Abbott House Announces New CEO & President Justine Christakos 

The Board of Directors of Abbott House announces the appointment of Justine Christakos as incoming CEO and President of Abbott House, effective July 1, 2024. Christakos will be succeeding James L. Kaufman, who is retiring after serving more than 11 years as CEO and President.

“We could not possibly be more delighted by the appointment of Justine. She is the perfect individual to build on James’s remarkable accomplishments at this venerable organization whose ultimate purpose is to help people help themselves,” said Walter Montgomery, Chair of the Abbott House Board. “She is a model of selfless commitment to children, families, and adults who struggle with intellectual and developmental disabilities. From her beginnings as a dedicated caseworker to her leadership roles with critical impact on policies of treatment and care, Justine has forged better futures for people faced with challenges that most of us cannot truly imagine.”

The selection of Ms. Christakos followed extensive research and interviews by a Board Search Committee led by Vice Chair Scott Richter in collaboration with his fellow Directors: Julie Peskoe, Greg Mooney, Walter Montgomery, and Marianne Oros. Mr. Richter commented, “I am thrilled that The Search Committee’s collective efforts have succeeded in identifying a superb leader. Justine is well-prepared to enhance Abbott House’s distinguished reputation as a major human services organization in the New York Metropolitan and Hudson Valley areas. Most importantly, she will do that through the total dedication she has always given to the children, adults, and families entrusted to our care.”

James Kaufman, the outgoing CEO and President, will work closely with Ms. Christakos through a three-month transition process beginning July 1. Offering his unequivocal support for her, he said, “I have had the privilege of working with Justine throughout her eight years at Abbott House – a tenure marked by her extraordinary leadership and unwavering commitment to our core values. I am confident that under her direction, Abbott House will be in the best possible hands to meet future challenges while maintaining the highest standards of care for the people we serve.”

Reflecting on her new role, Ms. Christakos shared, “It has been an honor to dedicate 32 years of my life to the social services sector, with the past eight years at Abbott House shaping my journey from direct service to executive leadership. This new position affords me a greatly expanded opportunity to champion the rights and potential of every individual we serve. I am eager to lead Abbott House alongside our remarkable team as we continue to carry out the agency’s 60-year-old mission of service to others.”

To learn more visit or contact Kristina Papa, Director of Development & Communications at


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