Start Early. Start well.

December 17, 2021

Director of Research and Evaluation at the Buffett Institute Receives State Head Start Award

Omaha, Neb. – Kate Gallagher, director of research and evaluation at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, has been presented with the 2021 Nebraska Head Start State Children’s Champion Award.

Gallagher received the award at a Head Start regional conference on Tuesday. The award was initiated in 2006 by the Region VII Head Start Association Partnership Committee to recognize individuals who make valuable contributions to the lives of children and families across their state. The award is designed to recognize and honor individuals who “stand out” for leadership, commitment, and service and who ultimately make a difference. This award celebrates the important contributions of an individual or organization that serves as a champion to Head Start and Early Head Start children and families. 

Each year, the states that comprise Region VII—Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska—submit their individual “Children’s Champion” to be recognized by the entire region.

“Head Start and Early Head Start are the most comprehensive and impactful educational programs in the United States, especially for children and families experiencing low income, and for early childhood professionals seeking to grow in their education and skills,” Gallagher said. “I am honored to work with and support our Head Start colleagues in Nebraska, as they work to make Nebraska the best place to be a baby—to be a parent—and an early childhood professional.”

Gallagher joined the Buffett Institute in 2018. Her work focuses on developing applied research and evaluation studies involving children from birth – Grade 3, their families, and the early childhood professionals who care for and teach young children. She began her affiliation with the Institute in 2016 as the Cille and Ron Williams Community Chair for Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The Williams Chair was the first of four endowed community chairs that the Buffett Institute is working to establish across the University of Nebraska system. 

Gallagher has more than 30 years’ experience as an early childhood professional and educational psychologist, including teaching, home visiting, and leading early childhood programs in early intervention and inclusive preschools.

Before coming to Nebraska in 2016, Gallagher spent 13 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she taught in the School of Education and served as a research scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Gallagher holds a doctorate in educational psychology and human development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned a master’s degree in educational foundations from Marquette University and a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and special education from Cardinal Stritch University.

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