University of Nebraska seeks a visionary leader to serve as Executive Director (chief executive) of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute. Established in 2011 with a gift from philanthropist Susie Buffett, the Buffett Early Childhood Institute has, in the last decade, grown to become a world leader in early childhood education. The Institute fulfills its mission of applied research, practice, policy, and outreach through its work with school districts and superintendents to close the opportunity gap in the Greater Omaha region, through its focus on supporting effective early childhood practices and policies in childcare homes and centers and in schools, and through its efforts to ensure a high quality early childhood workforce across the state of Nebraska.  The Institute is part of the University of Nebraska system and works across all four campuses of the system.

The vision of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute is “to make Nebraska the best place in the nation to be a baby.”  The Institute’s mission is “to transform the lives of young children by improving their learning and development.”  This mission is accomplished by harnessing the interdisciplinary resources and research of the four University of Nebraska campuses and developing collaborations with agencies, schools, community partners, and policymakers across the state to implement and support high-quality, evidence-based services, programs, and policies for young children and their families.

Reporting to the President of the University through the Executive Vice President/Provost, the Executive Director of the Institute provides strategic direction and oversight for Institute staff, programs, and collaborations with the four campuses of the university, the education and childcare community in the state of Nebraska, the nation, and the world. The Executive Director is the chief executive of the Institute with the primary charge to continue to build the reputation and work of the Institute as a state and national leader in the early childhood education community through an integrated program of early childhood research and scholarship, innovative practice and professional development, and outreach and policy.  The Executive Director oversees a team of associate executive directors and directors responsible for each of the Institute’s primary divisions of research, education, professional development, and outreach/policy and a total staff of 70 individuals.  

The University seeks a leader with expertise in early childhood education, child development, or other child-related field with some applied background. The Executive Director will bring outstanding credentials that warrant a senior faculty appointment with tenure in a department on one or more of the University of Nebraska campuses together with appointment as the Richard D. Holland Presidential Chair in Early Childhood Development. The successful candidate will have an earned doctorate in a relevant discipline or appropriate terminal degree; passion for the success and well-being of children and their families; a track record of successful fundraising and development of external partnerships; outstanding interpersonal and communication skills; collaborative and creative energy in working with faculty, staff, students, and community partners; entrepreneurial ambition; and a commitment to high quality research with practical applications that are accessible to communities locally, nationally, and internationally.

Screening will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made. All communications will be treated confidentially. Nominations, inquiries, and applications (including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and the names of five references) should be directed electronically in confidence to:

Kim M. Morrisson, Ph.D., Managing Director
Nancy Helfman, Vice President and Senior Associate
Diversified Search Group
2005 Market Street, Suite 3300, Philadelphia, PA 19103

The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and/or political affiliation in its programs, activities, or employment.

For additional information, please consult the University of Nebraska’s website at and the Institute’s website at