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Racker names new executive director

By Traci DeLore (


ITHACA, N.Y. — The Racker board of directors has selected Cristine Donovan to lead the organization as its new executive director effective July 1.

She replaces Dan Brown, outgoing executive director, following his retirement.

Donovan, employed by racker since 1998, began her career there in its residential program before becoming director of early childhood and community supports and then associate executive director. Throughout her career, she has worked with five New York State agencies and provided oversight to all of Racker’s programs: residential, community supports services, care management, clinical services, preschool and early childhood centers, and counseling for school success.

Cristine Donovan will lead Racker of Ithaca as its new executive director, effective July 1. She replaces the retiring Dan Brown. (Submitted photo/Racker)

“Our search for a new executive director was a rigorous one,” Max Della Pia, board president, said in a press release. “It included a careful review and revision of our position description and the key attributes we were looking for in our ideal candidate. Our search solicited input from our community, representative families whom we serve, our leadership team, and the organizations with which Racker interacts. Cris Donovan was an easy choice because of her demonstrated leadership, her work ethic, her attitude about those whom Racker serves, and her comprehensive knowledge and hands-on experience in virtually every aspect of Racker’s programs.”

“The decision of the board members was unanimous and enthusiastic,” he continued. “I know I speak for all the members of the board and Racker’s staff when I say we all look forward to working with Cris to meet the challenges Racker will face going forward.”

Donovan received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Delaware and a master of public administration from Binghamton University.

She serves on the boards of the Cayuga Health System/Cayuga Medical Center, LIFEPlan CCO, and is the current president of Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services. She also serves on the Binghamton University Master of Public Administration Program Advisory Board and is an accreditation site visitor for the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration.

Donovan lives in Ithaca with her husband, Chuck, and sons Tad and Reilly.

Racker provides support for individuals and their families in Tompkins, Cortland, and Tioga counties, offering programs and services to more than 3,500 people.