Archive for the ‘Franchisee Profile’ Category

Focus On: Matt and Dina Speranza

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

We are happy to introduce Matt and Dina Speranza, onsite owners of The Goddard School® located at 301 5th Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.

Matt and Dina, Pittsburgh area residents for 15 years, are raising two children of their own and recognize the importance of a safe and nurturing learning environment. The success of their two other Schools, located in Cranberry Township and Moon Township, and a love for the business has led them to open a third location.

Matt earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Dina earned her Bachelor’s in Elementary Education, as well as her Master’s degree in Special Education. Matt and Dina are very active in their community, participating in many national and local charities. They are also involved with their children’s sports teams, theater productions and Girl Scout Troop.

Focus On: Julie Bunton

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

We are happy to introduce Julie Bunton, on-site owner of The Goddard School® located at 11222 Olive Blvd. in Creve Coeur, MO.

Based on her six plus years of experience working at another Goddard School location, Julie recognizes the importance of a safe and nurturing learning environment, which is why she chose to open a Goddard School of her own. Julie, a St. Louis-area resident, is happy to be able to provide The Goddard School’s outstanding program to the children in the community.

Julie is actively involved in various charity events in the community. She’s also involved with Little League Tee Ball and volunteers as a children’s Zumba instructor. She enjoys taking her boat out on the lake and spending time walking and playing with her dogs.


Focus On: Toby Noyes

Friday, December 12th, 2014

We are happy to introduce Toby Noyes, onsite owner of The Goddard School® located at 22010 Frederick Road, in Clarksburg, MD.

Toby and his wife are raising two children of their own and recognize the importance of a safe and nurturing learning environment. His family is the basis for the reason that Toby chose The Goddard School. Having lived in the area for over nineteen years, he is happy to be able to provide The Goddard School’s outstanding program to the children in his community.

Toby serves as a board member of the Roland Park Country School, is active with Habitat for Humanity and supports local charitable organizations including Family and Children’s Services and Family Tree of Maryland.


Brad and Risa May, franchisees of two Goddard Schools located in Chantilly, VA, were recently interviewed by Franchising World in an article about the softening lending environment. It can be easier to secure financing if your business is part of a successful franchise such as The Goddard School®. Read the full story here.


“Kris Girrell and Sarah Blumenstock Girrell have owned a Goddard School franchise for four years. However, they understood the importance of finding the right franchisor long before they became preschool franchisees. With long careers in corporate management, the pair thoroughly investigated their options when they became interested in franchising. Here’s how they chose the Goddard School.” –

Click here to read the rest of this article from

Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), the franchisor of The Goddard School®preschool system, announced the opening of its newest school in Middleton, Massachusetts earlier this month. Located at 244 Maple Street, the new school is owned by franchisee team Kris Girrell and Margie Sutton.

“We are thrilled to open our new school in Middleton,” said Kris Girrell, Goddard School franchisee in Middleton. “The Middleton/Topsfield/Boxford area has a reputation for educational excellence in elementary and secondary education, and we are proud to be able to offer the same to our youngest learners.”

The Middleton school opening is part of GSI’s expansion in the Boston metro area and southeastern New Hampshire to add 30 locations over the next several years. The grand opening celebration will feature core elements of The Goddard School philosophy including play-based education, collaborative learning and community give back. Frank Leary, from the Middleton Food Pantry, will join Girrell and Sutton to cut a ribbon made out of dollar bills; that money will then be donated by the school to the pantry following the ceremony. The school has also been collecting diapers for Boxford’s Community Giving Tree.  Guests at the grand opening festivities are encouraged to bring either a donation of non-perishable food or disposable diapers to support the two charities.

In addition to the new Middleton Goddard School, Kris Girrell and Sarah Blumenstock Girrell also own a Goddard School in Reading, Massachusetts which has been open and operating since January 2010. When it came time to open his second school, Girrell partnered with close family friend, Margie Sutton on the endeavor. Sutton, a former retail manager and high tech reseller, is a certified parenting educator and brings years of experience to her new role as onsite owner.

The Goddard School preschool system operates on a dual-management system, distinctive in the early childhood education industry. Each location is managed on-site by the franchise owner, as well as an educational director responsible for working with teachers and implementing the curriculum. This separation and clear delineation of roles has resulted in The Goddard School system’s success and high satisfaction ratings for 25 years.

“As we continue to expand across Boston, our goal is to help develop franchisees that offer high-quality education for families in neighborhoods and surrounding communities,” said Joseph Schumacher, president and chief executive officer, Goddard Systems, Inc. “We are confident the community will quickly recognize the benefits of the high quality early childhood education Kris and Margie will offer at our newest school in Middleton.”

