The Goddard School Expands in Philadelphia Market

December 16th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


For the first time in its more than 30-year history, The Goddard School® opens its first location in the City of Philadelphia.

The newest location, opened by experienced on-site owners Jillie Staffiera and Jon Drialo, officially opened at 2201 Pine Street on Monday, Nov. 25, and is serving families that live within walking distance of the School.

“We’re excited to bring the first Goddard School to this Philadelphia neighborhood,” said on-site owner Jillie Staffiera.

The newly renovated, 12,624-square-foot, 100-year-old building was revitalized with a completely restored exterior and modernized interior. Natural light permeates from each classroom into the hallways from the newly installed windows. Inside the newly polished brick walls is a fresh, unique spin on what an early childhood education center looks like. Original, industrial-style architecture features of the building were maintained, like the exposed brick and high ceilings. But the inside was designed for children to learn, grow and have fun.

There’s even a 1,300 square-foot multipurpose room with a ‘Wall of Imagination.’ Children can use their ingenuity to build different objects using big blue blocks. This type of activity promotes social development and fine motor skills and encourages learning while having fun.


Growth in Philadelphia’s metro area is a part of GSI’s plan to target cities across the country for new Schools, complementing the franchise system’s current suburban development model. By opening metro locations like the one at 22nd & Pine, GSI is capitalizing on metro areas in need for high-quality early childhood education facilities to help support the growing need for childcare.

“We recognize how much of a positive impact a high-quality education can have on a child’s life. Goddard’s unique nurturing approach will help children develop into joyful, confident learners who are prepared for success in school and in life,” Jillie said.

The First Goddard School Located In Meridian, ID Is Now Open!

November 27th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


For the first time, The Goddard School®, a recognized leader in early childhood development and care, has opened a location in Meridian, ID.

Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School, recently announced the opening of the newest early childhood education facility located at 2009 S. Wells Ave., Meridian, in the Treasure Valley area.

The Goddard School located in Meridian officially opened its doors on Oct. 14 and is now enrolling children ages six weeks to six years old.

The Goddard School is the recognized leader in early childhood development and care, serving children from six weeks to six years. Its play-based educational philosophy, F.L.EX. (Fun Learning Experience) is accredited nationally by Cognia (formerly AdvancED) and the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

“We aim to provide the best childhood preparation for social and academic success so that Idaho continues to thrive for generations to come,” said on-site owner Rick Antl.


After sending his child to one of The Goddard Schools in Houston, he saw how much his son enjoyed it and grew as an individual.

“I have seen firsthand the difference a quality preschool can make in a child’s social and academic development and wanted to bring that to our community in Meridian,” said Antl. “I would like to help other parents to have that same experience.”

The Goddard School in Northlake, TX is Now Open!

November 19th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


The Goddard School located in Northlake officially opened on Friday, Nov. 1, and is now enrolling!

Susie Patton and Kaylin Walker, onsite owners of the newest Goddard School, previously taught elementary school children before deciding to open an early childhood education facility of their own. They saw there was a need in their community for a high-quality early childhood education program that provides a play-based learning experience in a nurturing environment.

“Deciding to make the switch from our previous profession, we were comforted in knowing that we would still be working with children and providing what children need – a safe and nurturing environment where they are encouraged to develop a love for learning,” Susie said.

“We want to reach as many children as possible and provide the best-in-class programs to area children,” Kaylin said.

For more than 30 years, The Goddard School has used the most current, academically endorsed methods to ensure that children from six weeks to six years old have fun while learning the skills they need for long-term success in school and in life. Talented teachers collaborate with parents to nurture children into respectful, confident and joyful learners.

The Goddard School in Winter Garden, FL is Now Open!

November 18th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


The Goddard School located in Winter Garden officially opened on Monday, Nov. 4, and is now enrolling!

