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Commission Members

The Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights shall be comprised of the Executive Director, who will be the Chairperson of the Commission and 14 members (volunteers) representing a broad spectrum of the community, including, but not limited to the following factors:  areas of expertise, advocacy, experience, community involvement, profession, education, race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, age, religion, and geography.

A member of the Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights shall be by reputation, inclination, training and experience, dedicated to the cause of human rights.  Any individual appointed to the Commission will have demonstrated an abiding interest in the cause of human rights and a familiarity with the community, its needs, problems, strengths, and weaknesses that will greatly assist that person in achieving the goals of the Commission.

Responsibilities of Commission Members

Commission members are expected to fulfill the following:

All terms for Commission members shall be 3 years except for the Commission’s initial slate of appointments in 2016. 

 

The Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights members are:​

Committed to human rights and equity for all, Jody Miller is the Executive Director and Chair of the Commission on Human Rights.  From 2016-2020, she was the Human Rights/Equal Employment Opportutnity (EEO) Officer also responsbile for diversity & inclusion in the workplace. Prior to her role with Dutchess County government, she spent more than 20 years in the alternative dispute resolution field, working closely with courts, businesses, non-profits and the community to create innovative mediation and conflict resolution training programs that responded to community needs.  

Jody has been an adjunct professor of mediation at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University and is a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (ISCT).  Jody is a certified trainer through the New York State Unified Court System’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs (ADR).  She has published articles about mediation, organizational change and conflict resolution.  She has been a presenter at conferences throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia.  Jody is the 2016 recipient of the Lawrence Cooke Peace Innovator Award from the New York State Dispute Resolution Association. 

Eric has leveraged his communications and financial expertise in support of both his professional career and community service. His experience with leading advertising and public relations firms, along with his two decades in senior management on Wall Street, inform his current position as co-founder and president of Compitium, LLC, a financial services consulting firm. Eric brings a similar perspective to his role on the Town of Washington Planning Board and his position as chair of the board of trustees of his alma mater, Emerson College. He has been a long-standing member of Emerson’s Board of Trustees and has served as chair of the Investment Committee and as a member of Academic Affairs, Finance, Audit, Trusteeship, and Institutional Advancement Committees. His active role on the board has provided a strong platform for his long-standing commitment to promoting diversity. Eric graduated from Emerson in 1978 with a BS in Speech.

Tracey Anderson was appointed to the commission in October 2023

Tracey’s background is largely in the Financial Industry with experience managing and growing retail bank branches. Although Tracey's background is primarily in Finances she earned a degree in Sociology with a minor in education. Her passion has always been helping and supporting her community. Seeking out opportunities to give back was and remains a priority. Throughout the years she has taught basic money management and budgeting to her clients.

In addition to teaching finances Tracey also has a desire to build a bridge between high school students in the underserved community and college/trade schools. Tracey recently participated in student career day in Yonkers NY High Schools where she presented “Steps to Success.”

Tracey has recently formed an organization, Aspire to Inspire Success. The mission of the organization is College and Career Connection.

By joining the Commission, Tracey’s plan is to take her experience coupled with her passion for people and positively impact the community on a larger scale.

 

Christina Aquino has been a dedicated Housing Coordinator with People USA, a peer-run non-profit organization, for over two years. As a Certified Peer Recovery Advocate, she uses her unique lived experience to help serve her community and house the underserved and often ignored. She works with participants living with serious mental illness, addiction, homelessness and criminal history. She is passionate about human rights and is currently completing her bachelor's degree in Community & Human Services at Empire State College, which will further enable her to serve others. She is looking forward to becoming more connected with the community while striving to enrich the lives of others through advocacy via her work on this commission, and her work at People USA. Her passion and focus are fueled by the ongoing housing crisis in combination with income inequality and discrimination, the stigmatization of mental illness and addiction, discrimination based on documentation status, and the lack of access to care. Through her lived experience and work in the social service field, she has developed a repertoire of knowledge that makes her specially informed to serve the community. Christina resides in the Town of Poughkeepsie with her husband Jose and their dog, Scrappy. 

Michael is a seasoned entrepreneur with a deep-seated commitment to social justice. His journey in the business world has been marked by an unwavering dedication to using his skills and resources to make a positive impact on the lives of others.

Michael was instilled with a strong sense of civic responsibility from a young age. He grew up witnessing the struggles faced by marginalized communities, and he became determined to use his talents to create a more just and equitable world.

When Michael launched his first business venture, he quickly realized that the entrepreneurial spirit could be a powerful force for social change. By creating jobs and investing in underserved communities, he could make a tangible difference in the lives of those around him.

Michael's passion for human rights is evident in everything he does. He firmly believes that businesses are responsible for giving back to the communities in which they operate. He has made it his mission to use his entrepreneurial success to promote positive social change.

Michael is a role model for aspiring entrepreneurs everywhere. He has shown that achieving both business success and social impact is possible. His commitment to human rights is an inspiration to us all.

Michael is married and has two children.

As assistant dean of students and director of the Educational Opportunity Program, Doris Diaz-Kelly provides leadership to the College's Center for College Access and Educational Opportunities, which includes both state and federal funded programs.  The Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), TRiO: Student Support Services, Louis Stokes Alliances for  Minority  Participation and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program. EOP is the only program of its kind in the nation, granting access to higher education; it was SUNY's response to providing access to marginalized populations during the Civil Rights era.

