Kathleen (Kate) Gallagher, Ph.D. is the Cille and Ron Williams Community Chair for Early Childhood Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and is the inaugural community chair at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute. In addition to teaching and research, she will engage with communities in Nebraska and with the Buffett Institute to develop strategies for enhancing the state’s early childhood systems and workforce. Dr. Gallagher is an educational psychologist and early childhood professional, with over 30 years’ experience teaching, home visiting, and leading early childhood programs, including early intervention and inclusive preschool programs. She has been affiliated with higher education child development and early education programs for over twenty years. Her research and professional development focus on identifying, implementing, and evaluating practices, programs, and policies that support the development and well-being of young children, their families, and early childhood professionals—particularly in the contexts of poverty, disability, and cultural diversity.
Dr. 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. Her recent work includes: (1) a randomized intervention to support toddlers with autism and their families; (2) an evaluation of a program to enhance implementation science and systems change capacities among early childhood systems in rural North Carolina; and (3) a project designed to examine, and develop resources related to the well-being of the early childhood workforce. Dr. Gallagher graduated magna cum laude from Cardinal Stritch University in early childhood education/special education and received a master’s degree from Marquette University and a doctorate in Human Development and Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has published numerous journal articles, book chapters, and educational products concerning children’s early language and literacy, social-emotional development, and early intervention.