and professional work is his affiliation with the prestigious Fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha. The group's mission is to create distinguished leaders, promote brotherhood,
and academic excellence while providing advocacy and activism to communities and young scholars nationwide. Currently, he is a full-time employee at the Social Security Administration as a Claim Specialist
Dr. Rosa Yolanda Pineda: Board of Director
Dr. Rosa Yolanda Pineda is a black Dominican woman, who migrated to New York City as a high school graduate with no English language skills. She likes to be called Rosa Yolanda to honor the two nurses who took care of her and her mother because she was born underweight. As a young woman, she understood education to be her passport to independence and was blessed and disciplined to pursue her studies and obtained a doctorate in psychology. She is an educator, administrator, community organizer, and advocate with four decades of experience working for the NYC Department of Education. In the mid-80’s
she became the first Dominican School Psychologist in District 6, Washington Heights. In 2000, she was the first Dominican Supervisor of School Psychologists in New York City, and the fourth black woman in that field.
She has a great passion for community organizing, youth, the environment, and the arts. She would like to combine my passion and sensitivity for working and understanding underprivileged communities of color with her leadership and managerial skills to be better able to work and support these communities. She has helped create organizations and programs involving local stakeholders, particularly parents/caregivers, as well as being an active participant in social justice issues affecting the communities of color in which she has lived, worked, and attended school. She has served as a founder member, a member or volunteer of organizations such as the Puerto Rican/Latino Educational Roundtable, The Latino Commission of the Board of Education, The Parents’ Coalition, Community Association of Progressive Dominicans, Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services, Northern Manhattan Not For Sale, Altagracia Faith, and Justice Works and Cocolart among others.
She is looking to integrate her faith and vast experience with like-minded people to support existing programs and create new initiatives for the betterment of the Brown and Black communities globally and in Washington Heights in particular. She represent my parish St. Elizabeth Church at the Upper Manhattan Interfaith Inner Coalition, where various social justice ministries address issues related to
housing, the environment, youth, and homelessness. She has participated in the Housing Justice for All Platform.
This is an Upstate-Downstate Housing Alliance for greater tenant protections for all New York residents. Housing is a human right and all people, particularly the elderly and the younger generation should remain in their neighborhoods, with the appropriate education, health, economic programs that make themselves and their communities stronger and sustainable. At Connectemonos, a 501 c 3 organization, which she lead, youth participation and partnerships are pivotal for us, inter-generational agents of change to move a compassionate and empowering community agenda forward to address an array of social justice issues, including access to education, open/green spaces and food.