The Child Center of NY is made up of dedicated, experienced professionals from diverse backgrounds with a common passion for helping children and families reach their full potential.
Chief Officers and Senior Vice Presidents
Traci Donnelly Chief Executive Officer
Traci Donnelly joined The Child Center of NY as Chief Operating Officer in July 2013 and became CEO and Executive Director in February 2014. In her previous position as Senior Vice President and New York State Regional Director of Phoenix House, Traci presided over $60 million worth of New York State bonding projects and residential and outpatient treatment programs. Earlier in her career, Traci worked as a director of mental health services and a special education teacher. She received her bachelor’s in psychology and criminal justice and her master’s in education from Dowling College in Oakdale, New York, and she is a New York State certified special education teacher.
Sonia Banks Senior Vice President, Organizational Culture & Talent Development
Sonia Banks, Ph.D., joined The Child Center of NY in August 2019 as Senior Vice President, Human Resources. Sonia was previously CEO at DRBANKSATPLAY, an innovation and human-strategy firm providing human resource management and organizational development for adaptive strategic change. Dr. Banks has provided educational training for leadership development and community partnerships at not-for-profit organizations offering health care, community, and social services, including Bon Secours, Downstate Medical Center, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration, and Arthur Ashe Institute for Human Potential. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in African American Studies from Wellesley College and her master’s degree in human resource management with a concentration in training and organizational development from The New School for Social Research – Milano School of Management. She also holds a master’s and doctorate in clinical psychology from George Washington University. Dr. Banks is a recipient of a National Institute of Health Fellowship in community-based research.
Denise Buckley Senior Vice President, Residential Services
Denise Buckley joined The Child Center of NY in June 2020, overseeing our new Residential Services division and The Child Center Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) in the Weeksville section of Brooklyn. Prior to joining The Child Center, Denise served as Managing Director of Long-Term Residential Services and of Community Residential Services at Phoenix House. Denise has dedicated more than 20 years working for a nonprofit organization in both administrative and clinical capacities to serve in the area of behavioral health. This was always something in which she believed she could make a difference. Denise is a CASAC Master Counselor, and she holds a bachelor of science degree in human services and an MBA with a concentration in health services and risk management. She is also a member of Delta Mu Delta.
Robert Cizma Senior Vice President, Health Homes, Prevention, and Integrated Care
Robert Cizma came to The Child Center of NY in August 2016 with nearly 30 years of experience in both the mental health and child welfare sectors. Before joining The Child Center team, Robert served as a consultant for NYS Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health and Vice President of Mental Health and Preventive Services at JCCA. He has extensive knowledge of Targeted Case Management, home and community-based wavier services, preventive services, evidence-based practice, Medicaid managed care, and Health Homes. He has been active in a number of coalitions, including The Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies, The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, and the New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health. Robert holds an M.S.W. from Hunter College; an Advanced Certificate in Clinical Social Work from New York University; and an Executive Certificate from the Institute for Not-for-Profit Management, Columbia University Graduate School of Business & Wiener Education Center of UJA Federation of New York.
Learn more about Robert Cizma in this Child Center Spotlight.
Steve Donowitz Chief Financial Officer
Steve Donowitz joined The Child Center of NY in May 2014, bringing with him an abundance of nonprofit, education, and government finance and operations experience. Steve has an MBA in Accounting and Management from New York University. Prior to joining The Child Center, Steve oversaw strategic initiatives and infrastructure development while serving as Vice President of Phoenix House. He previously served as Vice President of Finance at Phoenix, responsible for an annual operating budget totaling $100 million, and Vice President for Adolescent Services, overseeing residential and outpatient programming in New York.
Amanda Etienne Senior Vice President, Youth Development
Amanda Etienne’s first position at The Child Center of NY was social work intern at our South Jamaica Clinic. She joined The Child Center’s Youth Development team in 2004, as the director of the adolescent HIV prevention program, a position in which she served for nearly six years before being promoted to Associate Director of Youth Development, Special Programs. Prior to joining The Child Center, Amanda worked for nine years as a psychiatric social worker in the substance abuse division of Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center (now BronxCare Health System), and she served as a forensic social worker for the Legal Aid Society. Amanda holds a bachelor’s degree in forensic psychology and a master’s degree in social work from Hunter College School of Social Work. Amanda’s passion is to serve the community through her work with adolescents and families. She considers herself a service-focused social work administrator with a strong commitment to serving the needs of disadvantaged youth and adults in high-needs communities. Her efforts were recognized in 2016, when she was selected to receive the prestigious PASEsetter Award from the Partnership for After School Education.
Learn more about Amanda Etienne in this blog post about her earning a PASEsetter Award.
