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Inaugural Managing Director appointed

The Stanford Center on Early Childhood is proud to welcome Abigail Stewart-Kahn as its inaugural Managing Director.

The Stanford Center on Early Childhood is proud to welcome Abigail Stewart-Kahn as its inaugural Managing Director. Stewart-Kahn will launch and direct the Center’s operating model for accelerating place-based research in the early childhood sector. Her first day is Jan. 17.

Her work will advance the Center’s mission to build on new knowledge in health, social and learning sciences, in turn advancing young children’s learning and development from the prenatal stage to age eight.

Abigail Stewart-Kahn poses for a photo.

In addition to development of strategy and oversight of operations, Stewart-Kahn will leverage her extensive experience in the public and private sectors to develop and expand partnerships with the Stanford community, as well as community, governmental and philanthropic organizations in California and across the country.

Stewart-Kahn arrives at the Center from the City and County of San Francisco, where she served in a variety of leadership roles over the last five years. Initially brought on as Director of Strategic Initiatives for the newly-formed Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Stewart-Kahn was then appointed as interim Executive Director of that department just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the city. Her leadership during the crisis of the first year and a half of the pandemic drove the largest expansion of housing, shelter, health and other resources for people experiencing homelessness in California, and an overall reduction in the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. 

That success led the mayor to tap her to lead the city’s Children and Family Recovery Plan in 2021, where she developed a whole-child, multi-sector strategy for recovery of children and families from the impact of the pandemic. Before that, Stewart-Kahn was the Director of Community Education and Strategic Partnerships at the San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center, now called Safe and Sound. She worked there and earlier in New York City on direct service, program development, policy and systems change efforts directed at the prevention and treatment of family trauma. 

Stewart-Kahn is a licensed clinical social worker by training, an experienced play therapist and holds a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and religion from Swarthmore College. She is also the co-author of a book and multiple articles in these areas and has served on regional and national boards and advisory groups for organizations focused on equity.