Alumni Spotlight: Josalyn Brown Robinson in Louisiana

Two photos side by side. On the left, a picture of Josalyn Brown Robinson as a child graduating from North Tang Head Start program in Roseland, Louisiana. On the right, Josalyn today in her role as the Executive Director of Regina Coeli Child Development Center.
On the left, Josalyn Brown Robinson graduating from North Tang Head Start program in Roseland, Louisiana. On the right, Josalyn today in her role as the Executive Director of Regina Coeli Child Development Center.

I never drifted far from Head Start.

As a child, I attended North Tangipahoa (North Tangi) Head Start in Roseland, Louisiana, where I vividly remember participating in a pageant and being crowned ‘Queen’ as part of an annual fundraiser.

Today, I am the Executive Director of Regina Coeli Child Development Center (RCCDC), which covers all the Head Start programs in five parishes in Southeast Louisiana — including that very program.

Like so many alumni, I am service-oriented. After earning my master’s degree and Ph.D. in Human Services from Capella University, I worked in the healthcare and mental health field. Over the years, I maintained close contact with the center manager from my time at North Tangi. She is a part of my community, so it was just a natural connection.

After a multifaceted career in healthcare, I was looking for a meaningful way to give back to others. I took a deep look at my community, my core values, my experiences, and my knowledge-base, and Head Start emerged as the obvious consideration.

I started my professional chapter with Head Start as a family advocate, and have taken on various roles since, including center manager and program director. My career has given me opportunities to build essential partnerships and relationships with staff, families, community leaders, and schools — these relationships have been key in identifying critical resources that enable children to successfully transition in their educational journey and help families find their way to self-sufficiency.

In June, I started my new role as Executive Director of RCCDC. My vision is to build an inclusive culture in which all staff, families, and community members feel a part and experience the benefits.

Head Start gives a foundation with lifelong effects on children. We see the benefits every day. Head Start benefits the family, which in turn benefits the entire community.

Favorite Head Start memory: “The pageant and parade! All the kids dressed up. It was a BIG deal.”

Malkia Payton-Jackson

Malkia Payton-Jackson

Malkia Payton-Jackson is NHSA’s first-ever director of alumni engagement. Back in Cambridge, Head Start is where she made her first best friend — and now, she’s inviting Head Start alumni to connect with one another, share their unique stories, and help keep Head Start strong for generations to come. Join the network here.

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