Pam King, onsite owner of the newest Goddard School, always had a strong passion for working with children. She previously owned a Goddard School in Alpharetta, Georgia, and was involved in owning and operating several Goddard Schools over the course of two decades before her family moved to the Winter Garden area about six years ago. Prior to that, she worked as a neonatal intensive care nurse at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

When Pam and her husband, Shawn, moved to Florida, they saw there was a need in Winter Garden for a high-quality early childhood education program that provides a play-based learning experience in a nurturing environment and decided to open a Goddard School.

“When many of our friends and co-workers in the area described their preschool experiences, we realized the impact we could make in our new community,” Pam said. “Overall, we look forward to raising the level of preschools available in the area. As we implement the Goddard philosophies and practices, we will bring the same value we have been providing to families for more than 20 years.”


The newest Goddard School, located in 2007 Avalon Road will be open Monday to Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For more information about The Goddard School located in Winter Garden and the upcoming grand opening event, visit

In Honor of Veteran’s Day, A Salute To Our Veterans

November 11th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


This Veteran’s Day we would like to honor all who served to help protect our country.  Additionally, we are proud to have several veterans working with us at GSI. We sat down with three veterans, IT operations lead, Tom; application analyst, Lorrie and editor, Jim who shared their experiences with us.

Jim served in the 417th and the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadrons in the United States Air Force in the Vietnam War from 1972 to 1975. Growing up, Jim’s mother was a medical illustrator for the United States Navy Air and Space program. She brought home colorful aerospace magazines for Jim to read. This sparked curiosity and a dream of flying in him. When he was 26 years old, he was drafted to serve in the United States Army, but Jim opted to join the United States Air Force instead to fulfill his dream of flying jet aircraft. After completing flight school and many rigorous training courses in the CONUS, Jim’s service allowed him to travel all over Europe and Asia including living in Spain for four years, as well as living on and off in Viet Nam, Thailand, Turkey, Germany, England, Greece and Italy.


After serving in the United States Air Force, Jim joined the United States Civil Air Patrol and became a squadron commander. For 20 years, he used his passion for flying to assist in counter-narcotics missions, to help rescue victims of hurricanes and other natural disasters and to give flying training to cadets. He described his overall experience as exciting and attributes his good health to the habits he learned in the military.


Tom enlisted in the United States Air Force; he was on active duty from 2007 to 2010. During his time on active duty, he was stationed in Tucson, AZ at Davis Monthan Air Force Base and assigned to the 55 Rescue Squadron. Their mission was Combat Search and Rescue, which meant they were worldwide deployable within 24 hours regardless of time, weather conditions or hostile threats. Tom’s role was to run the operations to ensure the aircrew and the helicopters were able to carry out this mission. While stationed stateside, he supported the country with search and rescue events, such as supporting Hurricane Gustavo where we saved 27 lives.


In 2009, he was deployed to Iraq, where he supported the special forces as the taxi to get them in and out of their missions. In the second half of 2009, he was deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as a combat medevac which saved 475 lives and brought home 10 KIA. Upon returning home, Tom was accepted into the Palace Chase program. This program allows active-duty enlisted members to complete the remainder of their initial contract in the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserves. From 2010 to 2013, he was enlisted in the New Jersey Air National Guard and assigned to the 177th Fighter Wing. During his time there, he provided support to Jersey City, NJ during and after Hurricane Sandy.

Lorrie served in the United States Navy on active duty for five years during the Gulf War. She was an IT technician at the Navy Management Systems Support Office (NAVMASSO) stationed at the Naval Air Station in Norfolk VA. NAVMASSO’s mission was to design all non-tactical software for the entire Naval fleet. Lorrie continued to serve for nine more years in the Naval Reserve as an explosive ordinance handler at the Naval Weapons Station in Earle, NJ. During her time in the Navy, she was awarded several medals and ribbons, including two Good Conduct Medals, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Navy Reserve and National Defense Service Medals and two Sharpshooter ribbons.


At Goddard Systems, Inc., we are forever grateful for the veterans whose work ensures not only our freedom, but the future for our children. This Veteran’s Day, take time to thank the men and women who have served and are still serving, for their bravery and sacrifice. We’d like to thank Jim, Lorrie and Tom, – and all veterans – for their service to our country and GSI!

