Four years ago on June 3rd 2019, Jessica Johnsen joined the Yellow Brick Road family as our CEO! Before joining YBR, Jessica spent years in the early childhood field working with different schools and preschool owners learning the ins and outs of successful early childhood education programs. She brought her expertise and her personal mission to Yellow Brick Road and got to straight to work building the quality of the schools.
Jessica’s first goal was to ensure our teachers felt that they were treated and respected as the professionals they are. She wanted to offer them competitive benefits, pay, career opportunities, and education support! Shortly after joining Yellow Brick Road, Jessica was faced with chalaneges during 2020 as the world of education was redefined for a few years. She held to her initial goals of supporting the teachers by not laying anyone off, decreasing pay, or shortening our operating hours. She was able to keep the schools sustainable and stable for everyone who was a part of the YBR Family within her first year which was a feat on its own!
From that first year on, the growth and development she has brought within the company has given us the opportunity to offer more families in our regions high quality care while also offering new and seasoned teachers a career following their passions. While Yellow Brick Road started in Plymouth Minnesota, the goal was always to bring them back to the hometowns of our owners. With Jessica being from Iowa and Kylie Schrader, our COO, being from Nebraska, the two of them were able to succeed by bringing our schools to the Des Moines and Omaha regions.
While the growth that Jessica offers to our staff, families, and most importantly our students is impressive; it is her character that sets her apart. Jessica wears her heart on her sleeve and she cares about every single student and teacher in the YBR Family. Everyone who meets her can quickly tell that she is full of passion and cares so deeply about all that she does. One of the best examples of her passion shining through is the fact that Jessica and Kylie rewrote our mission earlier this year. Our new mission is now to “put good humans into the world, and leave it better than we found it”.
Even before this mission was official, Jessica has been doing just that for the last four years. She has left every school better than she found it and she has put amazing leaders, teachers, and students into the world through Yellow Brick Road!!
All of this to say that these last four years have been nothing short of incredible to watch and be a part of, and that we are all excited for the future that we have with Jessica as our CEO!