 All three grant programs focus on providing support to student populations that face more challenges than expected in pursuing a college degree. Her 20+ years of experience in higher education have been student-centered; she has dedicated her career to facilitating the college experience for youth, that like her, are mostly first-generation college students whom are eager to achieve and to make an impact in their communities.

Her work on behalf of the student experience at Dutchess Community College has provided her the opportunity to effect policy and procedures that promote student success for the most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Her personal experience brings her to this task with great sensitivity to the issues students and their families must overcome during college transition. Her work and passion is rooted in the belief that we all deserve an opportunity; that given the right mentorship and access, those who may otherwise not have a chance, can achieve success and make an impact on the future generations in their communities.  Doris strongly believes that there is no better way to live your life than to live it in service to others; you have transcended when you discover the joy in giving opportunity rather than receiving.  

Doris Diaz-Kelly holds a  Bachelor of Arts- in Sociology and Spanish Literature '94 and a Master of Arts in Social Sciences '97 from Binghamton University. She lives in Red Hook with her husband John Kelly, and is the proud mom of three daughters: Ayari Diaz-Kelly, Jaina Diaz-Kelly and Isabella Diaz-Kelly. 

Gwen Higgins is a retired school teacher who currently presents workshops at conferences, school programs, Girl Scouts initiatives and spiritual retreats.  She helps participants explore essential social principles through interactive activities and discussions.  Her experiences allow participants to safely explore such issues as race, social class, prejudice, and positive relationships.  She creates opportunities to sensitize them and give them tools that increase their competence in conflict resolution, bias awareness, multicultural sensitivity and the value of community.
 
Mrs. Higgins graduated from SUNY Cortland, did graduate work at Penn State, Salisbury College, College of St. Rose and taught at the Spackenkill School District for 37 years.  She taught Physical Education, study skills, coached six sports and administrated a mentoring program called “Home Base”.  She served as advisor to several clubs, activities and student groups.  She has delivered many public speaking keynote addresses including graduation speeches.  She has served on an extensive number of community boards including Dutchess County Mediation, Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, the American Association of University Women, Commission on Race and Religion and most recently has been selected to be on the board of the Human Rights Commission of Dutchess County.

Sarah Khan-Prine is a Senior Director of Programs for a nonprofit organization which specializes in helping children and adults with developmental disabilities achieve independence in their desired goals. She possesses a Bachelors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from SUNY New Paltz and a Masters of Science in Elementary Special Education from Hofstra University. Sarah is currently working towards her Educational Doctorate in Organizational Change and Leadership from the University of Southern California - Rossier School of Education. She hopes to use her research to understand how leaders of self-advocacy organizations are able to use their community resources and networks to become leaders and models for future leaders.

Sarah has worked as a teacher's assistant and lead teacher from pre-school to 6th grade. She has also worked as a behavioral therapist, special education itinerant teacher, and educational director. Through her experience, she has learned the power of being an advocate and developing positive relationships with others. As a new member of the Dutchess County Commission on Human Rights, Sarah hopes to continue to educate and empower members in her community. 

Sarah lives in Hyde Park with her husband Marc, a Hudson Valley native, and their two children.

 

Growing up in a small, family business the critical message for a fulfilling life has always been service to others. In my search for this, I attended Villanova University (BA), Glassboro State College, and Rutgers University (MA). My wife, children and I moved to the Hudson Valley 20 years ago when I became the Superintendent of the Arlington Central Schools, previously serving at many levels of education in both urban and suburban districts with one short stint in an international school in Saudi Arabia. Each has provided opportunities to learn, appreciate, and support a wide array of students whose learning styles, ethnicities, backgrounds, identities, and circumstances required a special, careful, understanding. Now, in retirement, I continue to be very active in volunteer activities locally and in Dutchess County.

Jena Ray was raised in India, lived and worked in Switzerland for several years, and has called the US, home, for the larger part of 3 decades. Having studied and worked in 3 different continents, has shaped her perspective of the world. She believes one can learn and grow, from having an open mind, and embracing differences – religious, ethnic, linguistic. She is passionate about inclusion and equity.

As a software engineer and architect at IBM, she led, drove and facilitated large technology projects, which spanned several years, and required working with IBM employees, and vendors in Asia, Europe and North America. She has a successful track record of working effectively with people of different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds.

She has volunteered for multiple organizations, including Dutchess County Office of Aging, and Sparrow's Nest.

She is an active member of All For One, an inter-faith organization working on multi-faceted community outreach.

She has an established relationship of support for ASHA (Foundation for education, in India), and for EKAL (educational and vocational training in rural India). 

She has on the ground engagement with Indian non-government organizations (CRY, Pratham) for children's rights and education.

She has a MS in Computer Science from Binghamton University, and a BS from Binghamton University.  She worked at IBM for 29 years, and is engaged in continuous growth, as an information technology professional, and an advocate of human rights.  She has lived in Dutchess County for 20 years.

Biography coming soon!

Bailey Williams first joined the Commission when it was reinstated in 2016. After a brief move away from the area, Bailey returned to the Commission in 2019. 

Bailey's background is largely in education; she received her M.Ed. from Arizona State University, where she specialized in Autism Consultation and Collaboration. She has taught at both the middle school and collegiate levels, and has designed and implemented curriculum focusing on Human Rights and Social Movements. In addition to her experience in the classroom, Bailey has worked as a Volunteer Coordinator for GLSEN Phoenix, as well as provided life skills training to adults with traumatic brain injuries and children with autism. 

Bailey lives with her family in Red Hook. In addition to the Commission, Bailey also serves on the Board for the Red Hook Community Center.