The company has 13 other Goddard School locations in the greater Boston area, which covers Massachusetts (Middlesex, Norfolk and Worcester counties) and New Hampshire (Hillsborough and Rockingham counties).

Long recognized as the industry leader, The Goddard School system has been consistently listed in Entrepreneur magazine’s “Franchise 500” ranking as the number one childcare franchise for 13 consecutive years (January 2014).

Franchisee Profile: Manisha Parekh

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Manisha Parekh has lived in Maryland since 1996 and considers it her home.  She has deep roots in the community. Her husband and two children are also involved in the community and enjoy all aspects of what Maryland has to offer. Manisha holds a bachelor’s degree in home economics with minors in several fields including early childhood development.  For over a decade, she owned and operated her own, highly successful in-home childcare business before opening The Goddard School located in Gambrills, Maryland.

Q: How did you learn about the brand?

A: Once my children were grown, I wanted to expand my childcare business.  My husband visited a franchise conference that featured a Goddard School booth.  We contacted the corporate headquarters and began the franchising process.  We were excited when we got a call back.  From then on, we have been preparing to bring The Goddard School to the Gambrills community.

Q: What aspect of joining a franchise system appealed to you?

A: Every challenge is a great experience with Goddard.  The business aspects of running a new school have required me to adjust, because my previous in-home business presented different challenges than having a stand-alone preschool.  The support system in place at Goddard never makes you feel alone.  Just look at what we have accomplished so far.  I am proud to be a Goddard owner and it shows in every aspect of what we do.

We explored a lot of different early childhood schools before we found Goddard.  We believe in the Goddard philosophy and its commitment to the community.  It’s a great, big family connected by a network of schools and corporate resources, and it holds true to our morals and beliefs as educators, owners and ambassadors of the company.

Q: What makes your business different?

A: The Goddard School truly understands individual children’s needs.  We have had so many people come to us saying they appreciate our work, because our philosophy centers around the community and home.  The program is phenomenal.  I am fully involved and I am always here.  I see every family that joins and take personal interest in each child’s development.  The rapport that I have with each family gives me great satisfaction and I know that we are making a positive impact on their lives.

Q: What are your expansion or development plans?

A: Currently, we are focused on developing our first school.  I am fully devoted to it and determined to make my school the best it can be. I put my heart and soul in everything I do.  In a few years we would like to build more schools so that we can spread our services to other communities.  This will only happen when we have accomplished the goals we have for Gambrills.

Q: Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions?

A: My family loves to travel.  We do everything together from hiking to playing sports.  Children are my true passion.  I love teaching them and watching them grow and blossom as individuals.  My children love what I do and want to be fully involved in helping me.  My husband and I have built our dream in Gambrills and the School has become our passion, hobby and a great source of enjoyment.  It feels like everyone in the family, from my children to my parents, has come together realize this dream.

By Stephen Markley
RedEye Chicago

In 2008, Jason Pullukat, 33, decided to move from his job in the corporate world at Kraft foods to become the owner of a franchise of the Goddard School in Lincoln Park. Located on Armitage and Clifton avenues, the school–serving children from six weeks to six years–opened this past week. RedEye ‘Hoods sat down with Pullukat to ask him what it was like to make a drastic career change at the age of 30, and what it’s like to go from corporate meetings to running a preschool.

Talk a little bit about your background in the corporate world. What made you make the switch to education?

“My mom ran preschool centers, so I was always around it growing up. In 2007 I decided I wanted to get out of the corporate world and try something else. I saw the need for quality early-childhood education in Chicago. The trend was parents moving from the city to the suburbs for that education. There wasn’t a huge supply here in the city, and Goddard’s reputation stands for itself.

I’m focused on being in the office, on site every day, handling the payroll, the marketing, the advertising — the business, really. Usually schools have one director who has to wear two hats. Our educational director to handles the curriculum, and I’m on sight at all times doing the business aspects.

I was doing both jobs for a while, and I didn’t leave Kraft until October 2010.”

Were you hesitant at all being a male in a predominantly female profession?

“Being a younger male in this kind of profession, it was always in the back of my mind. But I talked to a lot of male [school] owners and asked how they felt. I don’t think there’s any negative perception about it, not like maybe there used to be. It’s the same trust: everyone’s coming in with a smile and leaving with a smile. Also, it’s that male role model that children can see even at a young age.”

As a young person, did it make you nervous to make such a drastic career move?

