From very early on in her life, Julie Jones-Branch was taught that children or “little people” as her grandma liked to refer to them, held the same importance as adults. Branch said that having this teaching ingrained into her life has defined her vision and planted a seed in her to help elevate early childhood care.

Julie (first row, second from left) joins the Spring 2024 graduates of the Early Childhood Teacher Foundations Class

Since late March, 2024, Julie joined the small but mighty staff of passionate advocates focused on ensuring access to quality early childhood care and education in Lincoln – in her role as the new Workforce Manager for Lincoln Littles.

Julie has proven that she is a perfect fit for this role through her extensive resume and experience in education, as well as the passion that she carries in advocating for early childhood care. Throughout her career, Julie has worked as an instructor for two universities, totaling 19 years dedicated to helping early childhood programs. After her time there she moved on to be an independent educational consultant for the last seven years, helping to develop professional training, before joining the Lincoln Littles team.

But out of all the time she has spent in early education, Julie said that there was one particular experience that had her hooked – touring the Ruth Staples Child Development Lab with her grandma as an incoming undergraduate student.

Julie said that being able to witness the work that was being done to achieve their mission of education, outreach, and research and the environment that they had created for little people had helped to cement her own mission for her career.

Continuing the legacy her grandma used to raise Julie, she said her mission is to structure early childhood care around the premise that “little people should be treated as competent, capable, and worthy of our attention for care and education.”

Julie knew that Lincoln Littles was the right organization to join because the mission, data, and framework felt comfortable and natural to her, drawing her in. She said that “Lincoln Littles stood out to be the answer to problems, an organization driven in creating real, palpable change in the early childhood care industry.

This natural connection continued to nurture itself even more after Julie joined the team. “At every meeting you can hear the concern and need with which the Lincoln Littles team approaches and builds their work,” she said. From here she was further assured in her choice to join Lincoln Littles, experiencing their alignment to where efforts needed to be placed to efficiently create change in this industry.

Julie emphasized the importance of being a part of a team that understands not only the impact that they are creating but also the impact that needs to be created in order to find success.

The Lincoln Littles position focuses on building relationships in the early childcare workforce and work to build strategy that will both support the industry and success of Lincoln Littles. Julie explained, “There are possibilities and avenues that have yet to be discovered that can help lead creation and inspiration,” an aspect of her role that she is eager to explore.

Julie is excited to dive into her new role at Lincoln Littles and start creating new adventures by not only helping to continue the work that is being done but also finding ways to implement her own spark and expertise to help Lincoln Littles fly. Here she hopes to build off of the teaching that her grandma showed her, that even from a young age you are valued and that your voice is important.