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Samuel J. Meisels Headshot

Samuel J. Meisels

Founding Executive Director, University of Nebraska's Buffett Early Childhood Institute

Samuel J. Meisels, EdD, is the founding executive director of the University of Nebraska’s Buffett Early Childhood Institute. Dr. Meisels was previously a Board President of ZERO TO THREE.

Dr. Meisels is the founding executive director of the University of Nebraska’s Buffett Early Childhood Institute. He holds the Irving and Neison Harris President’s Chair. He came to Erikson in January 2002 after 21 years at the University of Michigan, where he is now professor and research scientist emeritus. Before joining the faculty at Michigan, he was a faculty member in the Department of Child Study and director of the Eliot-Pearson Children’s School at Tufts. A former preschool, kindergarten, and first-grade teacher, he also served as senior advisor in early childhood development for the Developmental Evaluation Clinic of Boston’s Children’s Hospital. He holds a doctorate from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Contributions to the Field

One of the nation’s leading authorities on the assessment of young children, Dr. Meisels has published over 200 articles, books, and monographs, and is co-author of the Work Sampling System, the Early Screening Inventory Revised, The Ounce Scale and The Handbook of Early Childhood Intervention. His research focuses on the development of alternative assessment strategies for young children; the impact of standardized tests on children; and developmental screening in early childhood. Recently, he completed research on the validity of The Ounce Scale, an observational assessment for birth to three-year-olds and their families.


ZERO TO THREE Board Member Emeritus, Past-president of ZERO TO THREE Board of Directors; Advisor to the National Head Start Bureau; Member of the National Academy of Science’s Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy; Senior Investigator for the National Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort and for the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement.

Previous Research

Developmental assessment of young children; the effect of standardized tests on children; the impact of state and federal policies on the families of children with disabilities; development of alternative assessment strategies; and developmental consequences of high-risk birth.

Awards/Honors/Recognition/Books Published

American Academy of Pediatrics 2005 Dale Richmond/Justin Coleman Lectureship Award; Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children Outstanding Service to Young Children Award (2005); Association of Children’s Museums Great Friend to Kids Award