Five Ways to Deal with Stress at Work

November 6th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


Even if you’re hard at work at your dream job, workplace stress is a real issue. With projects piling up, emails pouring in and meetings taking up almost every hour of your day, it’s easy for even the best multitaskers to feel completely overwhelmed.

In honor of National Stress Awareness Day on November 6, we asked GSI employees about their favorite ways to reduce stress levels at work. Here are their top five:

  1. Take a walk. Take part of your lunch or just a quick break to go outside and walk. If you need a few minutes of quiet reflection, go out on your own, but it can also help to go with a few other co-workers, just make a no-talking-or-thinking-about-work rule while you’re walking. By the time you get back to your desk, you’ll feel refreshed.
  2. Look away from your screens. Your work may have you tied to your computer and smartphone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look away. Every hour or so, give your eyes a quick break by looking away from your screens. If you’re reviewing a shorter document, print it out and read over the hard copy, or take this time to straighten up and wipe down your desk space. No matter what you do, just be sure to immerse yourself in the task. When you turn back to your screens, you’ll be much more relaxed.
  3. Have a healthy snack. Mounting stress can feel icky, and too often, we make things worse by stress-eating unhealthy snacks. That extra donut may taste great, but as your sugar high comes crashing down, you’ll regret your choice. Instead, stock your desk with some healthier options, like granola bars, nuts, fruit and a little dark chocolate. (It’s healthy, after all!) Don’t forget to drink water! Many of us are habitual coffee drinkers, especially at work, but caffeine-induced jitters and dehydration can magnify stress.
  4. Write a to-do list. Take the time each morning to write out a to-do list on a notepad. Writing it by hand forces your mind to slow down a little and engage with each task you record, and it feels really satisfying to physically cross an item off your list. Break down larger projects into smaller, more manageable tasks so that you can cross off more items as you go. Also, consider making a more general weekly list on Monday mornings to help you plan ahead and get a sense of upcoming due dates.
  5. Engage with your five senses. If your stress starts to reach that scary, panicky level, a quick way to calm yourself is to engage your five senses, one by one:
  • Find something you can see and focus on it;
  • Find something you can touch and hold it;
  • Find something you can hear and listen to it;
  • Find something you can smell and inhale;
  • Find something you can taste, even just a sip of water, and experience it.

This process will help your mind reset and refocus.

What are your favorite workplace stress-relieving tips? Share them in the comments below.



If you were nearby NE Ralph Powell Road between Woods Chapel and Strother roads in Lee’s Summit on Tuesday, you might have caught a glimpse of construction underway and some people spiking gold shovels into the ground.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Tuesday, Oct. 29, to celebrate the construction of the newest Goddard School coming to Lee’s Summit (Lakewood).

The formal ceremony took place at the site of the new School, 3301 NE Ralph Powel Road, where more than a dozen people gathered to join in on the celebration. Those attending the event included members of the Chamber of Commerce, Lee’s Summit City Councilman Rob Binney, community members, along with family and friends of the owners, Abby and Shane Hendren.

“We saw a wonderful opportunity for a sustainable, lifelong business that would add value to the area we love and contribute to our community,” Abby said.


Abby will serve as the on-site of the School. Abby and her husband, Shane, saw there was a need for a high-quality early childhood education program that provides a play-based learning experience in a nurturing environment. That’s why they decided to open up a Goddard School.

The School has an anticipated opening date of spring 2020 and will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. At capacity, the 10,000 square-foot-building will serve 170 children ages six months to six years old.

Once complete, the School’s décor will be themed around the Missouri outdoors and include wildlife native to the state and various natural wonders only found in Missouri – from the Ozark Mountains to Missouri forests, caves, lakes and more. The interior will be reflective of Missouri’s wildlife and landscapes and include cedar posts and natural stone accents.

Follow the construction progress on Facebook via The Goddard School (Lee’s Summit – Lakewood)




We are proud to announce Christina Estrada as Vice President of Human Resources.  Christina is a seasoned human resources leader with experience in human capital management across multiple industries. In this new role, she will be responsible for talent acquisition, performance management, benefits and compensation, talent development, and more.