“Any time you’re leaving what you know — which in my case was corporate America — it’s a big deal. You ask questions. It’s the same as going from Kraft to working at a newspaper; it’s a whole different industry. Now I’ve left what I know, I don’t have the paycheck coming in every week. Now every dollar I earn is based on how I perform.”

Why did you choose Lincoln Park for the school franchise?

“We looked at 50 or 60 different sites and didn’t sign the papers on this location until the end of 2009. We began the construction shortly after, combining a vacant lot and an existing building on Seminary. Parents don’t expect a private institution on Armitage.

We definitely saw that demand [for private preschool] in Lincoln Park, and finding a place right on Armitage by the Brown and Purple Line — that’s the perfect location. You have many young professionals in this neighborhood. We want to convince them to stay instead of leaving for the suburbs.”

What does Goddard offer parents and children?

“All of our lead teachers have bachelor’s [degrees] at minimum. We have that great location, private playgrounds (so we’re not taking 50 children to a park), library resources, and organic and local lunch options.

Then besides the core curriculum — math, science, writing — we have enrichment programs like sign language, yoga, music, manners, world cultures, art history and foreign languages like Spanish and Mandarin. And it’s all built into the tuition. We’re not a daycare. There’s a reason we have degreed professionals.

For the kids, we want to encourage that attention span and developing a love of learning. We specialize in play-based learning, so the kids will learn to write their names with their fingers in cool whip on a table. Or to teach them about art history, we’ll tape paper on the bottom of a table and let them draw while the teachers explain Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Stuff that makes it fun makes them want to learn.”

What advice do you have for other young people thinking about making a career change?

“I was single back when I decided to do this. I didn’t have a family. Now I’m married and have a baby due in October. I wanted to get to the next stage but also wanted to be secure in my future, so it’s all about doing that due diligence, doing that research to make sure it’s a good fit and you’re not going to regret it. Now I spend part of my day playing with kids.

It’s much different than being in an office or flying to different cities every week for meetings. I have fun listening to laughter when I work and just having fun with the kids, running around on the playground. I never had a chance to do that for the last 12 years being in corporate America.

Prior to opening The Goddard School® located in Sandy Springs, GA, Jay Bryan had spent 21 years practicing law and assisting clients through business litigation issues, but had not owned a business of his own. When he first read about The Goddard School during a business trip flight, the idea of owning a school for young children struck a chord. Bryan decided to trade in the time he spent traveling for business for quality time with his family and opened his own Goddard School in January 2010.

 The Goddard School is a nationwide franchise of Goddard Systems, Inc. (GSI), headquartered in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.  With 370+ schools, GSI is the fastest growing preschool franchise in the United States, and was recognized as the “#1 Childcare Franchise” for the tenth consecutive year by Entrepreneur magazine (January 2011).

“It is comforting to know that no matter what the issue or the problem, there is likely someone else who has faced it within the Goddard system,” says Bryan. “The ability to call or send an email to someone at the GSI corporate office or one of the other owners around the country helps alleviate the stress and concerns associated with owning your own business.”

What Clay and Gina Did Before Goddard

Clay received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering. He was involved with chemical plants and explosive manufacturing. “Engineering is a heavily regulated industry,” says Clay. “It is all about getting the details right. Goddard is the same way.” When Gina was pregnant with the couple’s first child, they decided that it would be best to move and go back home to Rhode Island. After moving back, Clay got a job as a consultant. “The Goddard team knows that details matter and we need to have diligence on day to day issues.”

How Clay and Gina Specifically Found Out About The Goddard School

Clay saw The Goddard School in Entrepreneur Magazine and was ranked as a very high performance school. After seeing the article, Clay investigated further and found that many of The Goddard School franchisee’s were just like himself. “I started thinking that my community could really benefit from a high performance child care facility,” said Clay. After speaking with many franchisees, Clay knew that The Goddard School was the right choice for himself and his family. Clay and Gina opened their location in August 2006.

Why Clay and Gina Became and Love Being Goddard School Franchisees

“I was impressed with the consistency and uniformity of each school,” said Clay. “All of the owners have such interesting backgrounds.” Not only were Clay and Gina impressed with the assortment of owners who had similar backgrounds to themselves, but they were also impressed by the process that The Goddard School used to determine if they were a good franchisee fit. “Goddard has a great professional home office and everyone is very down to earth,” Clay boasts.

Community Involvement

It’s important to Clay and Gina that their school feels approachable and welcoming to all of the families within the community they serve. They host monthly open houses and continue to partner with other local business owners to build a positive relationship in order to understand how they can better fulfill their community’s needs.