Khadijah Tilman


Our Team

Traci C. Terrance


Ms.Khadijah Tillman is licensed clinical social worker and owner of Sankofa Family Counseling Services. She provides psychotherapy services to adults, children and families. She has specialized training in couple’s therapy, family therapy, EMDR (trauma processing), and trauma focused play therapy with children. She received her training at the Stave University of New York at Buffalo in 2006. She has worn several hats in the mental health field including work with the severely and persistently mentally ill, substance abuse counseling, trauma focused counseling with survivors of sexual abuse, and various management roles.  


 Ms. Tillman enjoys working with a broad spectrum of people and families from diverse backgrounds and identities.  

“The relationship between the client and the therapist is a transactional process. I receive just as much as I give, I am forever grateful for the opportunity to work with my clients.” Khadijah Tillman, LCSW-R 


 Outside of Sankofa Family Counseling Services Ms. Tillman is a passionate, dedicated mother of three. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, the vastness of the outdoors, a great performance, a moving conversation, and unplanned funny moments. Ms. Tillman lives for the joy offered by the small things in life. She is committed to filtering this appreciation into her professional work and personal journey.

Ms. Traci C. Terrance is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), and received her MS in Social Work (MSW) from Syracuse University. For over 15-years Traci has worked in a social work capacity, providing consultation and training to school and local community groups on emotional wellness, behavioral interventions, and trauma informed care. In addition to providing individual, family, and group therapy services,


Ms. Terrance’s career has included various management roles in outpatient mental health, the provision of crisis mental health services in psychiatric emergency settings, and teaching as an adjunct professor in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Ms. Terrance is currently working towards completing her PhD in Human Development in 2019, with a primary research focus in cultural humility. 


While much of her clinical practice has centered around providing therapeutic services to children and adolescents, Ms. Terrance enjoys working with a diverse array of people both individually and interpersonally. Throughout her work, Ms. Terrance has developed a passion for working with people impacted by trauma and adversity, and brings both a trauma-informed and systems-perspective to her clinical practice.


Ms. Terrance wholeheartedly believes that our ability to be our best selves comes from our willingness to critically reflect on our past and, for this reason, is excited to be a part of Sankofa Family Counseling Services.

Outside of Sankofa Family Counseling Services

Ms. Terrance enjoys spending time

with her family and friends, gardening; and tries to maintain her mental, physical, and spiritual well-being through yoga and other healthy activities.

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Imani Wagstaff

Imani Wagstaff I am studying Marriage and Family Therapy at Medialle College in Buffalo, New York as a graduate student. I am currently studying under the professional guidance and skill of Khadijah Tillman LCSW-R, owner of Sankofa Family Counseling. I completed my ungraduated studies at SUNY/ Empire State College in Rochester, New York. 

I have a bachelor’s degree in Human Services. 

Prior to my educational endeavors I’ve worked in leadership and management roles within youth residential settings.  

I have experience working with children and families with mental health challenges and the developmentally disabled.

I also have experience working with children with acute behavior challenges and providing crisis management to families and children. My professional certifications/trainings include, Therapeutic Crisis Intervention Trainer, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Applied Behavioral Analysis ABA.

I commit my time and energy to living a balanced life of career, school, family, friends, and personal growth. Outside of my counseling work and school, I enjoy exercising to restore my mental and physical being. I also enjoy studying and engaging in the arts, specifically graffiti art and creative writing. I’ve participated in and won several competitions within the Rochester area.  I am a big advocate of living a balanced life of hard work and play.

Jacquelina Pirela

Jacquelina Pirela  is a licensed master of social work (LMSW) who graduated from The State University At Brockport cum laude with a bachelors in social work in 2009. She then worked in the field under various positions until returning to obtain her masters degree, graduating in 2015 from the advanced standing masters program through Nazareth College.

She has experience with providing psychotherapy to children/adolescents and adults, substance abuse counseling, group therapy, as well as acute crisis intervention assessment. She also can provide the service of initial mental health assessments. Ms. Pirela enjoys working with a diverse population of individuals. Specializing in solution focused therapy, motivational interviewing, life coaching, and trauma informed care.

Ms. Pirela believes the relationship developed between client and therapist is
imperative to the helping process.

Kiah E. Nyame

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Persephone Modeste

Dr. Kiah E. Nyame states his greatest passion is to bring children and families that have experienced traumatic and/or stressful social and cultural events, to a place of finding wellness. Helping individuals, families, and diverse groups develop healthy relationships and find common human connections that strengthen harmonious racial and cultural differences. Dr. Nyame focus is the betterment and well-being and healing of the human existence.


Dr. Nyame provides individuals and families with counseling education and healing processes focused on personal development, socio-cultural and generational traumas. Dr. Nyame also specialize in coaching executive leaders and life coaching for individuals impacted by post and contemporary traumas. In addition, Dr. Nyame offers for-profit and non- profit organizations with trainings, organizational change, relationship models, and equity & justice management.


