Q & A with Joe Schumacher
Tell us about The Goddard School concept.
With more than 25 years of experience in early childhood education, The Goddard School has grown from one location in southeastern Pennsylvania to more than 430 locations nationwide. The Goddard School concept is based on widely accepted childhood development and brain-based learning research that clearly indicates the deepest, most genuine learning occurs for children through play and fun activities. We foster the cognitive and social development of each child through fun activities that are lovingly guided by highly trained teachers.
How and when did you become involved with The Goddard School?
When I was involved in a private law practice, I provided outside counsel to various franchise brands. One of my clients was The Goddard School. My brother Phil became CEO at Goddard in 1992 and grew the brand, which in 2002 was sold to private investor Wind River Holdings. After 20 years as outside counsel for Goddard, I left my law practice behind to join my brother, and in 2007 took on the role of COO. When my brother retired in 2009, I took over as CEO.
What are some of the advantages to being a Goddard School franchisee?
With dual-income families being the norm, the demand for quality childcare is increasing. More than 15 million children under the age of 6 require childcare. Owning a childcare franchise helps to shape young minds and can also be emotionally fulfilling. Additionally, franchisees receive an extensive support structure and guidance to help achieve personal and business goals.
Our dual-management model allows franchisees to run the business and develop relationships while the Education Director, degreed in Early Childhood Education, is responsible for curriculum, programming and teacher development.
An additional advantage is that being a Goddard School franchisee can be both personally and financially rewarding.
Who is your ideal franchisee?
The ideal franchisee is someone who has a passion for business, children, family and faculty. This individual is an “achiever/emulator,” someone who wants to achieve success but who will follow our system and always strive to keep the integrity of the brand in mind. The ideal franchisee would also be someone who is energized and consistently looking for ways to improve.
How do you think growing a franchise in the education industry differs from franchising in other industries (i.e. restaurants, fitness centers, etc.)?
It is important to grow reasonably and responsibly, without focusing too heavily on numbers.
Tell us about any new trends in the early childhood education industry.
The early childhood education industry is growing rapidly and parents are starting to see the value of a high quality preschool experience. Some recent trends in the early childhood education industry include:
- Increased research consistently showing that a high-quality preschool education sets children up for success in all areas of their lives, such as employment, education and relationships with others.
- Universal acceptance of the importance of play in early education.
- A focus on developing early literacy skills in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics).
- A focus on creating a respectful learning environment and decreasing school bullying.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome in growing this franchise?
Ensuring that each franchisee and employee has a voice in the company. In growing the franchise and guiding the team through changes in the workplace, I want our team to realize that it is okay to make mistakes, as long as they are using sound judgment to make a decision. I want team members to take responsibility and make contributions.
In your opinion, why do you think The Goddard School would be a great opportunity for someone?
The Goddard School franchise owners have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of children, their families and the community at large. GSI is offering business-oriented individuals the opportunity to not only do something that is meaningful to the community, but also provide an opportunity for these individuals to go into a financially rewarding business for themselves, but not by themselves.
With nearly 40 years of franchise industry experience, Joseph Schumacher is the CEO of Goddard Systems, Inc., franchisor of The Goddard School®, and is responsible for overseeing the continued growth and development for the leading early education franchise system with more than 430 locations nationwide.