Associate Director for Program Development, Buffett Early Childhood Institute

Job Overview

The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska is seeking applications from qualified individuals for the position of Associate Director of Program Development to lead early childhood programming initiatives that support the Institute’s efforts to close achievement and opportunity gaps for children who have been placed in circumstances of risk.

The Associate Director for Program Development will work closely with the Director of Program Development and other Institute directors and staff to design and facilitate state and local initiatives that build capacity for comprehensive, systemic approaches to early childhood education and services, birth through third grade. This individual will work within metro Omaha and Greater Nebraska, collaborating actively with state and local agencies and organizations. Highlighting the goals of increasing opportunity to learn and reducing achievement gaps among Nebraska’s young children of greatest need, these efforts will focus on innovative strategies that strengthen early childhood leadership among educational administrators in schools and communities, along with technical assistance for strategic early childhood planning and systems development.


Buffett Early Childhood Institute Profile

Envisioned as a new model for how public higher education is engaged in the first years of life, the Buffett Early Childhood Institute ( is a four-campus, university- wide, multidisciplinary research, education, outreach, and policy institute of the University of Nebraska committed to helping transform early childhood development and education in Nebraska and across the nation. The long-term goal of the Institute is to be a leading center where scholars, practitioners, community members, and policymakers collaborate to advance a unified approach that can improve the lives of young children and families and the systems that support them.

Applicants should note that the goals of the Institute are university-, state-, and nation-wide, but the location of the Institute administration is in Omaha. This position will work primarily out of the Omaha office.


Job Responsibilities

This job description is not to be considered an exhaustive or exclusive statement of duties, responsibilities, or requirements. Employees may be required to perform other job-related instructions as requested. This list describes major responsibilities to support the Buffett Institute by aligning editorial content strategy and writing to the Institute goals:

  • In consultation with the Director of Program Development and in collaboration with other Institute staff, design and lead efforts to build state and local system capacity for providing comprehensive early childhood programs and services, birth through Grade3;
  • Design and guide innovative, collaborative, equitable strategies to support and strengthen leadership among educational administrators in the Metro Omaha area and beyond in order to achieve comprehensive, systemic approaches to early childhood programming, birth through Grade 3;
  • Provide guidance and oversight to Institute staff and external stakeholders who contribute to implementing the Superintendents’ Early Childhood Plan;
  • Monitor progress and identify unmet needs for educational programming of young children in greatest need, and, with Research and Evaluation, assist in evaluating the Institute’s Achievement Gap Challenge efforts in Nebraska;
  • Work with the Director of Professional Learning to lead efforts that effectively spread the School as Hub approach in Metro Omaha and to school districts in other regions of  Nebraska;
  • Collaborate with the Institute’s Workforce Planning and Development and Professional Learning units to support the professional learning of early childhood educators and service providers in school districts and community-based organizations;
  • Apply knowledge of latest research and evidence to all initiatives and proposed practices of the Program Development unit;
  • Cultivate and maintain collaborative working relationships with key state organizations representing school administrators and early childhood program leaders at community and state levels;
  • Collaborate with the Nebraska Department of Education and other state agencies and organizations to promote cohesive state-level support for high quality, comprehensive early childhood programming, birth – Grade 3, in local education authorities and programs;
  • Engage faculty and staff of the University of Nebraska to engage them in programmatic initiatives and assist in efforts designed to obtain grants and contracts to extend the work of the Program Developmentunit.

Required Qualifications:

  • Master’s degree or equivalent in early childhood education, educational leadership, or a related field;
  • 5 – 8 years demonstrated effective experience in district- and school-level administration and leadership;
  • Minimum of 5 years demonstrated leadership in promoting educational equity; reducing income- and race-based opportunity gaps; promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion among teachers and school administrators; and working sensitively and effectively with individuals who are racially, culturally, ethnically, and linguistically diverse;
  • Knowledge of research-based educational practices and programs for children, birth – Grade 3;
  • Knowledge of state and national issues related to early childhood education, with an emphasis on interventions for children placed at risk;
  • Knowledge of funding streams and programming options for early childhood education, birth – Grade 3;
  • Proven ability to manage complex projects and move them forward to completion on time;
  • Proven ability to engage collaboratively and respectively with community partners and diverse stakeholder groups;
  • Excellent creative thinking, written and verbal communication skills.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Doctorate in field preferred.

Zone 5

Additional Information

The University of Nebraska is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and participates in E-Verify. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or protected veteran status.

Contact Information

University of Nebraska Central Administration
3835 Holdrege Street
Lincoln, NE 68583

Sheryl Gartner
(p) (402) 472-3701

How to Apply

How to Apply:

Applications are processed through the online job posting at Follow instructions to complete the Standard Application. Along with your application, attach a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references. Direct questions about the position to: Direct questions about the online application process to: (402) 472-3701.