Start Early. Start well.

Kathleen Gallagher, Ph.D.

Director of Research and Evaluation

Kathleen (Kate) 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. Gallagher began her affiliation with the Buffett 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. In 2021, Gallagher received the Nebraska Head Start State Children's Champion Award in recognition of her contributions to the lives of children and families across the state.

Research Interests
  • Practices, programs, and policies that support the development and well-being of young children (birth – Grade 3) and their families
  • Practice, programs, and policies that support the well-being of early childhood workforce professionals
  • Early language and literacy development in the contexts of poverty, disability, and cultural diversity
  • Supportive family and teaching practices for young children with disabilities
  • Teacher-child relationships and school adjustment in early education
  • Leadership in early childhood programs
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