Dr. Kiah E. Nyame serves as Founding Executive Director of Ujima Rochester/Ujima Atlanta, Inc. from January 2002- present. Ujima is a pro-social development agency serving severely-at-risk youth and their families. Dr. Nyame created in 2011 the African World History Classes in Rochester and Atlanta to support lay-persons, youth, human service and education professionals increase knowledge of the historical contributions of the African Diaspora. Dr. Nyame serves as a Social-Justice and Program Evaluation Consultant, as well as a Cultural & Social Trauma Educator. He co-founded in 1997, Umoja n Recovery a chemical dependency recovery group dealing with issues that are specific to African Americans. He has served as a founding member of the Rochester Fatherhood Resource Initiative Inc. He has served as an Effective Black Parenting and Family Consultant and Young Men’s and Young Women’s Rites of Passage curriculum developer and trainer. Dr. Kiah E. Nyame has over twenty years experience in the education, juvenile justice, and youth behavioral fields. His expertise is in family, youth, and generational cultural trauma and youth intervention/prevention. Dr. Nyame is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Executive Leadership Coach, Certified Program Evaluator, and an Organizational Equity Transformation Consultant.   


Dr. Nyame has researched and presented workshops/trainings on cultural trauma, youth social development, family, community and school collaborations, social justice & equity, and gangs and violence as a result of social-trauma. Dr. Kiah Nyame is the creator of "A Time for Healing, Educating & Rebuilding; Exploring the socio-cultural trauma and stigma of the urban community", training conferences since 2009. His current Research focus is on How Parents Impacted by Socio-Cultural Trauma, Socialize Their Children and the Generational Influence. 


Dr. Nyame completed his Doctoral Degree in Counseling & Human Development at the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education. He completed his Master’s Degree in Human Service Administration at St. John Fisher College.

Persephone Modeste is a certified professional school and community counselor in the process of gaining licensure as a mental health counselor from the University of Rochester Warner School of Education.  She currently has a Master’s of Science in School and Community Counseling from the University of Rochester Warner School (2015) and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Sciences from SUNY at Brockport (2011). Persephone has over 35 years of experience providing culturally informed supports, services and interventions to children, women and families in community and academic settings. She believes that inside each person is the power to see and to overcome life’s challenges.

She has survived many of life’s obstacles and traumatic events.  She has been married, divorced and struggled through single parenting to raise two sons and one daughter to adulthood. She attended school as parenting and the need to work would allow. All of her experiences have led her to do the work that brings her joy.  She also enjoys African studies and embraces the sentiment that, “it takes a village”.  

She loves music and is passionate about people. She takes a reality-based approach to providing Person Centered, Narrative Therapy.  She knows that we all have a story and our stories have stories that have shaped our experiences, reactions and outcomes.  Her goal is to help individuals find what is necessary to recognize their strengths and to find new meaning in their experience.

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Naomi D. Davis

Naomi D. Davis

                           has been a licensed clinical social worker for over 25 years. She has been licensed in three states and worked overseas with the Air Force, Ms. Davis is returning to the Rochester area after her departure in 2012. Her experience includes work with children and adults, couples, families, and groups. Her previous employment in New York included 17 years in various positions with the NYS Office of Mental Health, conducting adoption assessments for the Erie County Surrogate’s Court, and working as a private clinician in Rochester and Niagara Falls. After authoring the novel, the in 2005, Ms. Davis was recruited by Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle in 2006 to be a contributing writer for the Good Counsel, local advice column. She has a YouTube Channel, titled FeelnGoodTherapy with Naomi Davis, where she provides psychotherapy lessons.

While living in North Carolina, after working as the clinical director at an inpatient program for people experiencing mental health and substance abuse problems, Ms. Davis opened a private practice, where she worked primarily with referrals from the Juvenile Justice system and various Department of Health and Human Services to provide in-home treatment to residents in North and South Carolina.

Ms. Davis was certified as an adoption assessor after receiving Child Welfare training by the Adoption Network in Cleveland, Ohio. She is certified as a classroom management trainer, through the Center for Teacher Effectiveness. She is a certified trauma-informed therapist by the University of Buffalo and trained through the EMDR International Association in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a treatment for trauma. 

Ms. Davis says, “I believe there comes a time for ALL of us when we need help due to life’s challenges. I am honored when people reach for my extended hand, because I love what I do!” She is the parent of one daughter, who is currently in law school, with the desire to help her mother advocate for her clients. Ms. Davis enjoys powerwalking outside to the beat of the music blasting in her headphones and playing games that she can potentially win.

Nitza Rodriguez

Nitza Rodriguez

                                             is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She provides counseling services to couples, families and individuals that may be struggling with issues of mental health, substance abuse, self-esteem issues, etc. Nitza has specialized training in trauma focused therapy, specifically with adolescents in the foster care system. She specializes in working with couples where there are issues of infidelity, issues of co-parenting, issues related to cultural differences, etc. She specializes in family issues related to abuse, maltreatment, miscommunication and so much more.  Nitza received her training from the University of Rochester in 2005. Since then Nitza has worked with numerous populations throughout her career, wearing different hats in working with individuals with substance abuse, experienced some type of abuse and neglect, domestic violence, families and adolescents in the foster care system, individuals with health and spiritual issues, and individuals experiencing a mental health disorder. Nitza also teaches as an adjunct professor for undergraduate students at the local community college. 

Nitza has a passion for working with people regardless of gender, race, culture  and creed. Nitza is bi-lingual and has been able to share her gift of language with people who are in need of services in their native language of Spanish. 

Outside of work, Nitza enjoys spending time with her husband and son and her family. Friends are also an important gift to Nitza and she also takes time to spend with them. She enjoys music and enjoys nature, and reading books that are transforming.