Nicholas Ferreira Senior Vice President, Youth Development
Nicholas Ferreira first joined The Child Center team in 2008. He began as a Site Director, a position in which he served for nearly two years before being promoted to Associate Director of Youth Development and Quality Assurance. He was promoted to Vice President of Youth Development in the summer of 2016 and to Senior Vice President in the fall of 2020. Prior to joining The Child Center, Nick served as Assistant Principal at P.S./I.S. 73K for three years, a literacy coach for two years, and a teacher for five years. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Florida and a Certificate of Supervision from Baruch College. Between his education and professional experience, Nick brings a wealth of knowledge of learning theories and pedagogy and a commitment to nurture educators and increase performance.
Leon Greene Chief Strategy Officer
Leon is our data guy, responsible for keeping The Child Center’s decision-making on course at the program and senior management level by leveraging data analytics and industry proficiency, as well as employing financial and business principles. He plays a key role in ensuring that current and future programs remain aligned with the agency’s core competencies and are financially sustainable. He holds a bachelor’s in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a bachelor’s in applied mathematics from Stony Brook University. His favorite color is purple.
Pamela Gubuan Chief Compliance Officer
Pamela Gubuan joined The Child Center of NY in May 2016, overseeing compliance and risk management. Prior to joining The Child Center, Pam served as Vice President, Compliance Officer of Phoenix House and previously served as the organization’s Internal Audit Director. Pam holds a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in accounting from Washington University in St. Louis. She is licensed as a Certified Internal Auditor in the State of New York and has a National Certification in Healthcare Compliance.
Diana Morozov Senior Vice President, Finance
Diana Morozov joined The Child Center of NY in 2015 after spending more than two decades in the fiscal department of FEGS Health & Human Services. Diana began her work at FEGS as a Budget and Billing Analyst and was progressively promoted to positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in an 11-year tenure as Vice President, Financial Analysis. Diana holds a bachelor’s in industrial management and planning/mathematical models and attended a professional studies program at New York University in the area of management planning control and effective budgeting.
Linda Rodriguez Senior Vice President, Behavioral Health and Early Childhood
Linda has been with The Child Center of NY since October 2008. For 10 years, Linda led the Early Childhood Education division, overseeing the Early Head Start, Head Start, and ParentChild+ programs at four locations. She also previously served as the division director for Preventative Health Services at The Child Center. Currently in her position as SVP, Behavioral Health and Early Childhood, Linda oversees two Child Center divisions, combining her expertise in Early Childhood Education and Behavioral Health to provide a holistic approach to integrating programming across the agency. Prior to joining The Child Center, she served as Director of Early Childhood Programs at the Children’s Aid Society and has worked in many other prominent New York City organizations. Bilingual in English and Spanish and holding a master’s degree in education from Columbia University and a New York State public school teaching license, Linda is certified to teach children from nursery school to sixth grade.
Learn more about Linda Rodriguez in this Child Center Spotlight from when she was serving as Vice President of Early Childhood Education and Prevention.
Sherri Romano Senior Vice President, Clinical Services
Sherri Romano, LCSW, joined the Child Center team as Senior Vice President of Clinical Services in August 2021. In this role, she is bridging clinical services across the six divisions of The Child Center to create a standardized comprehensive clinical model.
Sherri began her career almost 20 years ago in NYC foster home programs, mastering how to navigate the many systems that touch our children’s and families’ lives. She moved on to develop and implement one of the first Bridges to Health programs in NYS before transitioning to residential services. Sherri was the Clinical Director of a large residential treatment center (RTC) serving youth with Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) before jumping into her role as Director of an RTC serving dually diagnosed SED/IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) youth. To effect change on a larger scale, Sherri joined the Office of Mental Health in NYC as the RTF Director, a position in which she served for more than five years. Sherri is thrilled to be using her clinical expertise, knowledge of systems and social determinates, and her insight into government to enhance and integrate clinical services for our children and families.
Sofya Badalbayeva Vice President, Revenue Cycle Management
Sofya Badalbayeva joined The Child Center of NY in early 2016 as the Associate Executive Director of Revenue Cycle Management. Previously, she worked at Phoenix House Foundation for 23 years. For 17 of those years, she served as Regional Director of Client Billing and Benefits, responsible for third-party billing and regulations for $32 million in annual revenue. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s in education and earned a Management and Leadership Seminar certificate from Cornell University.
Tanya Krien Vice President, Early Childhood Education, Administration and Operations
As Vice President of Administration and Operations in The Child Center of NY’s Early Childhood Education division, Tanya Krien works toward strengthening and streamlining best practices and communications across The Child Center’s three Head Start programs and our Early Head Start and Parent-Child Home Program. From 2008-2018, Tanya served as Director of The Child Center’s Early Head Start program. In 2015 her role was expanded to include oversight of the Parent-Child Home Program, and in 2017, Tanya was awarded The Child Center’s Russell L. Carson Visionary Award, established to recognize employees who perform above and beyond expectations, initiate creative solutions, and demonstrate entrepreneurship in increasing the accessibility to services and opportunities for children and families. Prior to joining The Child Center, she worked with children of all ages, including those with special needs, in public schools and nonprofit organizations. Tanya holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and psychology and a master’s degree in early childhood literacy. Tanya is certified in elementary education and literacy for children birth to 6th grade.