“GSI is consistently named as one of the best places to work in Philadelphia, and I am excited to further drive this positive culture for employees,” said Estrada. “My first order of business will be to meet the unique team members of GSI and find ways to continue fueling their passion for the company.”

Prior to joining GSI, Estrada held a variety of HR executive leadership positions with Fortune 500 companies, including Aramark, Time Warner, America Online, Disney Consumer Products, and Citibank. Most recently, she was the Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer for TIAA Bank, where she led the cultural integration and transition of all human capital processes, systems, and policies during its acquisition of EverBank. Estrada is passionate and committed to ensuring an inclusive workplace, and she provides ongoing leadership and advocacy to an organization’s diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Estrada holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Arizona and a certificate in HR Strategy from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations where she has also been a guest lecturer. She was named one of Hispanic Business magazine’s “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in 2011.

Welcome to the team, Christina!

The Goddard School Marked The 12th Year On Franchise Time’s Top 200 List

October 11th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School, is proud to announce that The Goddard School has marked yet another year on Franchise Time’s Top 200 list, continuing its 11 year streak as the top performing early childhood education franchise in the U.S.

Franchise Times reports the 200 largest U.S.-based franchisors grew their combined annual sales by more than $26.9 billion or 4.2 percent last year, to $671.3 billion, with most categories seeing across-the-board gains well above the previous year, according to the newly released Franchise Times Top 200+, an exclusive ranking of the 500 largest franchises.

With more than 500 Schools in 37 states, The Goddard School’s system-wide sales exceeded $814 million in 2018, a 9.3 percent increase since 2017. Franchisees invest between $619,900 and $760,600 and earn an average EBITDA of $373,321 per year.*

The franchise system reached a significant milestone at the end of last year, opening its 500th location, making way for setting goals to reach a new milestone – opening 250 Schools in the next five years. GSI is using new and improved strategies, including a location-first real estate approach, to grow the system 50 Schools per year for the next five years.

By leveraging decades-long relationships with developers, GSI will employ a location-first development model. Desirable real estate sites with a high potential for success will be secured before GSI awards a license to a franchisee. This flexibility will enable GSI to satisfy the varied real estate needs of its current and future franchisees and allow more Schools to open faster.

GSI is eager to partner with entrepreneurs who are passionate about running their own business while educating the leaders of tomorrow.

To learn more about how to invest in one of the most successful early childhood education franchises, visit


We’re excited to announce that Dennis Maple is our new president and CEO!

September 4th, 2019 by The Franchise Development Team


We’re excited to announce that Dennis Maple is our new president and CEO! He’s going to be a great addition to the Goddard family. All of us at GSI want to thank Joe Schumacher for his years of service. He has led us through opening 500 Schools and has been a key driver for our continued growth of becoming one of the top childcare franchises in America.

As Joe transitions to chairman of the board, Dennis will no doubt continue Goddard’s upward momentum. He joins us from First Student, Inc., where for the last five and a half years, he served as President. Before First Student, Dennis was president of Aramark Education for 10 years.

In both of these roles, Dennis gained valuable insight into issues facing today’s educators and administrators, particularly around ensuring healthy and safe environments for children. Dennis also brings another 20-plus-years of leadership experience with consumer packaged goods leaders including The Quaker Oats Company, PepsiCo, Inc., Kraft General Foods, Inc., and Coors Brewing Company. His experience with these companies taught him to use data-driven insights to spark innovation in business models and product offerings and to help shape business strategies.

“I am absolutely delighted to join the Goddard team,” says Dennis. “For more than 30 years, The Goddard School has represented the industry’s gold standard for early childhood education, offering today’s children preparation that’s uniquely designed to enhance both their academic and social success in life. I am passionate about educating our nation’s young people. I come from a family of educators and have spent a significant portion of my career supporting the K-12 community. My first priority will be listening to franchisees, employees and other key stakeholders to determine how we can continue to drive franchisees’ success, education innovation and excellence and responsible growth for Goddard.”