Start Early. Start well.

January 06, 2021

Buffett Institute Appoints Amy Schmidtke as Associate Director of Professional Learning

Former OPS Teacher, Coach Has Served at the Institute for Four Years

Omaha, Neb. — The Buffett Early Childhood Institute has named Amy Schmidtke as associate director of professional learning to oversee implementation of initiatives that aim to promote quality, continuity, and equity in early care and education, birth through Grade 3.

Schmidtke has been at the Buffett Institute since 2016, first as an educational facilitator and more recently as a program specialist with the program development and professional learning teams. Schmidtke has worked in early childhood education for 25 years. She began her career as an infant and toddler teacher in a child care center, then spent many years as a teacher and coach in Omaha Public Schools. Schmidtke also has worked in higher education as an instructor for early childhood courses at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Metro Community College.

As associate director, Schmidtke will oversee the Institute’s professional learning initiatives. This encompasses a wide variety of strategies that integrate work from the Institute’s other units to enhance the knowledge, skills, and well-being of early childhood professionals while building the capacity of organizations that serve children and families.

“We are impressed by the depth and breadth of Dr. Schmidtke’s knowledge and experience in the field of early childhood education and her significant experience in adult learning,” said Amy Mart, the Institute’s director of professional learning. “She is able to balance research with real-world experience, and she will enhance collaboration and learning across units at the Institute, with other colleagues within the university, and with external partners. Colleagues regard Amy as someone who will go the extra mile to do what is best for children and families.”

“I am thrilled to take on this new role in my career as an early childhood educator,” Schmidtke said. “It is a great privilege to work closely with my colleagues and many partners across our state to develop quality professional learning experiences. Through collaboration, we can make big strides to help make Nebraska the best place in the nation to be a baby.”

Schmidtke serves on the board of directors for the Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children, where she co-chairs the policy committee. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Nebraska−Lincoln and a master’s degree in elementary education with an endorsement in early childhood education and an Ed.D. in educational administration, both from UNO.

She began her new duties at the Institute on Jan. 1.

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