Ricardo López Vice President, Facilities and Procurement Services
Rickey López came to The Child Center in 2018 as Manager of Facilities & Procurement Services before being promoted to Vice President in 2020. He is responsible for planning, directing, and overseeing 150,000 square feet of building operations and purchasing-related activities for all Child Center sites. He has been instrumental in meeting the facilities-related demands that have arisen during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping the programs running without interruption and ensuring a workforce of 1,000+ employees pivoted successfully and rapidly to remote work. Before coming to The Child Center, Rickey served in facilities management and supply chain operational roles at both nonprofit organizations and for-profit companies. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration (BBA) with a concentration in international business.
Yehica Marcano Vice President, Human Resources
Yehica is a consummate human resources professional with a proven track record of aligning the workforce with organizational goals. Her areas of expertise include risk management and compliance, employee relations, performance management, employment law, technology, and the day-to-day management of HR operations in unionized settings. She standardized The Child Center’s hiring process and payroll practices and played a key role in implementing an automated system that reduced administration costs by more than 10 percent. She also instituted procedures for maintaining compliance and successfully managing various audits. Before she came to The Child Center, Yehica served in Human Resources at the Anti-Defamation League’s New York office, where she was honored with the organization’s Luzell Award in recognition of exceptional work. Yehica is PHR certified, bilingual in English and Spanish, holds a bachelor’s in psychology, and is an active member of the Human Resources Professional Association of Nonprofit Organizations.
Marie Mason Vice President, Early Childhood Education, Programs and Curriculum
Marie Mason has been in the field of early childhood for more than 35 years. She joined The Child Center of NY in 2002 as the Education Director of the agency’s first early childhood education program in Woodside, Queens. Since then, she has contributed to the expansion of the Early Childhood division, helping the agency secure additional contracts with the Administration for Children’s Services for Head Start/EarlyLearn sites and with the federal government for Early Head Start. Prior to joining the agency, she held administrative director positions with the Community Program Centers of Long Island, ACE Early Childhood Center, and First Class Child Care Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music from SUNY Brockport and a master of science degree in elementary education from SUNY Potsdam, as well as NYS Permanent Certification Pre-K-6. As Vice President of Programs and Curriculum in our Early Childhood division, Marie is committed to enhancing the quality of learning environments across all sites and to supporting the professional development of the staff.
Brigid Mitchel Vice President, Development and Communications
With a background in community organizing and fundraising for youth development services and education programs in New York City, Brigid joined the staff of The Child Center in October 2019. In March 2020, she was promoted to the role of Vice President, Development and Communications to lead the organization’s fundraising strategy, liaise with donors and board members, and oversee all internal and external communications. Brigid’s passion for philanthropy’s role in building community, as well as her commitment to supporting youth and families’ access to opportunity and success, is evident in all she does. Her experience includes fundraising for the All Stars Project, Inc.’s afterschool development programs and providing strategic leadership for The Quad Preparatory School, where she consistently achieved or exceeded fundraising goals, increased volunteer and donor engagement, and advanced communications. Brigid earned her bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Anderson Sungmin Yoon Vice President, Integrated and Value-Based Care
Dr. Yoon is a behavioral health leader with 18 years of experience in mental health and substance abuse services. With a bachelor’s degree from Yonsei University in Seoul, a master’s in social work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and a doctorate in social work from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Yoon has built his expertise in cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, alcoholism and substance abuse treatment, play therapy, marriage and family therapy, and many evidence-based treatment models. His primary tasks are to train our clinical social workers and interns on various evidence-based therapy models, craft the service delivery of all clinics to ensure high-quality services, and develop and implement strategies to integrate various lines of business and value-based care initiatives. An immigrant from South Korea, Dr. Yoon has lived in Queens for more than 17 years. He serves the community as a columnist for monthly magazines S.CASA and Mom & I, a regular radio guest on KRB, FM 87.7, and a speaker at social and public health events. He is also a former Vice President of the Korean American Association of Flushing, and currently serves as a member of the NYC Department of Mental Hygiene’s Advisory Board and the NYC Drug Strategy Advisory Council, appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Learn more about Dr. Yoon in this Child Center Spotlight.
Sandeep Dhingra Medical Director
Sandeep Dhingra, M.D., is a psychiatrist working with child, adolescent, and adult populations. After completing his Adult Psychiatry residency from Mount Sinai School of Medicine (now called the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), Elmhurst campus, Dr. Dhingra earned a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from the same institution. Dr. Dhingra has extensive experience in working with all kinds of childhood psychiatric disorders, including ADHD, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders. Dr. Dhingra believes that for an effective intervention, a team approach works best. Dr. Dhingra also has worked at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center Outpatient Services.
The Child Center of NY employs 1,000 licensed therapists, trained home visitors, social workers, teachers, youth work professionals, and supervisory and support staff. These dedicated professionals work every day to help the children and families who walk through our doors overcome incredible adversity to achieve their full potential. Please see the Our Team page for a sampling of their stories.