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In Memoriam – Dr. Edward Zigler, “Father of Head Start”

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Dr. Edward Zigler

Dr. Edward Zigler, the developmental psychologist and pioneer in early education known widely as “The Father of Head Start” passed of natural causes on February 7, 2019. He was 88 years old.

From the Yale News (Yale University), where Zigler
was Sterling Professor Emeritus of Psychology, “Few have positively affected the lives of as many American children and families as Zigler.”

Yasmina Vinci, Director of the National Head Start Association released the following statement:

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I am sharing the news that Dr. Edward Zigler, known by many as the “Father of Head Start,” passed away Thursday, February 7th, at the age of 88.

Dr. Zigler will be remembered fondly for having the inquisitive mind of a brilliant scientist, the spirited tenacity of a bulldog, and the nurturing heart of a loving parent—qualities that were embodied in his greatest creation: Head Start.

Without him, the disruptive innovation in early childhood development that is Head Start would never have succeeded. Indeed, he protected and nourished Head Start during its early years, envisioning new ways the program could expand for greater impact on American life.

Dr. Zigler’s legacy will live on in the millions of children and families whose life paths have curved ever so slightly or sharply upward, thanks to the impact of Head Start at a critical moment in their personal journeys.

I encourage you to take a moment to read this “In Memoriam” tribute to Dr. Zigler published by Yale University, where Dr. Zigler served as Director Emeritus of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy until his passing.

Keeping the commitment,

Yasmina Vinci
Executive Director
National Head Start Association